Maize snake

Maize snake is extremely popular among terrarium keepers, because in the content of the snake is quite unpretentious, quickly tamed and does not experience aggression towards humans. What is this reptile in the wild? What is interesting and unusual in her life? What habits and disposition are characterized by? Let's try to find out about all this in more detail, revealing the mysteries and secrets of snake life.

The origin of the species and description

Photo: Maize Snake

Photo: Maize Snake

The maize snake is not endowed with poisonousness, the reptile belongs to an already-shaped family and is a genus under the Latin name Pantherophis. They call the reptile a red rat snake, apparently based on its color and taste preferences. The snake is also called the spotted climbing snake, and in private collections of terrariumists this snake person is known as the gutata. This snake species is completely harmless to humans.

Video: Maize Snake

Many people ask the question: “Why is this maize snake?”. There are two versions of this. According to the first, the snake is nicknamed maize due to the fact that its favorite habitats are fields sown with corn and granaries, where the reptile deftly catches all kinds of rodents. The second version puts forward the assumption that the snake is called maize, because. the pattern on its belly is similar to corn on the cob.

Until 2002, only two subspecies of the maize snake were recorded, but after herpetologists identified another subspecies, now there are three of them in the taxonomy. The dimensions of the reptile vary within two meters, but such extended specimens are rare, the average length of the maize snake is usually no more than one and a half meters. There is a huge variety in the color of the maize strip, which we will try to understand further in more detail.

Appearance and features

Photo: Corn Snake

Photo: Corn Snake

Maize snakes have a rather extravagant and bright appearance. We figured out their dimensions, but the color of reptiles is represented by a large number of variations. Such different colors in the same species of reptile are scientifically called morphs.

Let's describe the most famous of them:

  • the morph “Amelanism” is characterized by the fact that the black tint in the color of the snake is completely excluded. The snake's eyes are painted in a pinkish or red tone, and the general tone of the body matches the eyes, white-pink or reddish;
  • Anerythrysm morph differs in that the snake has no red tint, the predominant background of the reptile is light gray with some yellow on the neck and belly;
  • Hypomelanism morph — the color is dominated by various shades of brown, as well as grayish tones;
  • The Charcoal morph has a neutral gray or brownish background, and yellowish pigmentation is practically excluded;
  • the “Lava” morph is due to the dominant black color, which makes the reptile almost monochromatic with the presence of small black specks;
  • the “Caramel” morph is characterized by the fact that the red tone is completely replaced by yellow, creating a caramel effect;
  • Lavender morph — the most interesting and unusual coloring, characterized in that melanin is completely absent, due to which the snake acquires delicate lavender, pinkish or coffee shades.

It is worth noting that among such a large variety of colors of snake outfits, nevertheless, the natural coloring of the maize snake is characterized by an orange background with red spots on it, which are beautifully outlined by prominent black stripes.

Now you know how to maintain and care for maize snake at home. Let's see where it lives.

Where does the corn snake live?

Photo: Maize snake in nature

Photo: Maize snake in nature

Maisovoe the snake is considered an indigenous inhabitant of the North American continent. He, indeed, firmly settled there, spreading widely throughout the mainland. Most often, the snake is found in the eastern and south-central regions of North America. This creeper also lives in the north of Mexico.

The reptile takes a fancy to a wide variety of areas, preferring deciduous forests. The snake also settles in rocky crevices, which serve him as reliable and secluded shelters. The snake person does not bypass the fields, meadows covered with green grass. Often the snake is adjacent to human settlements, living near barns and human dwellings. Numerous populations of these creepers live close to farms and croplands throughout almost all of North America, in various provinces of Mexico and in the Cayman Islands. , climbing to a height of about two kilometers, although most often it settles not so high.

Basically, snakes prefer terrestrial life, but they also feel in their trees and shrubs plate, deftly maneuvering among the branches.

If we talk about such an artificial dwelling of the maize snake as a terrarium, then it is better that it be horizontal. Its height must be at least half a meter, and its width must be 40 cm or more. Be sure to have all kinds of branches and snags so that the situation is similar to natural. There are many more different nuances of arranging a terrarium, which we will not focus on.

What does the corn snake eat?

Photo: Small corn snake

Photo: Small corn snake

Maize hunting the snake moves out at dusk or in the pre-dawn hours, when it has not yet dawned. Having excellent night vision, he sees even better during these periods than during the day, so he can easily detect prey.

The snake menu mainly consists of:

  • small rats ;
  • mice;
  • lizards;
  • bats;
  • small birds;
  • bird eggs;
  • chicks.

With his caught snack, the snake straightens like a boa constrictor, he wraps it around and applies a powerful choke hold, squeezing his muscular torso. When the victim dies, the meal begins, which, like most reptiles, consists of swallowing the prey from the head.

The diet of a rat snake living in a terrarium is similar to the set of dishes of snakes living in the wild. It consists of mice, rats and chickens. Little serpents are fed with newborn mice. A mature snake must be fed weekly (once every five days). Usually, terrariumists use pre-prepared and mortified food, which is frozen in the refrigerator. They make sure that their snake pet is not injured by swallowing live prey. Of course, before serving, the dish must be defrosted.

Often snakes living in captivity are fed with all kinds of vitamins and mineral supplements so that the reptile's body is strong and healthy. A prerequisite is the presence of a source of clean drinking water, so it must be constantly changed. During the process of molting, feeding the reptile should be excluded, because. the snake is already having a hard time, and it doesn't move much. It is better to treat the snake 3 to 4 days after the molt is completed.

