Rat Snake Vs Corn Snake

Rat Snake Vs Corn Snake: A Comparison

Rat snakes and corn snakes are both popular in the pet trade due to their ease of care, docile nature, and beautiful patterns. However, they are two distinct species with their own unique characteristics. In this article, we will compare and contrast rat snakes and corn snakes and help you decide which one is right for you.

Physical Appearance

Rat snakes and corn snakes have many similarities in terms of appearance, but there are some differences that can help you differentiate between the two. Rat snakes tend to have more muted colors, with shades of brown, gray, and black. They have rectangular-shaped heads and round pupils. Their bodies are smooth and slender, and they can grow up to six feet in length. Some of the most common species of rat snakes are the eastern rat snake, Texas rat snake, and black rat snake.

On the other hand, corn snakes have brighter colors and bold patterns. They can be found in shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown, with stripes or blotches down their backs. They have a triangular-shaped head and round pupils, just like rat snakes. Corn snakes are smaller than most rat snakes, typically growing up to four feet in length. The most popular species of corn snakes are the Carolina corn snake, snow corn snake, and albino corn snake.

Behavior and Temperament

Both rat snakes and corn snakes are known for their docile and calm nature, making them perfect for beginners or families with children. They are both active and curious, and they can be easily handled once they become acclimated to their surroundings. Rat snakes tend to be more active than corn snakes, often exploring their habitat and climbing on branches and logs. They are also more likely to bask in sunlight and require higher temperatures than corn snakes.

Corn snakes are generally more shy and prefer to hide in their hides or burrow under substrate. They are less active than rat snakes, but they can be easily handled and are less likely to bite. Corn snakes are also more adaptable to a wider range of temperatures, making them more suitable for those who live in colder climates.


Rat snakes and corn snakes are carnivores and require a diet of live prey, such as mice or rats. They can be fed frozen-thawed prey as well, but some snakes may not accept this type of food. Rat snakes tend to eat larger prey than corn snakes, and they can consume adult mice or even small rats. Corn snakes, on the other hand, tend to eat smaller prey, such as pinky mice or fuzzies.

Housing and Care

Both rat snakes and corn snakes require similar housing and care. They should be kept in a secure enclosure with a proper heat source, substrate, and hides. Rat snakes may require a larger enclosure than corn snakes due to their larger size and more active nature. Corn snakes can be housed in a 20-gallon tank while larger species of rat snakes may require a 40-gallon tank or larger.

In terms of substrate, both species can thrive on aspen shavings, coconut coir, or reptile carpet. They should be provided with at least one hide on each end of the enclosure, as well as climbing structures and branches. The temperature should be kept between 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit, with a cooler end of the enclosure for them to regulate their body temperature.


Q: Are rat snakes or corn snakes venomous?
A: Neither rat snakes nor corn snakes are venomous. They are completely harmless to humans and other pets.

Q: Do rat snakes or corn snakes make good pets for beginners?
A: Both rat snakes and corn snakes make good pets for beginners. They are easy to care for, docile, and require minimal handling.

Q: How often should I feed my rat or corn snake?
A: Young snakes should be fed once every 5-7 days, while adult snakes can be fed once every 7-14 days. It is important not to overfeed your snake as this can lead to obesity and health problems.


Rat snakes and corn snakes are both excellent choices for beginner snake owners. They are easy to care for, docile, and come in a variety of beautiful patterns and colors. While they have some differences in appearance and behavior, they both make great pets for those looking to add a snake to their family. When deciding between the two, consider your own personal preferences in terms of size, color, and activity level, and choose the snake that best fits your lifestyle.