Scaleless Corn Snake

Scaleless Corn Snake: A To Z With A Pocket-Sized Care-Guide!

Red, blue, purple, pink– no, we are not ordering blossoms at a flower shop, we are in fact talking about something quite on the contrary. In the animal world, there has been a recent outburst of colorful appearance in mammals, birds or reptiles. In this article, we have chosen different morphs of corn snakes to be the topic of discussion.

Corn snake morphs are setting a trend these days. Among thousands of morphs present, the scaleless corn snake morphs is the most popular, and we will soon know why. Corn snakes are known to be docile and highly manageable. Are scaleless corn snakes the same? Let’s find out!

Scaleless Corn Snake: Are These Snakes From Another Planet?

All snakes have scales, don’t they? Yes, they do. However, because of a certain gene mutation, some snakes could hatch out without scales or fewer scales than normally present. This may happen to all snake species, and corn snakes are no exception. Let’s meet these dudes!

Scaleless Corn Snake Physical Appearance

Source: @Iansvivarium

What Do Scaleless Corn Snakes Look Like?

People think that scaleless corn snakes do not have any scales on their body but that is not the case. Let’s explore further to find out what the mystery behind these scaleless critters is!

  • Body: Scaleless corn snakes have a reduced number of scales on their body when compared to other corn snakes, as simple as that. They also have fewer scales on the ventral sides of their elongated form. Scales corn snakes have a rope-like appearance or texture while scaleless ones appear as if they are made of foam covered in colorful fabric.
    When scaleless corn snakes wriggle around, wrinkles and creases appear on their skin as if they are covered in a blanket. Some pet-keepers have suggested that they feel rubbery or velvety to touch. Some say that the skin of a scaleless corn snake feels like human skin.
    Micrographs of scaled and scaleless corn snakes have shown significant differences in the texture of the dorsal skin. On a scaled corn snake, the scales appear as rhombuses with rough edges, whereas in a scaleless corn snake the scales appear more circular with smooth edges. It has also been found that the papillary layer of the dermis (layer of the skin) with loose connective tissue is missing in the scaleless corn snake. Ventral scales have no difference.
  • Eyes: Most scaleless corn snakes, unless they are amelanistic, will have black eyes with golden-yellow eye-rings. Many people think that these snakes do not have scales on or around their eyes, but that is not true. Transparent scales are present on their eyes just like other corn snakes. However, they may have a bug-eye appearance.
    What is a bug-eye? It is when the eyes of a snake appear larger than normal and seem to be protruding out. The actual reason for the eyes to appear as if they are bulging out is because there are next to no scales present on the rest of their face or snout.
  • Head: The spear-head pattern is present on the head of a scaleless corn snake but may not be as distinct as on other scaled corn snakes. They may have fewer or no scales present on the head region. However, there are almost always a few scales present close to the nostrils and the mouth.
  • Belly: Corn snakes are identified with a checkerboard pattern on their belly, with black and white lines criss-crossing one another making squares as a result. Just the same as in any corn snake, scaleless corn snakes also have a checkerboard pattern with the squares filled in with different colors, depending on the morph. There may be a few morphs where scales may not be present on the belly or there may be deformed circular scales visible.
  • Hatchlings: Hatchlings may differ in color depending on the morph we are talking about. However, for the orange morphs, the babies are usually white with purple-gray blotches. The blotches are slightly hourglass shaped but not pinched in the middle.
  • Adults: Adult scaleless corn snakes will vary in color and pattern with each morph. However, the amelanistic ones are usually light orange overall, with bright orange circular blotches edged in black. The head will be orange with a white snout.
  • Size: Hatchlings are usually between 8 to 12 inches, while adults are between 2 and 6 feet long.

Scaleless corn snakes can be bred with other morphs of corn snakes of different colors and textures, giving rise to the production of a wide range of looks to gorge on.

There are scaleless versions of albino, blue, red, white and yellow corn snakes, just to name a few. Almost all color morphs of corn snakes can be recreated with the genes present in scaleless corn snakes!

Why Do Scaleless Corn Snakes Look Like They Do?

