Corn snake vs Copperhead Best 10 Main Differences Explained

Corn snake vs Copperhead

Corn snakes typically belong to the family Colubridae. The corn snakes swallow prey using their jaws. The corn snake possesses a distinctive triangular-shaped head. The corn snakes being docile snakes, tend to be present in the eastern United States. They are also considered the non-venomous group of snakes found in South Carolina. These corn snake species rank just below ball pythons. They are very famous snakes for the pet trade. The corn snakes climb trees to look for prey. The corn snake or rat snake with a body of vibrant colors has markings on its stomach, resembling the pattern of Indian corn. 

The corn snakes are frequently mistaken for the venomous copperhead snakes due to their overlapping range and color. Instead of these facts, the corn snake is non-venomous and will bite if they feel threatened. Other snakes are similar to the corn snake; it is a milk snake, and the milk snake is white and orange-colored. 

In contrast, the copperhead snakes tend to live in wetlands rocky, and forested hillsides. The copperhead’s bite is painful but rarely fatal. The copperhead’s body is 24 to 40 inches long, possessing a yellow tail tip. They have bodies with coppery tan color and a heat-sensing pit. However, the young copperheads are grater-colored, but the cross band patterns are still present in adult copperheads. The young copperhead snakes are pit vipers. They show similar behavior to a pit viper. The other pit vipers include timber rattlesnake, eastern diamondback rattlesnake, and pigmy rattlesnake. 

Corn snake vs Copperhead

There are many other snakes that look similar to copperhead snakes, such as black racer snakes, eastern hognose snakes, eastern rat snakes, coral snake, and corn snakes. The banded water snake and diamondback water snake is also confused with the copperhead. The northern water snakes are with round pupils. Although the corn snakes and copperheads are similar, there are many ways to differentiate between the two snakes. For instance, the corn snake is harmless, but medical attention is required for copperhead snake poisons. The victim should be calm and frequently seek medical attention if he/she is bitten by copperheads. Many wildlife conservation campaigns provide veterinary advice. Pet owners are advised to look for veterinary guidance. 

