Slowinski's Corn Snake

Slowinski’s Corn Snake: Meet This Spectacular Chocolaty Species!

Snake lovers all over the world are always on the look-out to extend their serpent collection. It is like they cannot get enough of these wriggly critters! There are some gorgeous species of snakes like pythons, milk snakes and corn snakes that people keep as pets. They can be found all over the US.

Have you ever seen or held a Slowinski’s corn snake? They look spectacular and are extremely docile as far as behavior is concerned. They are a bit harder to find than the other species of corn snakes but it could be a great addition to your exotic animal collection. Let’s learn more about them!

Slowinski’s Corn Snake: Physical And Behavioral Description

Slowinski's Corn Snake Physical And Behavioral Description

Source: @copperhead.reptilia

Corn snakes, alternatively known as the red rat snakes, are named so because of the checkerboard pattern on their belly. Black and white crisscrosses run on their belly region that produces squares of the colors orange and white. They resemble corn kernels, thus the name!

Scientific name of corn snakes is Pantherophis guttatus, and they belong to the non-venomous Colubridae family of snakes. Corn snakes have found their home in the open wilderness of the southeastern United States. They have only three species but dozens of color and pattern morphs as a result of selective breeding. Let’s know about one of these species in this article.

What Is The Mystery Behind The Name Of Slowinski’s Corn Snake?

Let’s investigate the very mysterious scientific name of Slowinski’s corn snake first because doing so will unravel the mystery behind the main question. Their scientific name is Panthero- -phis emoryi slowinskii. They are non-venomous colubrid snakes quite popular as pets.

Pantherophis, the genus name, is a Greek word that means “panther-like snakes”. This is specially true because corn snakes do have panther-like maroon blotches on a brown background. The specific name “emoryi” has been named in the honor of Brigadier General William Hemsley Emory, who collected specimens for the Smithsonian Institution. The subspecies name honors the American herpetologist Joseph Bruno Slowinski.

Another species of corn snakes, the Great Plains rat snake, also shares the same species name “emoryi”. This is because, in the previous times, Slowinski’s corn snakes were mistakenly thought of as an intergrade between the Great Plains rat snake and the common corn snakes. However, later Slowinki’s corn snakes became known as a separate species of corn snakes.

What Does Slowinski’s Corn Snake Look Like?

They resemble their siblings (other species) quite closely in appearance, yet quite different. Always look at the crossbands and their belly region to identify them. Let’s take a look.

Slowinski's Corn Snake Look

Source: @copperhead.reptilia

  • Crossbands: They are quite different in looks when compared with the common corn snakes. Common corn snakes (P. guttatus), have an overall brown appearance with beautiful bright orange rings or crossbands all over their body. However, Slowinski’s corn snakes, though they have a brown-gray background, have maroonish diamond-shaped bands decorating its body. These bands are in turn edged in thin but deep black outlines.
  • Belly: The belly of Slowinki’s corn snakes has the characteristic checkerboard pattern that is visible on the undersides of all corn snakes, even in morphs. The checkerboard pattern makes square shapes having maroon and white colors resembling maize.
  • Babies: Baby Slowinski’s corn snakes look almost like their parents. They have deep chocolate- colored  bars running from their eyes, through the jawline to the neck that keep them significantly different from the babies of the Western rat snakes. In the latter, the bar remains on the eyes only and does not extend to the neck. Hatchlings are between 8 and 12 inches long.
  • Doppelganger: These snakes are sometimes compared with the Prairie kingsnakes (L. calligaster), because of similar colored patterns on their body. However, Slowinki’s corn snakes have spearhead markings on their head which is not present in Prairie kingsnakes.
    Ball pythons are another look-alike of Slowinski’s corn snakes. With the scientific name Python regius, they do look exquisitely regal with a deep brown (almost chocolaty) background and shiny, golden asymmetrically-shaped blotches all over their body. They are non-venomous.

How Does Slowinski’s Corn Snake Behave In The Wild?

Slowinski's Corn Snake Behave In The Wild

Source: @roadtripmonster

Most corn snakes demonstrate nocturnal foraging habits, but they are quite active during the daytime as well. Slowinski’s corn snakes are no exception and they prefer to maintain a low profile in the darkness that falls on earth after sunset. They are very secretive in temperament and like to hide in rock crevices or stay cozily coiled within thick vegetation or long grass.

They are not only terrestrial but partly arboreal as well. They are expert climbers and can twist and turn around tree trunks and branches to get to the top and explore the world from there. Once they have climbed onto the top of a tree, they take advantage of the situation. They hiss at the bird eggs and fledglings that lie unattended by parent birds and savor them. These wriggling critters do not spare adult birds even and are often seen gorging on small-sized song birds.