Scaleless corn snakes do have scales but fewer than you would normally find in any snake. The reason for this is a recessive gene mutation. This gene mutation causes the snake to produce less beta-keratin that is responsible for forming scales and making them hard.

The first scaleless corn snake was produced in captivity by Richard Dijoux in France by crossing the Great Plains rat snake (P. emoryi) with a classic corn snake. Scaleless corn snakes do exist in the wild if the cross occurs naturally, but the chances are very thin. Scaleless snakes have been around in the wild for decades. A scaleless western garter snake was found in 1942!

People often ask how they can breed scaleless corn snakes. To increase the chances of producing scaleless corn snakes, the breeder needs to make sure that both the parents are homozygous, meaning both the parents have two alleles for the gene in question. In this case, all the babies that hatch out will be scaleless.

In cases where the parents are heterozygous, 25% of the baby population would be scaleless, 25% of the population would be scaled, and the remaining 50% would look scaled but will carry the gene to produce scaleless babies in the future.

Scaleless corn snakes may be bred with other corn snake morphs with different colors and patterns. The resulting population will have different colors but will be scaleless. The colors are due to various genetic conditions like amelanism, anerythrism, or axanthism. To know more about these conditions, check the article here.

Do Scaleless Corn Snakes Have Varieties?

Though scaleless corn snakes have fewer scales, they retain all patterns and colors. This proves that patterns and colors are present on the skin and not on the scales.

Different Color And Pattern Morphs

Source: @fgreptiles

Description Of The Different Color And Pattern Morphs

  • Typical: Usually scaleless corn snakes look orange-yellow with grayish-black blotches (which could be purplish too) all over their body and edged in black. The ventral scales are yellow and the eyes are black. Some may be bright orange with random dots and splotches of white, purple or golden on them. Because of their fancy appearance, they look like toy snakes.
  • Scaleless Albino: When a scaleless corn snake is an albino, it cannot produce melanin for dark coloration. However, the snakes are not completely white as one might expect. Instead, they are bright orange with yellow or other color patterns, but they have no black pigment on them. Scaleless albino snakes always have red or pink eyes.
  • Scaleless Anerythristic Tiger Morph: These snakes have a condition where they cannot produce erythrin, a pigment responsible for the red colors on the body of a snake.  For this reason, they have a white body with black blotches. They may also have brown colors on them. The heads are gray-black and the eyes are black.
  • Scaleless Hypomelanistic: Hypomelanistic snakes produce less melanin than usual. They usually have a reddish orange body which might be blood red in color sometimes. They have whitish saddles with faint black edges. These snakes brandish a purplish head and black eyes.
  • Scaleless Tessera: Tessera snakes have unique patterns that appear pixelated. Scaleless tessera corn snakes have distinct black and golden lines along their back. To add, the tessera gene is dominant, meaning if one of the parents is homozygous for tessera gene, all babies will be scaleless tesseras. Amelanistic tessera corn snakes look pink with white heads.
  • Scaleless Silver: As the name suggests, the snake in question has a white body, with grayish white blotches edged in black. They have white heads and black eyes. They have white underbelly with black and white checkerboard pattern. Usually, yellow is not present.
  • Scaleless Granite: These corn snake morphs possess a chocolaty-brown body with white saddles. They also have grayish-white markings on the head and black eyes.
  • Scaleless Red: This gorgeous red corn snake has a maroonish-red body with yellowish-white saddles. There are ornate yellow markings on a red head, accentuated by beady, black eyes.
  • Scaleless Reverse Okeetee: One of the most gorgeous corn snake morphs of all times, these snakes possess a pinkish-red coloration overall. There are splotches on their body that are blue inside with red hourglass shapes at the center. Golden almond-shaped markings appear at regular intervals between the splotches. They have pinkish heads and red eyes.
  • Scaleless Blizzard: Breeding anery type B with an albino may produce a blizzard. They have almost no pigment on their skin and are pure white. They may grow a little yellow later. They have pink or red eyes and their scaleless skin is translucent.
  • Others: By following similar breeding techniques, scaleless versions of lavenders, Palmettos,  amels, caramels, okeetees, and motleys are produced, to name a few.

Do Scaleless Corn Snakes Have Health Issues?

