Red Cornsnake

Pantherophis guttatus


The Cornsnake (also called the Red Ratsnake or Red Cornsnake), is a large, boldly colored member of genus Pantherophis native to the southeast US. This snake can be found throughout much of Mississippi beyond the Mississippi River delta plain. It is easily identified with its rusty red to bright orange coloration and darker blotches lining the back. Some individuals may be grayish or yellowish. Blotches are bordered with black. Belly is checkered with dark rectangles (see below). Many uneducated individuals misidentify this harmless rodent eater as a copperhead, but labial (lip) barring is not present in copperheads. Overall coloration is noticeably different as well. Corn snakes are highly arboreal, and hunt small mammals, birds, and eggs at night.

Cornsnake found crossing a road, Stone Co. (MS)

Identifying Traits

  • Large slender orange, rusty, yellowish, or grayish body
  • Back marked with a row of large orange, red, or olive blotches bordered in black
  • Dark labial bars (separates from copperhead)


Forests, grasslands, occasionally near water bodies (Behler & King, 1979)


Nocturnal hunters, occasionally seen active at dawn or dusk


Small mammals, birds, eggs

Adult male Cornsnake, Stone Co. (MS)
Adult female Cornsnake in defensive posture, Stone Co. (MS)
Juvenile Cornsnake from a coastal mixed pine/hardwood forest, Jackson Co. (MS)
Subadult individual, likely 2 years old, Jackson Co. (MS)
Closeup of a female, Stone Co. (MS)
Defensive Cornsnake with habitat in background, Harrison Co. (MS)