Almost certainly the most commonly kept pet snake in the world, and tying with the Leopard Gecko and Inland Bearded Dragon as the default reptile pet, at least here in the UK, the Corn Snake Pantherophis guttatusis native to the south eastern United States, where it prefers fairly dry areas with plentiful rodent burrows.
|Aesculapian Snake hatchling|
|The Caduceus - symbol of Aesculapius|
|Copperhead - note head shape|
When Corn Snakes were first kept and bred as pets is not clear, probably in the 1970’s, but today a wide variety of colour varieties is kept. Here at the zoo, the Volunteer Department has an erythrystic morph called Sundance who we use in talks to the public. Sundance was actually found wandering around in the open as a hatchling, and has been with us many years. Unfortunately, although Corn Snakes are very common as pets, people who have not kept snakes before often underestimate how good they are at escaping, and they either wind up loose in peoples houses or, as with Sundance, wandering around exposed to predators. In the British climate I doubt that a Corn Snake could survive a winter outside unaided, but if they had access to a suitable source of warmth, say a compost heap or a greenhouse, it is not impossible. In warmer countries they might well fare better, and as it is a very adaptable species, in view of its being widely kept there is some concern with it becoming an invasive species if it manages to establish itself outside its natural range.
|Brown Headed Nuthatch|
|Grand Cayman Blue Iguana|
(Images from wikipedia)