Eastern corn snake
Have you seen this animal? Report it now!
Report all sightings or information on the illegal keeping of Eastern corn snake to our Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or email reports and digital photographs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos and accurate descriptions of where and when the animal(s) was sighted are critical when making a report. Detailed information allows the Victorian government to make a timely and positive identification. All reports are responded to as a priority and may result in trapping, surveillance and the removal of confirmed Eastern corn snake.
You should never attempt to approach or handle a snake. All snakes should be considered venomous and highly dangerous. If bitten by a snake dial 000 immediately.
Why is it important to report Eastern corn snake sightings?
The Eastern corn snake is not native to Australia and if given the opportunity could populate a wide range of landscapes within Victoria, impacting native species through predation and the introduction of new animal diseases.
Eastern corn snakes are classified as a Controlled Pest Animal under the Victorian Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994. The importation, keeping, breeding and trading of this species, without appropriate permits, is illegal and penalties apply.
Eastern corn snakes have been found in all states in Australia, including Victoria and are typically escapees or deliberately released animals from the illegal pet trade. Annually 3-4 eastern corn snakes are detected in Victoria by Victorian Government Officers.The illegal keeping and trading of Eastern corn snakes poses one of the greatest risks of the species establishing in Victoria. Escapees or deliberately released animals can be extremely difficult and costly to recover.
How to identify an Eastern corn snake
Eastern corn snakes are relatively slender and are between 60 - 180 cm in length. Juveniles are similar to adults in appearance, hatchlings range in size from 22-36 cm.
Image: Orange Eastern corn snake
They can have a wide range of colour variation. They can be orange, reddish-brown, brown or grey, with black-margined brown or reddish blotches. The most common colour is orange.
Image: Brown Eastern corn snake
On their belly there are alternating rows of black and white marks, similar to a piano keyboard, and the underside of the tail has two black stripes.
Image: Belly showing distinctive markings
They have a spear-shaped pattern on their head and neck.
Image: Spear-shaped pattern on the head of Eastern corn snake
They may be found in wooded groves, rocky hillsides, meadowlands, woodlots, barns, and abandoned buildings.
They are primarily nocturnal. They readily climb trees, can be very secretive spending most of their time underground prowling through rodent burrows. During the day they hide under loose bark and beneath logs, rocks, and other debris. In cold areas, they hibernate during winter but may emerge to bask on warmer days.
Similar looking native snakes
Australian native snakes do not look similar to Eastern corn snakes.
Impact on native species
Eastern corn snakes are a potential host for foreign pests and diseases, which could threaten native Australian and domestic animals. They can carry ticks that spread the bacterium Cowdria ruminatntium that can kill grazing animals.
Eastern corn snakes are generalist feeders, their diet is opportunistic and includes amphibians, lizards, small mammals and birds. Prey is killed by constriction as they are non-venomous snakes. It is anticipated that Eastern corn snakes would compete for food with other Australian native reptiles.
Image: Eastern corn snakes