Devil's Garden Corn Snake Elaphe guttata guttata


Below: Boldly patterned adult female corn snake that was one of the founders of our Devil's Garden breeding project

Devil's Garden corn snake (Elaphe guttata guttata)

The Devilís Garden is an area of southwest Florida known among local field herpers for its beautiful normal corn snakes and occasional naturally occuring black (anerythristic) specimens. After spending countless hours in the field in this area both in our own recreational time and on Sunshine Serpents tours, we have seen great numbers of corn snakes. We have selected some of the most outstanding specimens for our breeding group. Though phenotypically "normal,"  our examples are abnormal in their beauty, with deep red blotches boldly outlined in black. The background ranges from bright orange to a  tan or buckskin color. 

Below: A colorful adult from our colony

 Devil's Garden corn snake (Elaphe guttata guttata)

Below: An oddly colored adult with a buckskin background that we recently added to our colony.

 Devil's Garden corn snake (Elaphe guttata guttata)-Gray Phase

Because this project has not been refined by many generations of selective breeding, the results are still variable. We still get surprises. It is not always easy for us to judge which offspring are going to grow up to be the most colorful or have the boldest patterns. The best course of action if you are interested in putting together a breeding project from this line is to acquire a group of offspring to raise up and select the prettiest adults for breeding.  Though we do not select for black offspring from our normal Devil's Garden adults, most of them are heterozygous for type A anerythrism, which is a natural occurrence in the wild in this locality. Our phenotypically normal offspring should be assumed to be possible hets for anerythrism.

Below: A typical hatchling from our colony

Devil's Garden corn snake (Elaphe guttata guttata) cb 2012 baby

Below: A six month old juvenile from our colony showing a high contrast pattern

Devil's Garden corn snake Elaphe guttata guttata Juvenile



In the Wild

Below: Dry prairie and hammock in the Devil's Garden

Dry Prairie Flatwoods Devil's Garden Hendry County, Florida

Below: Cabbage palms dot a pasture in a typical scene from the Devil's Garden

Pasture in the Devil'

The Devil's Garden is a sparsely populated area mostly in Hendry County, FL. This is a region of mixed habitats including flatwoods, cypress domes, and agriculture. Though much of the area has been impacted by man, it is still a wild area with  sightings of the elusive Florida panther regularly reported.

Below: A big, feisty corn snake found hiding under a carpet

Devil's Garden corn snake Elaphe guttata guttata

The standard methods of south Florida snake hunting apply here, with road cruising, flipping artificial cover, and shining trees at night all being effective in different situations. The corn snake is one of the most common large snake species. It shares its habitat with eastern indigo snakes, Everglades rat snakes, scarlet king snakes, and Florida king snakes.

Below: A corn snake crosses a gravel road in the evening.

Devil's Garden corn snake Elaphe guttata guttata crosses gravel road


Below: Nick Mesa holds anerythristic and normal corn snakes found next to each other on the road

Nick Mesa Devil's Garden corn snakes Elaphe guttata guttata Black corn anerythristic

In addition to beautiful coloration, the corn snake population in this area is notable for the occurrence of anerythrism. This is a recessive trait that removes the red coloration seen in phenotypically normal corn snakes. Herpetologists with field experience in the area estimate anerythristic corn snakes to make up around 15-20 % of the overall population.

Below: An anerythristic corn snake

Anerythristic Black Devil's Garden corn snake Elaphe guttata guttata



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