Black Corn Snake

Black Corn Snake: Meet The Black Beauty Of Corn Snake Morphs!

Corn snakes frequent the flatwood forests and open grasslands of the southeastern parts of the United States. The common or Carolina corn snakes look marvelous with their flame-like tones– red, orange and yellow dancing to the tune of the snake’s riverine movements.

There are hundreds of corn snakes that have been produced by breeders in America and in other parts of the world, and the colors available now are countless– among them the black corn snakes stand out. Wonder does not cease when one tries to imagine a black corn snake. Here, we will meet not one, but numerous black corn morphs and learn about their lifestyle.

Black Corn Snake: Different Morphs And Their Life

Do black corn snakes look absolutely inky black? And if they do, how is that even possible? Such questions play around in the mind of a corn snake lover who is used to admiring only the fiery tones on a corn snake’s body. Well, get ready to meet these phenomena.

Black Corn Snake Look

What Do Black Corn Snakes Look Like?

Black corn snakes are very rare in the corn snake morph collection. Corn snakes belong to the genus Pantherophis, where the word literally means “panther-like snakes”. A panther’s skin has maroonish spots on a grayish-brown background, and a classic Carolina corn snake has bright orange saddles on a chocolaty-brown background. The hues are quite similar.

A common corn snake (P. guttatus) may not look black at all, except the uneven and unsightly black outline around each saddle marking on their body. However, the other two species of corn snakes do not look as bright, instead they look mostly black and white from a distance. Slowinski’s corn snake (P. slowinskii) has a mostly gray appearance with dark maroon saddle markings, and the Great Plains rat snake (P. emoryi) shares a similar appearance.

There are hundreds of corn snake morphs, and out of these, dozens are black and white in appearance. The intensity of black varies across the plethora of black corn snake morphs. All these morphs will be discussed in detail in the upcoming segments.

Why Do Corn Snakes Look Black?

Reptiles have color-generating cells in their body called chromatophores. There are different types of chromatophores, like erythrophores, xanthophores, leucophores, and such, each manifesting a different color on the body of the snake. Similarly, there are melanophores that direct the production of the pigment ‘melanin’, a name which is familiar to many.

Melanin pigment causes certain parts of a snake’s body, like the edges of the corn snake’s saddles or their eyes, to look black or dark brown. Genetic conditions like amelanism or hypo- melanism causes corn snakes to produce either very less melanin or zero melanin, resulting in the snake to be either pearly white or having only the colors red and orange.

However, the sole presence of melanin in a corn snake does not guarantee if a corn snake will be black. Let’s not forget, a corn snake has fiery golden colors on its body. Therefore, if a corn snake has to look black overall, the bright colors (red and orange) have to go. And that is where ‘anerythrism’ steps in.

Certain corn snakes hatch with a condition called anerythrism that causes them to not be able to produce any of the brighter colors, like red or orange. As a result, they look mostly black (or brown) and white. If a corn snake is both amelanistic and anerythristic, it will be completely white. A breeder considers all this information while breeding black corn snakes.

What Do The Different Parts Of A Black Corn Snake’s Body Look Like?

In a classic anerythristic corn snake, there are black spear-head markings on their head, and other colors may or may not be present depending on their genetic makeup. The ventral side of a black corn snake bears the characteristic checkerboard pattern that has the colors black and white in them. Certain specimens of black corn snakes could be as long as 6 feet!

In other anerythristic corn snakes, that also have hypomelanism, the black colors may be a little subdued, appearing as gray. Take the anerythristic lavender corn snakes, for instance, that are mostly gray with purple colored saddle markings. In an anerythristic caramel corn snake, the colors are mostly gray and white.

Eyes Of Black Corn Snakes

What Do The Eyes Of Black Corn Snakes Look Like?

Black corn snakes have beautiful and beady black eyes since they produce sufficient melanins. The eye-rings may appear gray and the edges may look black. Even anery Palmetto corn snakes, that are totally white, have shiny black eyes. Ghost corn snakes (hypomelanistic) and dilute anery corn snakes (mostly white) all have beautiful and enchanting black eyes.

How Many Morphs Of Black Corn Snakes Are There?

As mentioned previously, Slowinski’s corn snakes and the Great Plains rat snake have maroonish and black hues on them. Now let’s meet the other black corn snake morphs. Note, different pattern versions of the snakes in the list below may or may not be available.

  • Cinder: These corn snakes are quite dark when they hatch out, but turn into dull gray as they grow. They have white to purple saddles all over them. Cinder is found in tessera, terrazzo and motley patterns. Dilute and diffused versions can be found that are also dark or gray.
  • Ghost: They are anerythristic and hypomelanistic, and have dark black saddles when they hatch out, with contrasting white bodies. However, they grow more grayish as they mature. They have an amazing checkerboard pattern on their belly filled in with black, brown and white squares. Ice ghost is a beautiful morph with gray saddles on a white body.
  • Charcoal: They are a beautiful black, with saddles adorned with even darker edges, when they hatch out. However, they lighten out as they mature and turn gray with purple saddles. Anery charcoal snakes are more purplish brown, and resemble the Great Plains rat snakes. Charcoal snakes have all sorts of pattern versions available including stripe, motley and masque.
  • Granite: This is one of the morphs where the adults have darker colors than their hatchling versions. They look vibrant with black bodies and purple saddles to swoon over. Pied sided versions look dreamy with cloudy colors that mix with each other.
  • Conduran Anery: These are hybrid snakes produced by mating Honduran milk snakes and anery corn snakes together. They look spectacular with a grayish body, and a black and white banded appearance which is characteristic of milk snakes. They look like a grayscale version of the classic red milk snakes.
  • Ultramel: Ultramel snakes are a mixture of anerythristic, amelanistic, diffused, and ultra genetic materials. They look brownish when they hatch, but turn grayish white as they develop.
  • Platinum: They are produced by combining anerythristic, charcoal and hypomelanistic genes together. They look more purple as babies, turning grayish as they mature.

