What Is an Okeetee Corn Snake?

Elizabeth West
Elizabeth West
Okeetee corn snakes in captivity are often fed crickets.
Okeetee corn snakes in captivity are often fed crickets.

An Okeetee corn snake is a specific color morph of corn snake specially bred from animals originally found in Okeetee, South Carolina. They are characterized by large red patches with dark black borders on an orange ground. Often called rat snakes, they are constrictors that suffocate prey before eating. Corn snakes are common pets, easy to care for, and can be obtained from qualified breeders.

Corn snakes feed on mice.
Corn snakes feed on mice.

Most wild corn snakes are orange with black-bordered patches and a black and white checkered belly. Through selective breeding, corn snakes have been produced in a rainbow of colors, and some have stripes. The Okeetee corn snake has similar markings, with bright red, yellow, brown or white patches and extremely black borders. Ground color varies, but the borders are the distinguishing characteristic of this morph.

Corn snakes may dine on tree frogs.
Corn snakes may dine on tree frogs.

Corn snakes are usually about 24 to 72 inches (61 to 182 cm) in length. They are diurnal and like to climb around in trees, poke into hollow logs, and investigate rodent burrows looking for prey. Habitat is mostly in the southeastern US, including Florida. They love to eat rats, mice, birds, and sometimes bats. Hatchlings often dine on smaller lizards and tree frogs.

The Okeetee corn snake and his relatives are constrictors, which means they squeeze their prey to suffocate it before eating. They first bite the prey to hold it, coil around it, flex until the prey is dead, and then swallow it headfirst. Corn snakes don’t eat often, perhaps every few days to once a week. With good care, the snakes can live to over 20 years old in captivity, but have a shorter lifespan in the wild.

An Okeetee corn snake has a mild disposition and makes a good pet. It is somewhat shy, and needs a place to hide in its enclosure. Adults should have at least a 30-foot (9.14 meter) aquarium or cage to move around in, with a heating pad or under-tank heater at one end. Hot rocks are discouraged because they are not natural to the snake and can cause burns. Lots of fresh water in a flat container will make it happy because it enjoys a good whole-body soak.

Mice, rats, and crickets can be bought for pet snakes in retail stores. It’s recommended to feed dead food to a snake because many people don’t like to risk injury to themselves or watch snakes kill live prey. A pet Okeetee corn snake will become obese if overfed. Although it sounds funny, a fat snake looks just as someone might imagine, and is not as healthy as a leaner animal.

Discussion Comments

anon1005875

I enjoyed your article on the Okeetee locale corn snake. I have enjoyed keeping corn snakes, various other colubrids, and pythons for most of my life.

Having kept reptiles since the late 1970s, I have watched all the incredible advances and improvements in enclosures, lighting, humidity control etc.

What I have yet to come across but would like to is a 30-foot (9.14 meter) aquarium enclosure like you've recommended for a corn snake. I am all about providing ample space and enrichment for all captive animals, but I can't imagine the space required for such a massive aquarium, not to mention the sheer weight of it.

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    • Okeetee corn snakes in captivity are often fed crickets.
      By: viter
      Okeetee corn snakes in captivity are often fed crickets.
    • Corn snakes feed on mice.
      By: Rafal Kucharek
      Corn snakes feed on mice.
    • Corn snakes may dine on tree frogs.
      Corn snakes may dine on tree frogs.