The Corn Snake (Elaphe [Pantherophis] guttata) is a non-venomous snake native to the entire stat of Georgia as well as a large portion of the southeast and some of the mid-west. They are a relatively large species reaching sizes of up to 48″ in length, but are relatively slender in shape. They tend to have a rusty hue with orange colored square patterns stretching down their body. Their underbelly will have checkered white and black markings like the keys of a piano. There is also a spear shaped marking in top of the head pointing towards the nose. Juveniles, as in most species, will have a different appearance and may have lighter colors and less distinct patterns. They can often be mistaken for copperheads, but have neither the wide bulbous jaw shape or pattern of a copperhead (which have hourglass shaped markings along their body).
They typically reside in upland terrestrial habitats and favor areas with mammal burrows. They thrive particularly well in sandy pinewoods. They are very adaptive and settle readily within human populated areas, using barns and sheds as places to live.
They typically will eat a variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles. Young snakes will often eat lizards. While they will hunt and move throughout the day and night, they become more nocturnal during the summer months.
These are helpful and important members of the local food web and should be protected. When encountering a snake it is best to leave it and let it move on its way. Whenever possible every effort should be made to positively identify snakes prior to taking any action around your home. All snake, whether venomous or non-venomous aid in keeping our rodent populations down and maintaining the delicate balance of our local ecosystem.
Source: US Army Corps of Engineers, Carters Lake Facebook page
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