What Do Juvenile Black Corn Snakes Look Like?

Juvenile black corn snakes may look either gray and white, or black and white. In case of dilute anery corn snakes, that are also called as blue corn snakes, the hatchlings look gray overall with purplish saddles. More or less the same coloration can be absorbed in different anery- thristic morphs like anery charcoal, anery lavender, and even granite. Granite corn snakes look quite dark when they are adults, by the way.

Juvenile Black Corn Snakes

However, there are certain other morphs where the hatchings appear more black and white. Take anery caramel, for instance. They have a mostly gray-white background with dark saddles all over their dorsals. Same goes for the coral ghost morphs, where babies have dark maroon saddle markings on a gray body. However, anery Palmetto corn snakes have a pearly white look that they carry on unchanged to maturity.

How Long Do Black Corn Snakes Live?

Varying factors determine the lifespan of a corn snake. In the wild, there are factors like predation, crisis of food, competition, man-made and natural disasters that cause corn snakes to perish at a very young age. Wild black corn snakes, like Slowinskis’ corn snakes and the Great Plains rat snakes, may live for up to 8 years.

Most black corn snakes are morphs that are bred in captivity and are never released in the wild. Humans take care of them, feed them and attend to their medical needs. In conditions like this, black corn snakes are happy, healthy and fight adversaries head on. Black corn snakes in captivity can live for longer than 20 years!

What Do Black Corn Snakes Eat?

Corn snakes eat what most snakes prefer– rodents. Mice, rats and even small squirrels find themselves in the menu list of these fiery snakes. Besides hunting for rodents, birds and their eggs, and small amphibians also fall as prioritized items. Corn snakes do not have venomous fangs so they bring their prey down using constriction.

Black Corn Snake Eating Rat

Do black corn snakes eat differently? Nope, they eat exactly the same thing and in the same way as other corn snakes do. As most black corn snakes are captive-bred, they are fed frozen mice that they do not need to hunt for. At times, they are fed quail birds and their eggs. They swallow their prey whole, so their food items are not cut into small pieces.

Care-Sheet For Black Corn Snake!

Caring for corn snakes is one of the easiest tasks there is. They are gentle and shy, and usually escape when the owner wants to pet it. That does not mean that it is unfriendly, it only means it needs more time to get used to the new owner’s presence. The correct temperature and humidity can make any corn snake, including black corn snakes, thrive.

Enclosure choice is crucial for your pet’s comfort and health. Glass vivariums are always better, but plastic and wooden ones are available too and are more affordable and durable. A 30 to 40 gallon tank is best for a fully-grown corn snake because the curious snake does need space to stretch and explore. Also decorate the tank with plants, rocks and caves to mimic a corn snake’s natural habitat.

What Is The Price Of Black Corn Snakes?

Anerythristic corn snakes are the ones that are black and white and can be purchased at prices anywhere between $50 to $200. Cinder corn snakes with their beautiful black body and white saddles are available within a range of $70 to $160 and ghost corn snakes within $60 and $200. Granite corn snakes, with their silvery lavender appearance, may fall on the costlier side but it is worth every cent, available at prices within the range $115 and $700.

Symbolical Meaning Of Black Snakes

Symbolical Meaning of Black Snakes

Black is a color of elegance and power. If you have woken up recently with the image of a black snake in your dreams, there is no need to worry, despite the notorious negative connotation. In the ancient times, black cobras used to be revered for prowess and divinity.

Snakes symbolize wisdom and transformation, and black snakes represent the fear that you need to face head on to move forward with your life. The color black on the body of the snake may also mean that there are some negative emotions in your life that you need to overcome.


Imagining a black snake in the corn snake genus is a bit difficult, but reality must be accepted. Who knew that corn snakes that are anerythristic, meaning they cannot produce the bright red and orange colors, would look black and white? These black corn snakes look spectacular.

On top of that, if the anery corn snake has hypomelanism, different shades of black dance on the snake’s curvy exterior. Creation of black corn snake morphs is indeed a wonder of modern science. They are revered and adored by pet lovers all over the world.

Hello snake lovers! I’m David Mifsud and Snake Insider is my latest project with a vision of spreading reptile awareness to every single netizen. I’ll be introducing some of the most unexplored territories in the world of snakes to broaden the horizon of knowledge for the readers. My personal motto is to get as close to the snakes in nature without disrupting the balance and gather information as well as habitation patterns. It can be later on utilized in order to build a safe and healthy environment for every species of snakes. So stick around with us and I’m sure we won’t disappoint you!

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