Why are Corn Snakes called Corn Snakes?
Corn Snakes are a type of Rat Snake found across the mainland United States, Mexico and parts of Canada. They go by various names, including Red Rat Snakes, Red Rats, Corn Rats, and Western Rats. But why are they called Corn Snakes?
Corn and Cornfields
The most obvious theory for why Corn Snakes are called Corn Snakes is their coloring. They have a light yellow base color, with many reddish-brown spots that resemble kernels of corn, and even a light brown stripe down their back. This pattern and color is perfect for camouflaging in ripe fields of corn, where they can find food, as well as hide from potential predators.
Another theory for why Corn Snakes are called Corn Snakes is because of their being a type of Rat Snake. The term “corn snake” is a reference to the phrase “Rat on the Corn”, which describes the feeding habits of rats living near cornfields. This phrase has been in use since at least the early 1700s. Thus, because Corn Snakes are Rat Snakes, they were given this name to denote their close association to cornfields and their diet.
While the exact origin of why Corn Snakes are called Corn Snakes is unknown, the two most likely reasons are their excellent camouflage in cornfields and their diet. They have a light yellow base with reddish-brown spots, resembling kernels of corn, combined with their being a type of Rat Snake have likely given them this name. Corn Snakes are common throughout the mainland United States, Mexico, and parts of Canada, and make for excellent pets for reptile enthusiasts.