Florida's Snakes thumbnail photo of snake identification guide cover

Red Cornsnake or Red Ratsnake
(Pantherophis [formerly Elaphe] guttatus)


blotch icon

Red Cornsnake or Red Ratsnake (color variations)

photo of orange-tan cornsnake with reddish orange blotches

photo of grayish cornsnake with dark reddish blotches outlined heavily in black

 Photos by Dr. Steve A. Johnson (UF, upper photo) and Kevin Enge (FWC, lower photo). These photos may not be used without the express written permission of the photographer


Usually 1.5–3.5 ft. (max. 6 ft.)


Body is usually orange, tan, or brown but may be gray. Back and sides are marked with irregular reddish-orange blotches outlined in black; in South Florida, red or black pigment may be lacking. Head is marked with a “V”-shaped blotch (like an arrowhead). Belly is marked with a black and white checkerboard pattern (unless black pigment is lacking). Scales have faint lengthwise ridges (keels). This snake lays eggs. 


Found throughout Florida in virtually every terrestrial habitat from forests to agricultural lands and suburban neighborhoods. This snake is an excellent climber and is often found in attics of homes and in and around barns and other structures.


Insects, frogs, toads, lizards, birds and bird eggs, shrews, mice, rats

map showing that cornsnakes are found throughout Florida

Map by Monica E. McGarrity - may be used freely for education.

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