Corn snakes are prevalent pet snakes for both beginner and experienced reptile owners, and they are native to the United States.
Known for their docile temperament, corn snakes suffer from very few health problems, and they love to explore.
So what is the difference between a regular corn snake and the Okeetee corn snake?
The Okeetee corn snake is simply a corn snake morph known for its bright orange and red color pattern. Okeetee corn snakes have the same temperament and care requirements as a regular corn snake, with the only difference being their appearance.
Okeetee corn snakes are not venomous, but unfortunately, many are killed in the wild due to their resemblance to the copperhead snake species.
Read on to learn more about the Okeetee corn snake’s appearance and care requirements to decide if it is the right pet for you.
What is the Color, Traits, and Characteristics of an Okeetee Corn Snake?
The Okeetee corn snake is more brightly colored than a regular corn snake, with a vibrant orange body and dark red dorsal saddle marks with black borders along the spine.
The colors of the Okeetee make it the most popular corn snake morph.
The primary body color of the Okeetee corn snake will always range from a medium brown to deep orange.
Selective breeding has produced several variations to the vibrant colors of the Okeetee corn snake.
These variations include the Abbotts Okeetee corn snake, which has a brown background color and is scaleless.
The Tessera Okeetee morph has full stripes instead of saddle markings and a pixelated pattern on the dorsal area.
Extreme Okeetee corn snakes have black saddles, which primarily cover other colors in the dorsal stripes.
Adult corn snakes are generally slender and long, with a 5’-foot snake weighing between one to two pounds.
The Okeetee corn snake has an amiable disposition and is adapted very well to captivity.
Because of their docile nature, it is safe to handle an Okeetee corn snake at least once or twice per week, but no more than once per day.
Always use safe handling practices, approaching your snake from the side and ensuring you support its entire body weight.
Never hold your snake solely by the tail, as you will cause injury and stress to the animal.
How Big Do Okeetee Corn Snakes Get?
Okeetee corn snakes range from 2-6′ feet long, and they have slender bodies. The average length of an Okeetee corn snake is between 3-5′ feet. These snakes tend to weigh less than other species.
For example, a 5’-foot-long Okeetee corn snake may weigh between one to two pounds, while a ball python of the same length will weigh over twice as much at a little more than four pounds.
The following table shows the average weight and length of an Okeetee corn snake according to age.
What is a Reverse Okeetee Corn Snake?
The Reverse Okeetee corn snake is an amelanistic corn snake morph with a white or pale yellow background color, pink saddle markings, and white instead of black banding.
A Reverse Okeetee corn snake is simply an albino corn snake.
Reverse Okeetee corn snakes are not from the same area as a regular Okeetee corn snake.
Reverse Okeetees are selectively bred from regular amelanistic corn snakes whose offspring have larger bands of patterning.
In addition to the pink color, a Reverse Okeetee’s saddle markings may also be red, yellow, orange, or white for a high contrast appearance.
In adult Reverse Okeetee corn snakes, the bands around the saddle markings may range from white to pale green.
What Do Okeetee Corn Snakes Eat?
In captivity, you will feed an Okeetee corn snake appropriately-sized rodents. Hatchlings eat newborn mice, while adult Okeetee corn snakes eat jumbo mice or small rats.
As a general rule, it is safer to feed your snake frozen but thawed mice instead of living mice.
Live mice may bite your snake out of fear and cause serious injury.
The only exception to this rule is if your baby corn snake is stressed by its new environment or is not used to eating thawed mice.
It is straightforward to train your corn snake to eat thawed mice with just a few easy steps.
Start by placing your corn snake and the thawed mouse in a separate container with a lid.
Ensure the lid has air holes and fits tightly enough on the container to prevent the snake from escaping.
Also, take care not to put the container near a heat source to avoid causing your Okeetee corn snake to become overheated.
Baby corn snakes need to be fed once every five to seven days, and adults need to eat every seven to ten days.
Provide fresh water to your Okeetee corn snake at all times, using a heavy and shallow reptile water bowl.
Clean the bowl whenever it is soiled, and give your snake clean water every day.
Keep the water dish in the corner of the cage so the snake will easily find it.
