Red Corn Snake: A To Z With Care Guide

Red color in the corn snake family is quite common. Together with orange and yellow hues, these snakes look like flames from a fire. Their fiery appearance may make them more cons- picuous in the wilderness, but also quite popular as pets to humans.

There are hundreds of red corn snake morphs that exist either in the wild or are bred in captivity. The classic corn snakes themselves have red saddle-shaped markings on their bodies. In this article, we are going to know more about their appearance, how they reproduce and what they eat. We are also going to explore the nuances that exist between them.

Red Corn Snake: Explore Through The Burning Flames!

When you hear “red corn snakes”, you might imagine a corn snake that is totally red from head to tail-tip. But are they? And do they have patterns on them? Keep reading to find out.

Red Corn Snake Physical Appearance

What Do Red Corn Snakes Look Like?

Red is the middle name of the corn snake family. The common corn snakes by the name Panth- erophis guttatus, are famous for their red, orange and yellow hues. They did not get their genus name by sheer luck. There are dark orange saddle-markings on a light orange background all over their body, that will remind you of panther’s skin. The other two species, Slowinski’s corn snakes and the Great Plains rat snakes look even more so.

Red corn snakes are often confused with red milk snakes that have a gorgeous tri-banded look. This is mainly because milk snakes have the colors red, yellow and black on their body. Not to worry though, as milk snakes are just as harmless as corn snakes.

Corn snakes have been interbred since the mid 1900s to produce some fabulous looking morphs. Genetic mutation and hybridization have generated some of the most breathtaking hues on the snake’s body. Among these morphs, the red color is the most common. With red, orange and yellow always tag along, as if one is incomplete without the other.

  • Body: The wildtype or Carolina corn snakes, also known as the “normal” corn snakes have deep red intermittent saddles all over their body. The background has a flaming hue, with mixed colors of orange, red and yellow dancing as the critter hisses along from one spot to another. The sides are a yellowish-orange and the belly is mostly white and yellow.
  • Head: The head of a wildtype corn snake is mostly orange with lighter shades of orange and red making ornate patterns. A spear-head pattern is characteristic of all corn snakes and the snake wears it like a crown. There are red bars running across each eye extending up to the cheeks.The snout is largely yellowish and the chin is white.
  • Belly: Ever saw a checkerboard? Well, that’s exactly the pattern present on the ventral side of almost all corn snakes. In a wild-type corn snake, the checkerboard pattern divides the belly into yellow, orange and white squares that may remind you of corn kernels. At the center of the belly, it is mostly white, lined by yellow and orange markings along the edges.
  • Size: Corn snakes can grow up to 6 feet and can get rather bulky when fed well. They can weigh anywhere between 1 and 3 pounds. Hatchlings are pretty tiny, about 5 to 12 inches long, and can weigh somewhat 6 to 8 grams.

What Do The Eyes Of Red Corn Snakes Look Like?

The gorgeous eyes of red corn snakes are usually black or dark brown that look black from a distance. They also have red bars running from their eyes close to their cheeks. However, the red morphs that are amelanistic or hypomelanistic may have pink or red eyes.

How Many Types Of Red Corn Snakes Are There?

There are myriads of red corn snake morphs. The shades may vary depending upon the genetic combinations, and the patterns may be different as well. Let’s look at some of them.

  • Okeetee: There are bright orange breeds, adorned with bright red saddle markings edged in thick black. The thick black outline around the saddles is what this corn snake is popular for. There are scaleless, tessera and motley versions available. Extreme Okeetee corn snakes are quite popular too with bright orange backgrounds and purple saddles.Okeetee Red Corn Snake
  • Reverse Okeetee: Reverse Okeetees are amelanistic versions of the original Okeetees. As hatchlings they are mostly white to look at, with bright orange saddle markings. As they reach adult age, they look more orange with red saddles. Reverse Okeetee tesseras look amazing with a light orange background and brighter orange stripes over their body.Reverse Okeetee
  • Albino: These are actually amelanistic corn snakes that many people assume to be purely white, but they are bright orange in color. Amel sunrise corn snakes have an orange background with crimson saddles. There are amel versions of sunkissed and candy cane corn snakes that are mostly white in color with orange to red stripes or saddle markings.Albino Corn Snake
  • Fire: Fire corn snakes flaunt some of the most enchanting red saddles on their body. However, as they mature, they look more orange and the red subdues, mixing with the orangey hues. Motley, tessera and stripe versions can be purchased online and offline. Amelanistic diffused, lava, scaleless and pied sided morphs of Fire are also available.Fire Red Corn Snake
  • Sunglow: They are amelanistic so they appear more orange than red, but the saddle markings are more reddish. In some morphs of sunglow, motley patterns make them look adorable.Sunglow Corn Snake
  • Creamsicle: There is something special about these snakes. They are a breed between the wild-type corn snakes and the Great Plains rat snakes. They are also amelanistic that make them appear light orange, or almost beige. All sorts of patterns are available.Creamsicle
  • Sunkissed: Sunkissed corn snakes have a large number of morphs, and each morph has a special name. Take the hazel and honey versions, for instance. Hazel has chocolate-brown saddles on a light gray background, while honey is the same, only the saddle-markings are golden in color, kind of like honey itself. There are all sorts of variations.Sunkissed Corn Snake
  • Lava: These corn snakes deserve this name because they truly look like red, hot lava with their bright orange and red colors. Some parts are so red, they look black. There are diffused lava versions that look slightly subdued with purplish saddles.Lava Red Corn Snake

Why Do Red Corn Snakes Look Like They Do?

Red corn snakes look red because of certain pigment cells in their body. These pigment cells are called chromatophores that are also present in mammals and birds. Chromatophores have different types, like xanthophores, erythrophores, melanophores, and such.

