rat snake vs corn snake

Rate Snake vs Corn Snake: Which Is The Better Pet

Snakes are one of the most interesting and diverse animal species you can own as a pet.  Some people may be fearful of them, but when treated with respect and care, they can make a great pet.

Like other organisms, there are plenty of varieties of snakes. Several genus, families, and species of snakes are unique to each continent.

Not all parts of the earth have snakes, but only a few of the regions are found to be composed of these organisms and their various varieties.

Most of the times the habitats of snakes are jungles and aquatic environments. But, some of them are also found in deserts like conditions also.

Many species of snakes are venomous and pose a danger to other organism lives if they get bitten by them. In contrast, several other species are not harmful to lives to such an extent that people have shown interest in them and have started keeping them as their pet in their very own home.

In this article, we are talking about two of the nonvenomous snake species. They are rat snakes and corn snakes, both of which are not harmful in a lethal manner. We will focus on the main differences between them.

If you’ve come across the article and you’re wondering whether to get a rat snake or corn snake as a pet, we would recommend getting a corn snake.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  Corn snakes when fully grown tend to max out at around 6 feet, while rat snakes can easily exceed 8 feet.  Additionally, we prefer the colorization of corn snakes, they come in attractive color combinations that we personally think look better.

Morphological and Physiological Structure of Rat Snake vs Corn Snakes

Both of These Snakes are structurally elongated, without legs and are considered as carnivorous reptiles. They belong to the suborder Serpentes and are similar to any other squamates, they are ectothermic in nature and belong to amniotes vertebrates which are sheathed by scales that overlap each other.

A lot of species of these snakes have skulls with many more joints than the lizard ancestors, they belong to, and this enables the snakes to swallow their hunted prey even much larger in size than their own heads. For this type of action, they are effectively aided by the highly mobile jaws present in their mouths.

To accommodate their narrow and slim structure of bodies efficiently, snakes possess mostly organs in pairs (for example the kidneys) that can be seen as one in front of the other rather than being side by side like with most other animals, additionally, the majority of them have only a single lung.

In some of the species, a pelvic girdle is remained along with a pair of claws that are vestigial in nature and are present on both the sides of their cloacaLizards have generally evolved and have an elongated bodily structure that does not have limbs or when they have, they are greatly reduced limbs that are about twenty-five times, solely due to the evolution, that has to lead to too many hierarchies of lizards without legs.

Legless lizards are quite similar to snakes and resemble them a lot, but various common groups of these lizards possess eyelids and external ears, which are lacking in snakes, though this rule is not purely universal as can be proved by seeing AmphisbaeniaPygopodidae, and  Dibamidae.

List of Major Differences between a Rat Snake and a Corn Snake

This article is mainly based on contrasting the traits of rat snakes and corn snakes. The following are the notable differences:

  1. The rat snake is a species under which the subspecies of corn snake species is listed. So, the rat snakes are not only the sole members of the genus Pantherophis while the corn snake, since it is a different species or we can say is the subspecies of rat snake is placed in the same genus but with different species name and thus belongs to Pantherophis guttatus. The corn snake is sometimes also called by another name of the red rat snake. Hence concluding this fact, we can say that all corns are rat snakes but not all rat snakes are corn.
  2. If you are looking for a pet and you are thinking of a snake, corn snakes prove to be a better option than the rat snake. The main reason in support of this argument is the difference of height of both the snakes. Corn snakes are smaller than rat snakes with a height of six feet while the latter heightens up to a height of eight feet of length. Also, in terms of their appearance rat snakes comes in commonly black color with simple patterns, but the corn snakes are seen in a very large variety of colors and beautiful patterns with caramel spots on them.
  3. Corn snakes are much more comfortable in living in temperatures similar to that of room temperature, but only for a certain period of time, whereas a rat snake do not  seem to like the room temperature living conditions. This accounts as one more reason to the most asked questions about corn snakes being a common choice among people who want snakes as their home pets.
  4. Rat snakes are found to be quite lazy and sluggish. In contrast, corn snakes are always seen as active organisms and like to move and explore the area in their vicinity whenever they get a chance to do so as when as they are kept as pets they are usually enclosed in a cage.
  5. Corn snakes are pretty simple and easy to detect prior to their colorful and highlighted patterns which can be seen especially when they are moving in daylight rather than a rat snake, which are simple and also the corn snakes are easy to feed also because their diet includes the rodents which are easily available near fields and even in homes.
  6. The shape of the eggs of both the snakes is also different in appearance and hence can be easily detected. Rat snake’s eggs are long and tubular in shape when compared to corn snake’s eggs which are more oval in shape and could be found similar to that of pigeon’s eggs.
  7. Rat snakes are found to produce a bad smell by a musk that gets passed on to the person who touches it. This smell is spread using their very own tails. While corn snakes are not found to show this kind of behavioral trait.
  8.  Corn snakes have a very different way of hunting than the rat snake. It attracts the rodents towards itself, then clutches them and kills them.
  9. Corn snakes, when compared with rat snake on the topic of breeding, is a very easy to handle creature and its breeding is very easy and simple.
  10. Rat snakes are readily available in a wild environment while corn snakes are often found in between the human dwellings. One such reason for the corn snakes to reside in the vicinity of human beings and their dwellings, especially agricultural lands is the rodents and pests they feed on.
  11. If by any chance someone encounters and meets a rat snake in the wild forest or desert areas, there might be the chances of them acting very aggressively because they are considered as violent snake species. However, if these rat snakes are captured and their breeding is done in captivity in a systematic manner and handled frequently and carefully, then they tend not be quite vigorous aggressive at all. Corn snakes, on the other hand, are not like rat snakes, but are found to be quite interested in and curious about human beings and are usually noticed to be very docile.
  12. The rat snakes are one of  the majorly known, due to the trade from foreign countries of exotic boas not found in their own country and pythons that have become a more  common thing in the trade of pets
  13. Rat snakes are most commonly seen putting on a splendid show, which is defensive in nature which requires a head and is remembered vividly whereas corn snakes do not show it.
  14. When compared with corn snakes, rat snakes are harder to keep in captive stage and breed them.

