Corn Snake Vs Rat Snake


Corn snakes and rat snakes are two common types of snakes found in North America. Both of them belong to the same family and share several similar traits but has its differences that make them unique. If you are a snake enthusiast or considering owning your first pet snake, it is essential to know the difference between these two snakes. This article will compare Corn Snake vs Rat Snake in terms of physical appearance, behavior, diet, and habitat.

Physical Appearance

Corn Snake: A corn snake has a distinct coloring pattern that resembles maize or corn. Its body is slender with a pointed head, and they grow to about four to six feet in length. There are over 50 different color morphs of corn snakes, which vary from red, brown, orange, and even lavender.

Rat Snake: A rat snake has a similar appearance to Corn Snake, but its body is thicker, and the head is more rounded. It can grow up to six to eight feet in length. There are several species of rat snakes, common, black, Texas, grey, and yellow that have different coloring, but most commonly have a grayish appearance.


Corn Snake: Corn snakes are known for being docile and gentle. They are not aggressive, and this makes them easier to handle. They are shy by nature, and if you approach them in a calm manner, they will feel safe and not get defensive. Corn snakes are also active during the daytime, and their activity level can increase at night. Due to their docile nature and active behavior, they make great pets for people looking for a low-maintenance snake.

Rat Snake: Rat snakes are also docile and gentle, much like corn snakes. However, they can be more skittish than corn snakes and may take longer to trust their owners. Rat snakes are more active at night, and they are excellent climbers. They are primarily tree-dwellers, and they enjoy spending time in foliage. This behavior can be challenging for anyone wanting to handle them as pets, as you will need to give them space and time to adjust to their surroundings.


Corn Snake: Corn snakes are carnivores, and their diet mainly consists of mice and rats, but they can also eat other small rodents, such as hamsters or gerbils. Hatchlings start by eating baby mice or other rodents, while adult corn snakes can eat larger mice. It is essential to give them an appropriate size of prey as snakes overfeeding or underfeeding can have adverse effects.

Rat Snake: Rat snakes, like other snake species, are also carnivores. Their primary diet is rodents, but they can also eat birds, lizards, and even other snakes. Rat snakes are opportunistic feeders, and they can consume prey much larger than their body size.


Corn Snake: Corn snakes are found in many different habitats, from grasslands to forests, and they are primarily found in the southeastern states of the United States. In the wild, they can be found in tree trunks, rodents’ burrows, and other small spaces. They prefer to stay in warm, moist, and dark areas. Corn snakes also have been known to seek shelter in human dwellings and are commonly found in barns and farms.

Rat Snake: Rat snakes are found in most states of the United States, except for Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of the Northeast. They are more commonly found in the southeastern states. Rat snakes are known to live in wooded areas, trees, and in human-made environments, including attics and crawl spaces.


Which snake is best for first-time snake owners?

Corn Snake is one of the best snakes for first-time snake owners. They have a calm demeanor, low-maintenance, and easy to handle.

Does Corn Snake bite?

Like all snakes, corn snakes have the capability of biting. However, they are not aggressive, and they only bite when they feel threatened or attacked.

Are Rat snakes poisonous?

Rat snakes are non-venomous and are not poisonous to humans.


Corn snakes and rat snakes are both intriguing and fascinating species of snakes. While they share similar characteristics, they have many differences in appearance, behavior, diet, and habitat. When it comes to owning them as pets, both can make great options, but corn snakes are easier to handle and lower maintenance. However, it’s essential to consider the level of commitment and responsibility that comes with owning a pet snake before making a decision. Understanding the differences in species can help you choose the right one for your needs.