Field Guide to Maryland's Snakes (Order Squamata)
Red Cornsnake (Pantherophis guttatus)
Photo of Adult Red Cornsnake courtesy of Linh Phu
30 - 48 inches. Record - 72 inches.
- An orange or gray back with red or orangish-red rectangular blotches bordered in black.
- The orange area between blotches looks like a circle with open sides.
- The first reddish blotch on the neck is a “U” or “V” with the “spear point” between the eyes.
- The belly has an irregular black and white checkerboard pattern with black and white striping on the underside of the tail.
- Scales are weakly keeled.
- Body shaped like a bread loaf in cross section, flat on the bottom.
Photo showing detail on
head of Red Cornsnake
courtesy of Luke Roberson
Hardwood forests and pine-dominated agricultural and urban areas, and fields and open grassy areas next to woods.
Photo of Habitat for Red Corn Snake courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
How to Find:
An uncommon to rare secretive species that is seldom seen. Look for them primarily during the summer in open dry pine and hardwood forests with loose soils, as they primarily live underground, though they do spend some time in trees. Look under coarse woody debris or drive sandy woods roads slowly at dusk through appropriate habitat. They are not aggressive when handled and seldom bite. Non-venomous.
Distribution in Maryland:
Primarily found on the Coastal Plain but there are few records for the Ridge and Valley region of Washington and Allegany Counties.