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A bloodred corn snake is a color morph of a corn snake, a type of constrictor. Popular in the pet trade because of their unique coloring, bloodred corn snakes are docile and rarely bite. Also known as the red rat snake, the corn snake's scientific name is Elaphe guttata.
Generally sporting a blotched pattern of reds, oranges, and browns, corn snakes are named such because they were commonly found in corn cribs, or buildings which housed harvested corn. Farmers first assumed the snakes were eating the corn. They quickly realized they were actually keeping down the rodent population, however.
Instead of the blotched pattern of normal corn snakes, bloodred corn snakes are a deep red color that washes out most or all of their natural patterning. Their bellies are usually mostly white. Called a diffused trait, the bloodred coloring is recessive and created by selective breeding.
The bloodred corn snake does not turn this brilliant red until it reaches adulthood. Baby bloodreds show little difference in coloring from regular corn snake babies. The juvenile bloodreds are distinguished mostly by their gray heads.
Corn snakes average 3–4 feet (0.9–1.2 m) long, but may be as small as 2.5 feet (0.76 m) or as long as 5 feet (1.5 m). On average, they live 10 years but can live as long as 21 in captivity. Generally nocturnal, these snakes are most active at dawn and dusk.
Although adults eat mostly pre-killed mice and are not generally picky eaters, baby bloodreds are notoriously difficult to feed. Normally a young bloodred corn snake will refuse to eat mice, accepting only green anoles, a type of lizard. They can be scent-trained to accept the mice as they grow, however.
A pet bloodred corn snake needs at least a 20 gallon tank with a secure top. A hiding place, water dish, and branches for climbing are also necessary. Artificial grass carpeting or pine chips can be used as ground cover, but cedar chips should never be used since they are toxic to these snakes. Heating pads are placed under one half of the tank to allow for a hotter basking area and a cooler living area.
Unlike pythons, corn snakes to not wrap securely around an arm when handled. Instead, they are much more mobile. For this reason, more attention needs to be paid to the snakes so their bodies are always supported. Their heads should be free to roam, and only gently directed if the snakes begin to wander in undesirable directions.