Interesting fact: If you pick up a corn snake immediately after feeding or actively touch it, the reptile will most likely burp what it has eaten, so it is better to leave a full snake alone.

Character and lifestyle features

Photo: Maize Snake

Photo: Maize snake

As already noted, the maize snake is active at dusk or late at night, then it is engaged in its hunting craft. Mostly, this reptile leads a terrestrial life, but it also feels quite good on the branches of trees and shrubs.

Interesting fact: to a semi-arboreal lifestyle.

In regions with a more severe climate, snakes go into hibernation for the winter. Instances living further south hide in their lairs in cold weather, but do not fall into suspended animation. They love snakes to warm their sides under the warm sun, crawling out into open places. During the day and in intense heat, they try not to leave their secluded shelters.

Do not forget that the maize snake does not have a poisonous weapon, and its appearance is attractive and extravagant, which is why it has become a real favorite for many terrariumists. If we talk about the nature of the reptile, then according to the assurances of all the same breeders, he is very peaceful, does not differ in aggression, his temper is calm and his character is quite good-natured. The maize snake easily makes contact and quickly gets used to a person, starting to trust him.

The positive qualities of the snake include its unpretentiousness. Terrariumists say that it is not difficult to maintain. Snake owners assure that the snake itself will never be the first to pounce and bite a person. The Gutata treats its owner in a friendly manner and allows you to hold yourself on your hands. Small terrariums are suitable for the size of snakes.

Interesting fact: The harmless maize snake looks very similar to the dangerous and poisonous copperhead muzzle. Without knowing the nuances, snakes are easy to confuse. The main difference is that the rat snake has a more narrowed head and square patches.

Social Structure and Reproduction

Photo: Red corn snake

Photo: Red corn snake

The snakes become sexually mature by the age of one and a half years, but the females are ready for breeding closer to three years old, because. gain sufficient mass (about 300 grams) and length (about a meter). In the wild, the wedding season begins in March and continues until the May period. This occurs in regions where snakes spend the winter hibernating. Where it is warm, mating games can take place all year round.

Maize snakes are oviparous reptiles, the female is in position for about one and a half months (sometimes less), after which she begins the difficult process of laying eggs. Masonry settles in rotten stumps, fallen trees, secluded burrows. The main condition for the successful development of the embryos is that the nesting site has the necessary humidity and warmth. Usually, the expectant mother lays ten to fifteen eggs. They have a white shell and the shape of cylinders, their length can be from 4 to 6 cm. The female does the laying once a year.

The incubation period lasts a couple of months, after which small kites are born, the colors of which are much paler than those of their parents. After each next molt, the saturation in color is added. Moulting snakes continue all their lives, in young ones it is more frequent, and mature specimens are subject to this process twice a year.

Interesting fact: Newborn kites have a tooth with which they break eggshell at the time of hatching.

Under artificial conditions, rat snakes also successfully reproduce, the main thing is that the owner of the terrarium creates all the necessary conditions for this. Sometimes it happens that newly born snakes refuse to eat, then you need to force-feed them to avoid death, because babies are the most vulnerable. Maize snakes live in captivity for 10 years, and even less in the wild. There were cases when snakes in terrariums lived up to 18 years.

Natural enemies of corn snakes

Photo: Maize Snake

Photo: Maize Snake

The maize snake does not have a toxic toxin and does not differ in very large dimensions, therefore it has a lot of enemies in the wild. Many large, predatory birds are not averse to eating a rat snake, these are herons, storks, kites, secretary birds, snake-eagles, hawks. Danger awaits corn reptiles not only from the air, many terrestrial predators use snakes for a snack, among them are wild boars, leopards, jaguars, crocodiles, mongooses, honey badgers. The most vulnerable and susceptible to all sorts of threats are inexperienced young animals.

People can also pose a danger to reptiles, because the snake often settles near their homes. A person is able to confuse a harmless spotted climbing snake with a very poisonous copper-headed muzzle, because only a competent specialist can distinguish them. Often, violent human activity acts as an unfavorable factor for a reptile, because, occupying more and more earthly spaces for their needs, people are gradually replacing snakes from their permanent places of registration.

Mice and rats, which he prefers to eat, pose a certain threat to the snake, because rodents are often infected with various diseases, from which reptiles also die. The snakes swarming in a terrarium often have poor health, such statistics are observed more and more regularly. Mortality in captivity for no particular reason began to be observed constantly, which is very upsetting for terrariumists. Perhaps this is due to non-observance of all the necessary rules for a favorable life of a snake person.

Population and species status

Photo: Large maize snake

Photo: Large maize snake

The distribution area of ​​​​the maize snake is very extensive, it occupies almost the entire North American continent. In the United States, the reptile is found almost everywhere. Large populations of these snakes have been seen near various North American and Mexican farms.

Of course, human activity has a negative impact on many representatives of the animal world, but there is no evidence that the population of the maize snake has declined sharply. The population of the rat snake remains stable, there are no reports of sharp jumps in the direction of decline or increase.

Based on all this, it is worth adding that the corn snake or the red rat snake is not endangered, there are no concerns does not cause environmental organizations, therefore it is not under special protection. Perhaps such a favorable situation regarding the number of reptiles has developed due to the fact that the maize snake has become a very popular pet and successfully breeds in a terrarium, which cannot but rejoice. It remains to be hoped that such a stable situation in the population of these amazing reptiles will continue to continue, without experiencing any obvious threats to the numbers from the outside.

In conclusion, I would like to wish all owners of this bright and beautiful reptile to conscientiously fulfill their duties regarding snake care, then the maize snake will delight them for many years with its rich and juicy colors and friendly, peaceful character, bringing a lot of positive emotions.

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