Rate Snake vs Corn Snake

Rate Snake

Rat snake– these snakes are members of the Colubridae family. Large constriction acts for killing their prey are their marking style of hunting.  Most of the parts of Northern hemisphere can be considered as their home of origin and habitat.

Their natural diet includes rodents and pests which sometimes lead these snakes to some of the topmost levels of a number of food chains they are involved in. Since there is no venom producing glands present in their mouth near the fangs, they are not lethal and their bites also almost never proved to be fatal in nature.

Instead of being venomous they have other techniques to kill their prey. They generally stuck their teeth into their prey and then suffocate them till the time they lose every hope of gaining their breath back and die. They are considered as the most common choice to be adopted as a pet due to a lot of reasons. 

The environment of the night time is generally more suitable for rat snakes in thermal aspect to perform their hunting activities, and hence, it is concluded that this ambiance makes them much more active during the night hours.

By Increasing the activities of night time enables the rat snakes to catch some larger in size prey like the birds, because of the fact that female birds normally incubate their laid eggs in the nest during the night and this has  reduced the capability to become aware of rat snakes by reason of deprived conditions of good visibility.

Global warming also has its hands in leading towards the changes in the techniques of predation among the snakes. Rat snakes are considered as the prey species to predators such as hawks. And on the other hand the rat snakes are being hunted down in the day hours. 

Since rat snakes are mainly on the go at night due to the warm temperature that might permit the rat snakes to be not as much of in a weak position to be threatened by the predation from birds like hawks.

A warm type of climate is also responsible in enhancing the digestion of food in rat snakes and hence evolving them into more competent, that makes the rat snake to be capable of growing much more in size and then letting them eat more animals.

In contrast to rat snake species in comparatively colder areas, rat snake species at lower degrees of latitudes are seen to have a nature of growing larger in size. The reason behind this structural difference is warmer climatic conditions when compared to higher latitudes.

With the warming of global climate, the average estimated and seen size of the body of these rat snakes present at higher latitudes are prone to become larger, that will permit these snake species to hunt more amount of prey and hence this nature increases the overall rate of success of reproduction. 

The populations of Rat snakes belonging to their northern range, such as the place Ontario, are found to be experiencing a great shift in emergence on the basis of hibernation. The populations residing in these particular regions specifically arise from hibernation at the time of late April.

Although, the rising changes in temperature might force rat snakes to come out on a sunny day in the cold months of February or even March. The before time appearance of these rat snakes will commence to render them to these threatening to life circumstances if a snake is unable to come back to its hibernaculum in the available time.

corn snake
Corn Snake


Corn snake– it is a subspecies of rat snake and is found in the portions of North America. The basis and trick of hunting its prey are similar to that of rat snake that is by constriction method. They are obedient in nature and are really reluctant to bite unnecessarily like when they are not attacked.

They are quite attractive in appearance. The reason behind it is the presence of very vibrant and colorful patterns on their bodies. They are also a common choice of being adopted as a pet because there are no cases found of their biting someone. They do not possess the venom sac and hence do not have the capacity to kill anyone. But, they help a lot in keeping the population of rodent pests checked and prevent the damage of crops and disease spreading by these animals. 

Following a lot of generations of taking the path of the techniques involving the methods of selective breeding, the corn snakes that are found to be living in the domestic state are seen having a very vast range of variety of several different  colors and a lot of attractive patterns.

These are the results from the recombination of the dominant genes and recessive genes that are completely responsible for the coding for several proteins that are surely involved in the development of chromatophore, its maintenance, and the function it performs.

New recombinations, also known as morphs are in today’s world becoming available with every passing year due to the fact that breeders attain a better knowledge of the principles of genetics involved in the process. 

The variety of Wild corn snakes are noticed to mostly prefer the habitats like the fields which are overgrown due to improper maintenance, the openings of forests,  different trees, and abandoned, left alone or we can say that seldom-used buildings, infrastructures and farms, from the sea level to as much as the height of 6,000 feet.

Normally, these snakes are found to remain  on the ground level till they achieve four months of age in their lives, but in spite of this fact, they can move up on the trees, mountains, cliffs, and other surfaces which are considered as elevated in structure.

The wild snakes can be found majorly  in the Southeastern United States , their area ranging  from New Jersey to the Florida Keys and even as far of the west as Utah region.

In the regions with cold climate, these snakes have the tendency of hibernating during the time of the entire winter season.

However, in the climate that is much more similar to temperate or is actually temperate, which is found usually along the coastal side, they tend to take shelter in between the cracks and crevices of the rocks and get logged while the cold weather persists.

The wild corn snakes also are fully capable of finding shelter like place in small and closed spaces which may include places like under a home or building and often found to come out on days with the warm temperature and allow themselves to soak up in the heat generated by the sun and reaching the earth.

During the time of cold weather, snakes are generally not very much in an active state, so they can be counted upon as being hunt less harmless to other organisms including human beings.


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