Unlike what many people think, scaleless corn snakes do not suffer any health issues. Their daily requirements are just the same as other corn snakes. There are certain myths about them, for instance, they dry out quicker because their scaleless body cannot retain moisture, which are highly disputable. Research has shown no such correlation.

Many also argue that because their body has fewer to no scales at all, they cannot thermo- regulate or are excessively delicate. The fact is, if the snake is kept under correct conditions, it should be perfectly fine. Some scaleless corn snakes have faced trouble molting but that was mainly because the humidity level of the tank was not adequate.

Another thing to discuss is a snake’s skin. A snake’s skin is quite thick, and even if the scales are missing, the skin alone can give enough protection to the snake against heat and dryness. The epidermal layer of the snake has 3 extra layers (besides the scales) and below lies the dermal layer that connects the epidermis to nerves and blood.

What Do Scaleless Corn Snakes Eat?

As scaleless corn snakes are mostly captive bred and brought up within human supervision, they do not have to compete for food or other resources. Pet lovers feed them (frozen) thawed mice and rats every other week and that is more than enough for them to remain alive and kicking. They like to eat their prey whole so chopping the food item is not necessary.

Corn snakes do not have fangs to envenom their prey. They subdue their prey by tightening coils of their own body around the victim’s body until they suffocate and perish. After that the prey is swallowed whole. Scaleless corn snakes, however, do not have to subdue their prey since the prey is offered lifeless to them. Prey that are alive must not be fed to scaleless snakes.

What Is The Price Of Scaleless Corn Snakes?

Scaleless corn morphs are one of the most expensive morphs among all available. They may cost anywhere between $150 and $2000, depending on the morph.

The classic corn snakes (P.guttatus) are not very expensive, with the lowest price being $25, and as high as $300. The different variations of the morphs and their popularity increases the price. You can check here to get an idea about scaleless corn snake prices.

An Itsy-Bitsy Care-Sheet For Scaleless Corn Snake

Care-Sheet For Scaleless Corn Snake

Source: @salvatoretripi

Many pet-keepers have this misconception that scaleless corn snakes are high-maintenance. That’s not the case at all. They can be kept in the same way as other corn snakes are taken care of. The hatchlings, however, are a little restless and need to be handled and supervised with care. Neither the babies nor the adults should be excessively poked or prodded.

When you place synthetic decor inside the terrarium, make sure that there are no sharp objects that may cut through the skin of the snake while they are wriggling about. Also, refrain from feeding them live mice or rats, or anything for that matter, since there is always a risk for the claws of the prey to hurt the snake’s skin. But these precautions apply for all snakes.

A 20 to 30 gallon tank for the adults is more than perfect. A correct temperature gradient and humidity level maintenance is a must.  A 70 to 88°F temperature gradient must be maintained. Humidity can be kept within 65 and 75%. Do not forget to give them a large bowl of water.


Scaleless corn snakes have fallen into a pit of myths. They are not at all high maintenance. If you are thinking of getting one, make sure you scan through these FAQs.

Q: Do scaleless corn snakes have eye scales?

Ans: Yes, they do have eye scales that are transparent. The eyes appear larger and bulgier. This is because there are no surrounding scales present (ie on the head or snout) to make the head look bigger. People mistakenly call them bug-eyes, when there is simply nothing wrong.

Q: How long do scaleless corn snakes live?

Ans: Scaleless corn snakes live for about 8 to 10 years in captivity.

Q: Do scaleless corn snakes shed?

Ans: Yes, they do shed their skin just like other snakes, but their molt looks like an elongated balloon, smoother and textureless, whereas the molt of normal corn snakes resembles a net-like fabric. They molt perfectly in one piece, with no broken bits, so there is nothing to worry about.


Scaleless corn snakes are one of the most popular reptilian pets. The morph is rare and can be bred within a closed and controlled environment only. Scaleless corn snakes appear just like any other snake with the difference that it has fewer scales on its body than normal.

The condition is the result of a recessive gene mutation. Many think that it is tough to take care of a scaleless corn snake but it is actually a misunderstanding. They can be taken care of in the same way as other corn snakes and their morphs. They are beautiful and must be cherished.

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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