A closer look at the corn snake

by Tammy McCormack. 0 Comments

As a professional snake trapper I deal with all kinds of snakes. As I stated in my previous column, each week I will write about different species of snakes and wildlife we may encounter here in Frederick County.

There are 27 species of snakes in Maryland and, yes, we are going to write about each one even though some of these snakes do not inhabit our area. But I feel it is important to have knowledge of not only snakes, but of all wildlife in Frederick County and throughout the state.

This week we are writing about the corn snake, which is related to our native black rat snake.

Like the black rat snake, the corn snake is also a constrictor but with more beautiful colors, but the corn snake is not a dangerous snake.

Corn snakes are slender and they have orange-to-brownish yellow blotches, stripes or bands. Some have reddish and black bands and scales.

Corn snakes mate during the months of March, April and May and up to 21 eggs are laid between May and July. The young hatch between July and September. Corn snakes enjoy barnyards, meadows and even an abandoned house. Corn snakes eat mice, rats, birds and even bats.

What is truly kind of weird is the corn snake is primarily active only at night. While the black rat snake, which is a close relative of the corn snake, is active mostly during the day from April to June and then only at night from June to September.

One thing I forgot to mention last week about the black rat snake is that it is not uncommon for copperheads, timber rattlers and black rat snakes to den together in the winter.

Some say the corn snake got its name because it has been found in corn fields, silos and around the barn. It has a checkered belly with colors similar to corn.

So remember, as we prepare for warmer days keep a look out for our snake friends. They mean no harm and they have a strong purpose on this earth. Please post your comments or questions so I perhaps can answer your them about our native snakes and wildlife. Myth of the week: Black snakes and copperheads cannot crossbreed. It is anatomically impossible.

Next time we will talk about the common garter snake and our native opossum. Until next time ...

Myth of the week: Black snakes and copperheads cannot crossbreed. It is anatomically impossible.

Tammy McCormack is a professional snake trapper. She writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

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