Xanthophores produce yellow coloration. Erythrophores contain carotenoids that are respon- sible in producing orange and red colors. Melanophores create brown or black hues on the body. Certain genetic conditions in corn snakes prevent them from producing some of these pigments, and that is when we get anery, albino or blizzard corn snakes.

Conditions like albinism, amelanism or hypomelanism cause the corn snake to produce less or no melanin making them look completely white or gray. When erythrophores or xanthophores cannot be produced in a corn snake, there is a total absence or reduced presence of red, orange or yellow colors, making them look either black/gray or brown.

In red corn snakes, pigments like erythrophores and xanthophores manifest fully giving rise to some of the most amazing flame-like colors on the body of the snake. They may or may not have melanins. If they have at least a little melanin, that will show up as subdued hues of gray on the body of the corn snake. Presence or absence of melanin will affect eye colors.

How Do Red Corn Snakes Reproduce?

Red corn snakes make babies in the same way as other corn snakes do. The months when they breed may be a little different as we move across the line of morphs, but they mate as soon as their winter brumation is over. They get their new skin in winter and soon after they mate. Females attract males using pheromones, and more than two males may compete.

A month after copulation, the gravid female lays eggs in warm and moist areas. In snake families, parenting is almost absent, except maybe in King Cobra families. Mothers leave the eggs to thrive by themselves. About 10 weeks later, baby snakes use their egg tooth to cut through the leathery shells of their egg-homes, and make their way out, ready to face the world. Hatchlings are fiercely independent, unlike mammal babies, and can fend for themselves.

What Do Red Corn Snake Babies Look Like?

Hatchlings of the wildtype or Carolina corn snakes look a little brighter than their parents. They have bright red bodies with flaming orange saddles all over their body. Okeetee corn snake babies show a similar appearance– brighter with deeper shades of red and orange than when they are adults. Reverse Okeetees, which are amelanistic, look quite whitish in appearance.

Fire corn snake hatchlings, that have amelanism too, look white with bright red saddles, but their adult forms look quite different. They look more orange when they mature. Creamsicle babies actually look like cream with their light orange bodies. Sunglow hatchlings look similar with light orange bodies that become slightly reddish as they grow into adults.

How Long Do Red Corn Snakes Live?

Corn snakes, in general, live for about 6 to 8 years in the wilderness. There are many factors that affect their longevity, including predation and natural disasters. Raccoons, hyenas, foxes, hawks and owls all choose corn snakes as prey even though corn snakes are mostly nocturnal. Their bright colors make them quite conspicuous and vulnerable.

In captivity, where they neither have to battle with larger animals nor have to compete for food, corn snakes thrive like boss snakes. In human supervision and care, they may live for longer than 20 years. It is no joke that the oldest corn snake found was 32 years old! Their beautiful bright colors make them resemble some venomous snakes that they use as defense mechanisms because the colors make predators retreat.

Care-Sheet For Red Corn Snake!

Red corn snakes are not high-maintenance as many may think. Even if they are amelanistic or albinos, you can still bring them up in the same way as you do with other snakes. Just one thing you can do is to keep the amels and albinos away from prolonged exposure to bright lights since their eyes are more sensitive than those of other corn snakes.

Red corn snakes in captivity usually eat frozen pinky mice and fuzzy mice that can be bought in packets from stores. Hatchlings are fed one small mouse once every week, while adults usually go for the larger ones. The tank you will be placing the corn snake in is also crucial. For babies, a 10-20 gallon tank, and for adults a 30-40 gallon tank would be great.

How Much Do Red Corn Snakes Cost?

The wildtype or Carolina corn snakes are the most affordable ones, available from $60 to $160. Okeetee corn snakes can be bought between $60 and $350. Other red corn snake morphs are available within a range of $60 to $400 and more. If you buy a tessera or motley version, the prices may be a little higher. You can look here for a better idea.


If you are a snake enthusiast and are looking forward to adopting or purchasing a red corn snake, you would need to know as much as possible. Take a look at the following FAQs.

Q: Are there other red snakes in the United States?

Ans: Yes, there are in fact a bunch of red snakes out there in the US. Some examples include milk snakes, scarlet snakes, Amazon tree boa, and some species of kingsnakes and garter snakes.

Q: Are red corn snakes albinos?

Ans: If the red corn snake is amelanistic then it is an albino corn snake. In case of corn snakes, albino does not mean that the snake will be completely white. For the corn snake to be pearly white, it needs to be anerythristic as well. .

Q: Is red corn snake poisonous?

Ans: No single corn snake, no matter what the color, is poisonous. They are nonvenomous colubrids.


A red corn snake is one of the most beautifully colored snakes in the family. Though corn snakes usually have orange and red hues on them, red never ceases to mystify, and the changing shades of red in different corn snake morphs are always revered.

Okeetee corn snakes are the most popular red corn snakes. Also consider Fire, Sunglow, Albinos and Creamsicles. Each is more gorgeous than the other, and they are all available in tessera and motley patterns. Truly, the colors are as mesmerizing as the ever-glowing sun.

Hi dear readers! This is Rebecca, the lead analyst and blog writer for Snake Insider. Following in the footsteps of David’s guided path, I feel highly encouraged to make the most interesting snake-facts to a mass audience! In due time, I believe we’ll be able to present some jaw-dropping insight on snakes that’s sure to leave you begging for more! Personally, I’m a strongly motivated person to explore the most extreme environments should my work demand it. In many cases, I’ve ventured deep into territories that were never considered certain snake habitats and brought back necessary information. Rest assured I’ll surely be sharing them with you over the course of time.

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