A tremendously variable species comprising many subspecies or races. The usual colour has a number of red-orange blotches on an orange-grey background colour combined with a black and white checked underbelly. Some forms have no blotches and instead are orange in colour with darker stripes running along the body. It rarely exceeds 1.2 metres in length with a body diameter of around 2.5cm. It is non-venomous, instead killing its prey by constriction.
Native to the southeastern United States, corn snakes occur in various habitats such as pine and oak woodlands. They are often found associated with human habitation including houses, railway lines and rubbish dumps.
Most of the diet comprises small mammals and birds, although lizards are also taken quite frequently. They perform a valuable function around human dwellings by controlling the numbers of rats and mice.
Female corn snakes produce clutches of 8-16 eggs each year. Each clutch may contain babies that vary widely in their colouration and markings.