Their secretive habits are mainly to protect themselves from predators, like humans and raptors of the likes of eagles and hawks. Carnivorous birds like hawks are largely diurnal, therefore being a nighttime forager really comes in handy for Slowinski’s corn snakes. To add, their brown and maroonish body provides them with great camouflage ability in the sunlit hours.

Most of the time, even in captivity, these snakes have been observed to be highly docile. They rarely ever bite. If they do bite, it is mainly because they have been persistently harassed or disturbed. Snakes really do not appreciate it when they are handled during the molting process or even when they are feeding. They prey on rodents, birds, amphibians, and other snakes.

Where Can We Find Slowinski’s Corn Snake?

Slowinki’s corn snakes are not high in population and could be found in certain isolated places of the southeastern parts of the United States, which includes Drew County. They can also be found in Arkansas, East Texas, and Louisiana, especially in the central and the west-central parts of Louisiana. However, they are yet to be spotted in the Mississippi floodplain.

Corn snakes, in general, like to frequent open places like fields, forest edges and forest clearings. They can also be found in abandoned buildings and granaries. Up to the age of 4 months, they remain largely terrestrial. As they mature, they start to become more adventurous and try their hand out in climbing trees and swimming. During extremely hot months, you may find them inside rock crevices, avoiding the sun. In winters, they are less active.

How Does Slowinski’s Corn Hunt And Subdue Their Prey?

All snakes have a very interesting mechanism to smell their prey, or alert themselves of the presence of predators. You may have heard of Jacobson’s organs that are a specialized group of chemoreceptor cells located at the base of a snake’s nasal cavity. When a Slowinski’s corn snake flicks its tongue, it picks up chemicals from the air, and then brushes its tongue on the bridge of its upper jaw to taste it and locate the source of the smell.

Once the snake has located the prey, it casts an ambush strike on the animal and grasps it using its aglyphous teeth. These are very tiny teeth inside the mouth of Slowinski’s corn snake that are not connected to any venom sac, nor are they pointed enough to tear through the flesh. While the snake is holding onto the prey, it gradually makes tightening coils around the prey’s body and suffocates the prey to fatality. This is how non-venomous snakes subdue their prey.

You should check out this article to know more about the expandable bones of snakes. Slowinski’s corn snakes have upper and lower jaws that are connected to the skull and within themselves with ligamentous fibers that can stretch when the snake makes a gape to swallow prey larger than their own head. Their ribs also open up during the swallowing process!

Is There Any Venomous Snake That Looks Like Slowinski’s Corn Snake?

The brown and maroon appearance of the harmless Slowinski unfortunately matches to the T with the venomous copperhead snakes. Copperheads have a copper-colored head, a brown overall appearance with maroon patches all over its elongated shape. They grow about 3 feet.

Certain species of venomous rattlesnakes also look like Slowinski’s corn snakes. Take the western diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus atrox) for instance. They have a golden-brown overall appearance with grayish blotches. They can be found in southwestern United States.


Since Slowinsski’s corn snakes look a lot like other venomous and non-venomous snakes, being able to identify them from the others is a plus point. Let’s know more about them.

Q: How does Slowinski’s corn snake reproduce?

Ans: They are oviparous snakes which simply means that they lay eggs. They mate in the spring season and lay eggs in summer. Around 12 to 24 eggs are laid by them in warm, desolate spaces like within rock crevices or grass-covered areas. Hatchlings could be 5 inches long.

Q: What is the correct temperature for Slowinski’s corn snake?

Ans: Temperature range between 77 and 82 °F is best for corn snakes to thrive in. After-sunset temperatures could be maintained around 70°F. Heating bulbs or heaters could be used.

Q: What level of humidity is best for Slowinski’s corn snake?

Ans: For slowinski’s corn snakes, a humidity level between 65 and 75% should be maintained. It is crucial during the molting process. Incorrect humidity levels could cause skin infections.


Slowinski’s corn snakes look exquisite with an overall brown appearance accentuated by maroonish crossbands. Because of their color and pattern, they are often compared with ball pythons or the venomous copperheads. They are themselves non-venomous colubrid snakes.

In order to differentiate between other snakes and Slowinski’s corn snakes, you can check their belly (if they are your pet snakes; better if you leave the wild ones alone!) to look for the infamous checkerboard pattern of corn snakes. Presence of fangs will also tell you a lot.

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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