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What Is a Motley Corn Snake?

Christina Whyte
Christina Whyte

The motley corn snake is a corn snake that has been bred to have a motley pattern morph, which is a distinct variation within a species. Corn snakes are the most popular breed of pet snake because they are docile, easy to take care of, available in many attractive colors and patterns, and usually enjoy being handled. Like any pet snake, a motley corn snake has certain requirements in terms of care.

There are several variations of the motley pattern morph, but all motleys have patternless undersides and merging blotches. This often resembles spots in a row on the back of the snake, although in some snakes it approaches a striped look in places. A motley corn snake can have any of the many color morphs, and so can range in color from very pale shades of grey to brilliant red and yellow.

Mice may be fed to a corn snake.
Mice may be fed to a corn snake.

In the wild, corn snakes are found in the central and eastern United States, live in grasslands and forests, and often eat mice in corn that is being stored. Captive corn snakes can reach four to six feet (1.22 to 1.83 m) in length and live up to around 20 years with proper care. Aggression towards humans is rare, although any snake that feels threatened may bite.

Pre-killed well-thawed frozen mice are the food of choice for a pet motley corn snake. Live mice are not recommended because they can attack and damage the snake, and pre-killed mice are euthanized more humanely than constriction by a snake. Corn snakes are usually good feeders, but purchasing a motley corn snake that has always eaten frozen mice is recommended to avoid problems. Feeding schedule and size of mouse is variable depending on the age of the snake.

A vivarium or enclosure for a motley corn snake should be kept relatively warm and have both hotter and cooler areas to allow the snake to regulate its body temperature. Corn snakes live on or close to the ground rather than in trees, but do appreciate some climbable areas in the tank. A hiding place for the snake is very important in the vivarium in order to help the snake feel secure and avoid becoming stressed, and the snake should be left alone while it is hiding. Corn snakes are experts at escaping from enclosures, so it is very important that the tank is secure at all times. Specific instructions on establishing and maintaining the vivarium should be found and followed before obtaining the snake.

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    • Mice may be fed to a corn snake.
      By: Rafal Kucharek
      Mice may be fed to a corn snake.