Corn snake


  • The corn snakes are also called red rat snakes. They possess a slender brownish-yellow or orange-colored body with a pattern of large-sized, red-colored blotches outlined in black color down their backs. In addition to it, there are distinctive rows of alternating white and black marks along their bellies, resembling a checkerboard pattern. 
  • The copperheads possess thick, muscular bodies. There are ridged or keeled scales on their bodies. These species have arrow or triangular-shaped heads that are distinct from the neck. In addition to it, there is also a ridge separating the head’s top from the side snout between nostrils and eyes. Their bodies are tan to copper or gray-colored. 
  • Corn snakes are present in various countries, including the Southeastern U.S, Florida, and the United States. They possess different habitats across their native range. For instance, the corn snake is native to palmetto Flatwoods, forest openings, rocky hillsides, forested areas, overgrown fields, and rarely used and abandoned buildings and barns. 
  • The adult copperheads are spread in a wide range. They are present in various countries, including west to Nebraska, North to Massachusetts, Florida panhandle, and the United States. In addition to it, the copperhead lives in various habitats such as wetlands, rocky, forest hillsides, suburban areas, sawdust piles, abandoned and rotten woods. 
  • The corn snakes possess a body length of about 2.00 to 5.97 feet or 61 to 182 centimeters. The males grow between 10 and 15 feet; in contrast, the females are about 17 to 20 feet long. The males also possess narrower physiques. Furthermore, the average weight is up to 900 grams. The males weigh between 700 and 900 grams, and females have an average weight of 500 to 700 grams. 
  • The average body length of adult copperheads is about 61 to 90 centimeters, and the young ones are between 18 and 25 centimeters. The females are large-sized than males with longer tails. According to the University of Georgia Extension, the largest copperhead was recorded with 4 feet, 5 inches in length. Furthermore, the average weight of a copperhead is between 4 and 12 ounces. 
  • Corn snakes need a proper diet to survive, like other animals. Their primary food includes rodents. They are called constrictor snakes which means they can catch prey, squeezing it. They also tend to eat significant-sized quails. 
  • Like corn snakes, the copperheads also require proper food to survive. They are carnivores. For instance, their diet includes insects (especially cicadas), small snakes, amphibians, lizards, and small birds. However, their primary food is mice. 
  • The corn snakes are diurnal, meaning they are most active during the day rather than at night. They tend to sleep at night. These creatures sometimes stay awake during the day or in their burrows if they feel being threatened or unsafe. Most of these species are docile, calm, and placid snakes, thriving in captivity. 
  • The copperheads are also diurnal, like the corn snake species. They are nocturnal during the summer but diurnal in the fall and spring. These animals stay out on warm and humid nights after rain. They search for their prey during the day. There are unique pits that help them in guiding during various attacks.
  • The corn snakes are not venomous but are considered beneficial and harmless to humans. They don’t have functional venom, helping control populations of different rodent pests that significantly destroy crops and spread various diseases. There will be some blood drawn or a little pinch a corn snake bites you. 
  • The copperheads are considered large-sized, social, and venomous snakes, unlike corn snakes. The estimated lethal dose of a copper head is about 100 grams. Their venom comes from the list of most potent toxins, and bites are not deadly to humans. In comparison, they bite only on being threatened or disturbed. 
  • The corn snakes are oviparous, which means these animals lay eggs that get hatched later. The females lay a clutch of almost 10 to 30 eggs in rotting stumps, vegetation decaying piles, or places with enough humidity and heat to incubate eggs. 
  • The copperheads are ovoviviparous species which means the eggs incubate inside the mothers’ bodies. In addition to it, the female copperhead gives birth to about 18 young ones after mating in late summer or fall.  
  • The corn snakes live for a specific time, after which they die. For instance, the corn snake possesses an average lifespan of about 6 to 8 years in the wild, but it can live for almost 23 years or more in captivity. 
  • The copperheads also have a specific lifespan, after which they die. For instance, they can live for almost 6 to 8 years in the wild. In contrast, the copperhead can live for 23 years and two months in captivity.
  • Many predators attack corn snakes. In addition to it, these preys include hawks, bobcats, weasels, opossums, snakes, and foxes, etc. 
  • The copperheads are also attacked by other animals such as different predatory birds and mammals, black racers, and eastern king snakes. 
  • Corn snakes are considered the species of least concern. They are endangered for various reasons, including population decline, illegal collecting, limited range in the state, and habitat loss. 
  • The copperheads are considered endangered species in Massachusetts under an act called the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. It is due to the declining population and rarity. Furthermore, the law protects it. 


Sometimes people get confused and raise questions about corn snake vs copperhead to clear people’s minds. Therefore, the answers to some of those raised questions are as mentioned below;

Do corn snakes mimic copperheads?

The corn snakes mimic copperheads, primarily in their coloration. The corn snakes have a variety of colors, such as orange and reddish-brown and rust-colored. In comparison, corn snakes appear to be more colorful than copperheads.

Does a copperhead has rattles?

The copperhead doesn’t have rattles with which to warn off intruders who do not move. They tend to be far more likely than rattlesnakes to strike without any need to provocation and it gives them a chance to show aggressiveness.

What snake is mistaken for a corn snake?

The corn snakes are mistaken for the venomous copperheads. The copperheads’ bites are harmful, requiring a medical attention. In contrast, the corn snakes are also sometimes killed mistaken as copperheads. 


Different plants and animals are present throughout the world, all possessing unique identification characters discriminating against them. The same is the case with the corn snake vs. copperhead. Although both are similar in some ways, they also show a variety of distinct features. People still confuse them and kill corn heads. There is no need to worry as this blog post provides exciting facts and information that is enough to clear people’s minds. It will help greatly if you read this article with great care and pay full attention. 

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