Other common names

Cornsnake, Corn Snake, Chicken snake, Red ratsnake, Eastern Cornsnake

Basic description

Most adult cornsnakes are about 30-48 inches (76-122 cm) in total length. Adults are orangish-brown with black bordered orange, red, or brownish blotches. There is a spear-shaped pattern on the head and neck. Juveniles are similar in appearance to adults, but they may be more brownish in coloration.

Range in Florida

Cornsnakes are found throughout mainland Florida in every county. They also occur throughout the Florida Keys.

Assessment of risk to people and pets

Non-venomous. Cornsnakes are not dangerous to people or pets, but they will readily bite to defend themselves. These snakes are not aggressive and avoid direct contact with people and pets. Virtually all bites occur when the snakes are intentionally molested.

Comparison with other species

brown snake on leaf litter
Photo courtesy Mark Kenderdine/iNaturalist

Northern mole kingsnake (Lampropeltis rhombomaculata) Non-venomous Northern mole kingsnakes are only found in the Florida Panhandle. This species has 55 small dark blotches down the back, smooth scales, a light Y-shaped pattern on the back of the head and neck, a clouded brownish belly, and lack a distinct neck.

light colored snake on sand
Photo courtesy of Mark Kenderdine/iNaturalist

South Florida mole kingsnake (Lampropeltis occipitolineata) Non-venomous South Florida mole kingsnakes are only found in parts of central Florida. This species has over 75 small, dark blotches down the back, smooth scales, a network of dark lines on the back of the head, and they lack a distinct neck. The belly is white or cream colored with brown blotches. 

coiled snake showing black and red tongue
Photo courtesy of Noah Mueller.

Eastern ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) Non-venomous Eastern ratsnakes lack a spear-shaped pattern on top of the head and lack a black and white checkerboard pattern on the belly. Adults in peninsular Florida typically have four dark stripes running down the back and sides.

Share your observations

You can help scientists better understand the biology and distribution of this species by sharing your observations. Send photos or videos of interesting observations, along with associated information, by emailing the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum for documentation in the Museum’s Herpetology Master Database. You can also post your observations on iNaturalist.

Additional helpful information

Do you have snakes around your house? Learn how to safely co-exist with snakes.

Still have questions about snakes or identifications? Feel free to email the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum with your questions or feedback on this profile.

Banner photo courtesy of Todd Pierson. Please credit any photographers on the page and see our copyright policy.