While it is true that the corn snake and the copperhead appear somewhat similar from a distance, there are important differences between the two snakes. First, the copperhead is poisonous, and although its venom is not as potent as that of some other vipers, the bite still requires medical attention. The corn snake is harmless and non-venomous, and some people even keep it as a pet. Here are some more interesting differences between these two beautiful snakes. Let’s compare Corn Snake and Copperhead!
Comparison of the corn snake and the copperhead
Here is a table showing some of the differences between the corn snake and the copperhead.
|Length||24 to 72 inches||30 to 53 inches|
|Weight||32 oz||7 ounces for men, 4 ounces for women|
|Life expectancy||23 years old||15 to 29 years old|
Five Key Differences Between Corn Snake and Copperhead
The most important difference between corn snakes and copperhead snakes is that copperhead snakes are venomous, while corn snakes are not. Although copperhead snakes are not aggressive snakes and their venom is relatively weak, the bite can cause terrible pain and should be treated by a doctor. Copperheads do not give warning before biting, and sometimes dry bites are applied just to ward off a potential attacker. On the other hand, corn snakes are so docile that even wild snakes can be dealt with. Other differences are size and weight, color, range and reproducibility.
1. Size and weight.
There is a wider range of sizes for the corn snake than the copperhead. The corn snake can grow from 2 to 6 feet in length, and the copperhead can grow from 2.5 to 4.5 feet in length. The corn snake also weighs much more than the copperhead, although the body of the copperhead is more robust. A corn snake can weigh 2 pounds, while a copperhead male is 7 ounces and a female is about 4 ounces.
Corn snakes and copperhead snakes can be so similar in color that corn snakes are sometimes mistaken for copperheads and unnecessarily killed. (Median, by the way, shouldn’t be killed in vain either). Above, snakes may have a brown or copper body with brown or reddish brown spots, although the spots on the copper head are hourglass-shaped and the spots on the corn snake tend to have black edges. Its ventral side resembles a black and white checkerboard.
Corn snakes are also much more varied in color than copperheads. The colors and patterns on the body of the corn snake depend on its age and habitat. Because corn snakes are also bred for the pet trade, they come in a variety of colors, patterns, and complex morphs.
The ancestors of corn snakes were venomous, but modern snakes have lost their venom and now kill their prey by wrapping them in rings and squeezing them to death. This is called constriction. The copperhead traps prey, such as a mouse, to pass by, stabs, bites and waits for it to be overcome by poison before eating it. Both snakes swallow their prey whole, as they cannot chew and for this they can loosen their jaws. Sometimes an overeating corn snake will swallow its prey while it is still alive.
Copperhead venom is weak compared to other pit vipers such as some rattlesnakes. Poison is a hemotoxin that damages the blood, but it is rarely fatal to humans.
The copperhead has a wider natural range than the corn snake. It is found from Massachusetts to Mexico and in Midwestern states such as Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas.
The range of the corn snake stretches from New Jersey to southernmost Florida. It is very similar to the snake of the southern United States and does not occur naturally west of the Mississippi River.
Another big difference between corn snakes and copperheads is that corn snakes lay eggs, while copperheads are viviparous. This means that the female bears eggs for 83 to 150 days. They hatch while they are still inside it, and are between one and 21 years old, but usually around 6 cubs hatch. Their size depends on the height of their mother, but they are about 8 inches long. Cubs of Copperheads are completely independent of birth and are ready to breed when they are about three and a half years old.
Copperheads sometimes practice facultative parthenogenesis. This means that they can reproduce without fertilization, as well as sexually. Copperheads are one of the few vertebrate species that can do this, and sometimes it happens to a female snake that has been kept away from males for a while.
Corn snakes lay 10 to 30 eggs in areas where the temperature and humidity are at the level required for proper incubation. Adult snakes don’t care for eggs. At the right temperature, the eggs hatch in about two months. Small snakes lack the vibrant colors of their parents and are about 5 inches long. They are ready to breed when they are one and a half to three years old.
Coppers also have an elaborate courtship ritual in which males defeat rival males and then engage in combat with an available female. Biologists don’t know how to care for the more secretive corn snakes.
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