Habitat and Distribution :
The distribution of corn snake extends along the east coast of the United States from New York State to the Florida Keys. The western populations of Pantherophis guttatus be found in the states of Mississippi , Louisiana and Tennessee, where the distribution area of the habitats of Slowinski 's corn snake ( Pantherophis slowinskii ) and the prairie corn snake ( Pantherophis emoryi ) borders .
Due to the large distribution area inhabited the corn snake diverse habitats that differ in part considerably in their geographical nature and the local climate. Thus handed her habitat habitats at sea level all the way up to higher altitudes of over 750 m. In the different areas of its range , the corn snake inhabits both summer moist deciduous and coniferous forests , bush and grassland areas as well as wetlands, synanthropic it is often found in addition near human settlements.
Corn snakes are generally regarded as nocturnal and crepuscular animals, but can be partly daytime observed in exposed positions while sunbathing . The search for suitable prey mostly takes place at night or at dusk. The majority of her life spends the corn snake hidden under leaf litter , bark mulch, rocks and in hollow logs and caves. Corn snakes are very good climbers and are therefore also be found in trees, where they prey on birds or their nests plunder - water , although the animals are good swimmers , largely shunned . Responding to a threat corn snakes mostly with flight, rarely the typical defensive behavior can be observed - this sets up the snake its front third of the body in a typical for many species of snakes south attitude on and fast from during sustained threat against lightning speed to execute defensive bites. Especially in young corn snakes also a clear vibration can be observed with the tail in stressful situations , which creates an intimidating, rattling sound . In large parts of the range to corn snakes go in the winter months in a more or less extensive hibernation . To this end, often gather hundreds of copies at appropriate places to spend the winter together. This rest period lasts depending on the local climate up to 4 months in which to take the animals have no food.
Adult corn snakes reach a body length of 120 cm to 150 cm, in exceptional cases, more than 180 cm (the record is described at 189 cm). The corn snake is among the medium-sized snakes in the genus Pantherophis . The weight of an adult corn snake can change significantly depending on the season and nutritional status , ranging from 200 g in young , sexually mature animals up to about 800 g for very large and well-nourished individuals. The females usually reach a greater body length than males , the sex discrimination based on external characteristics is difficult. Information about the sex can thereby give themselves in the male by the presence of Hemipenistaschen slower tapering tail game as well as the presence of a smaller number of Subcaudalia the female in direct comparison.
The physique of the corn snake is generally slender, the head is only slightly separated . The eyes are large and almost immobile, the large , round pupil is surrounded by a brown iris ring. The 4th and 5 , alternatively, the 5 and 6 the 8-9 upper lip shields ( supralabials ) are in contact with the eye , which is surrounded by a Präoculare , two Postocularia and a large Supraoculare . The number of 203-245 and 47-84 Ventralia Subcaudalia subject within the large area of distribution of a north-south increase . The anal shield is divided. The jaws are covered with a series of small , rear-facing teeth which are replicated in case of loss .
In coloring and drawing the corn snake is highly variable because of their wide distribution area , the ground color ranges from a dull gray to a strong brown-orange . The 34-47 rectangular , more or less black framed body and tail spots ( " saddles " ) usually have an orange to reddish - brown in color and are in shape and number , an important feature for separating the corn snake from their very similar prairie corn Snake ( Pantherophis emoryi ) . Also in the intensity of the color can be at Pantherophis guttatus , a change along the north - south line of the distribution area observed , with significantly redder the more low-contrast gray - brown colored individuals from northern populations of hers, contrast and color intensive counterparts from the South differ . The bright side of the abdomen is characterized by a typical corn snake " checkerboard " of which consists of alternating bright and brown-black , rectangular scales. The top of the head is decorated with a variable ornament, which overflows into the first saddle patch on neck.
Reproduction , development, and sexual maturation :
The mating season of the corn snake begins with the completion of the first molt after hibernation ( isolated in male specimens even earlier ) in the spring. Males show at this time , an increased activity and tirelessly roam the area in search of females ready for mating . If two males doing each other frequently occur bloodless ritual fighting, during which wrap around the animals and try to depress the competitors. Females signal their readiness to mate by the increased dispensing pheromones. The pairing precedes mostly an extended courtship ritual in which the male pursues the gravid females and trying to get on his back. The pairing itself is done by inserting one of the two spike- translated lt hemipenes into the cloaca of the female and usually lasts 10-30 minutes. After a very variable lt gestation period of 30 to 70 days, the female lays usually from April to June their 8 to 20 soft-shelled eggs in a suitable place ( eg under tree stumps or rocks ) and exits the nest . A brood care behavior in corn snakes is not known. The 20-30 cm long and heavy below 10 g young snakes hatch , depending on the incubation temperature after about 60 to 80 days from the eggs by opening the leather-like calcareous shell with its egg tooth . Until their first molt about 1 to 2 weeks after hatching , the neonates of the remains of the front of the hatch retracted into the abdominal cavity yolk sac nourish , after which they prey independently their first food , mostly in the form of small amphibians and reptiles, more rarely, young mammals or invertebrates. In the first three years of life, corn snakes grow quite rapidly and are at reaching sexual maturity at the age of approximately 3 years ( under optimal nutritional conditions, the sexual maturity already much earlier , partly in an age of only 9 months occur ) already between 100 and 120 cm long . During the growth phase, color and pattern of the individual subject to a significant shift from the largely gray - brown juvenile plumage to the often intense red and orange glowing color of the adult corn snake . In captivity corn snakes reach an age of over 20 years , on life expectancy in the wild is not well known , but likely this well below the maximum age reached in human hands .