Rosy Rat Snake (Florida Keys Corn) Elaphe guttata rosacea


Below: A classic rosy rat snake from our colony

Rosy Rat Snake Elaphe guttata rosacea

The rosy rat snake was formerly recognized under the name "rosacea." Descending from the Florida Keys, the form is characterized by greatly reduced black coloration and a more slender profile than the average corn snake. The reduction of black gives these pretty snakes the “rosy” look. The colors are variable; most specimens have blotches of varying shades of orange on a lighter orange or gray background. The pattern is often more indistinct than the typical corn and the belly pattern is faintly visible or absent. Some have indistinct striping. Respected Florida herpetologist Archie Carr thought that the rosy rat snake was an intermediate form between guttata and obsoleta, though later scientists recognized it as a form of  E. guttata. More recent consensus is that the rosy rat snake is not sufficiently distinct from the corn snake to be given its own subspecies.

Below: A silver phase rosy

Rosy Rat Snake Elaphe guttata rosacea

Our colony is composed of exceptional specimens exemplifying the traits associated with rosacea subspecies. The typical corn snake ventral pattern and dark borders to the blotches are barely visible. Our stock descends from various sources including the Serpenco and John Decker lines. Like Miami phase corn snakes and some other Florida corn snake localities, the babies of this locality tend to be small and sometimes prefer lizards or tree frogs as their first meals. As about special discounts for babies right out of the egg or guaranteed lizard feeders. 

Below: An orange rosy rat snake showing hints of striping

Rosy Rat Snake Elaphe guttata rosacea


Below: Rosy rat snake showing reduced pattern ventral

Rosy Rat Snake Elaphe guttata rosacea



In the Wild

Below: South Florida slash pine rockland

Pine Rockland Florida Keys

The rosy rat snake inhabits nearly all terrestrial habitats in the Florida Keys including pine rocklands, tropical hardwood hammocks, mangrove swamps, and disturbed areas. It is the most common snake in many areas. It is often seen at night climbing on bushes, fences, and even the walls of buildings. There is one report of a specimen found climbing on the window of a restaurant at night, while another was found on a bush in a garden.

Below: Australian pines and mangroves in a disturbed area

They commonly utilize cover objects such as carpets, boards, and rocks. The Keys are bisected by the busy highway US 1. Many would be surprised to learn that road cruising is also an effective method for finding corn snakes in the Keys. They are so common that multiple specimens can often be found at a night just off of US 1 on both neighborhood streets and the few short roads through natural habitats.

Below:  A carpet that revealed numerous land hermit crabs and a rosy rat snake when flipped



Sunshine Serpents on Facebook