What is the Habitat Setup of an Okeetee Corn Snake?
An Okeetee corn snake needs a large enough enclosure to explore, proper lighting, a temperature gradient with a basking area, and consistent humidity levels. The substrate in the enclosure should retain humidity and allow the snake to burrow.
The size of your Okeetee corn snake’s enclosure will largely depend on the snake’s length.
The enclosure needs to be as long as the snake’s length and around half the size of your snake for the width and height.
You may need to increase the enclosure size as your snake grows larger.
A 40-gallon vivarium is generally a good size for an adult Okeetee corn snake.
In addition to a large enough enclosure for your snake to stretch out, you need to provide your pet with at least two different hiding places so it has the space it needs to feel secure.
Spot clean the enclosure every day and deep clean once per month.
Provide your Okeetee corn snake with lighting to mimic the natural day and night cycle.
This means you will leave the lights on for around 12 hours every day and turn them off for the other 12 hours.
You may need to adjust when to turn the lights on and off as the seasons change and the hours of daylight shift.
Invest in a light timer to automatically turn the lights on and off if you have difficulty remembering to do it manually.
Providing your corn snake with a proper day and night cycle allows the animal to maintain its circadian rhythm.
Since your corn snake relies on external temperatures to regulate its body temperature, you will need to provide the reptile with a temperature gradient in the enclosure.
The cool side should be close to 75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C).
The temperatures in the middle of the enclosure need to range from 78-82° degrees Fahrenheit (28° C).
The basking area temperatures need to be close to 90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C).
Heat may be provided to the tank through a heat mat or heat tape on the bottom or side of the enclosure.
Humidity and Substrate
Humidity levels in the enclosure should range between 65%-75%.
Use a hygrometer to measure the humidity in the vivarium and mist the enclosure to raise the moisture levels when necessary.
Using a substrate made of aspen shavings or cypress mulch will also help maintain humidity levels and provide the snake with a place to burrow.
Are There Common Health Issues in Okeetee Corn Snakes?
Okeetee corn snakes are usually healthy reptiles, but it is important to know the symptoms of common illnesses such as gastrointestinal issues, respiratory infections, overheating, shedding problems, and skin infections.
If your Okeetee corn snake is vomiting or has diarrhea, these are symptoms of a parasitic infection or another stomach issue.
Symptoms of a respiratory infection include bubbles or discharge from the eyes, now, or mouth.
If your snake is breathing with its mouth open or acting restless, these are signs the reptile may be overheating.
When your corn snake spends a lot of time soaking in its water dish or rubbing its body on surfaces in the enclosure, these are signs of shedding issues or possibly skin mites.
Sores or blisters on the snake’s skin indicate a serious skin infection or malnutrition.
If your Okeetee snake exhibits any of these signs or symptoms, you need to seek veterinary care as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
To avoid parasites, bacteria, and fungal infestations, keep your corn snake’s enclosure and food and water dishes clean, and always remove uneaten food when feeding time is over to prevent bacteria from forming.
Keep humidity levels within the acceptable range to avoid fungus and mold growth in the enclosure and prevent shedding problems with your snake.
What is the Lifespan of an Okeetee Corn Snake?
With proper care, your Okeetee corn snake will live anywhere from 15-25 years. Monitor your snake’s appearance and regularly weigh the animal to ensure it is healthy.
Keep the corn snake’s enclosure clean every day, and completely disinfect the vivarium at least once per month.
If you notice any symptoms of illness in your pet, it is crucial to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
The sooner an illness is diagnosed, the more likely your corn snake will recover quickly with proper treatment.
Is It Difficult to Breed Okeetee Corn Snakes?
To breed Okeetee hatchlings, at least one of the breeding pairs needs to have a dominant gene for the Okeetee variant, or both parents need to have recessive genes for the traits. For rare Okeetee morphs, breeding results will be better if both parents are Okeetee corn snakes, even if they only carry a recessive trait for the color pattern.
If you breed an Okeetee with a normal corn snake, the offspring will be a hybrid of the Okeetee morph.
When you plan to breed your corn snakes, you will need to keep the male and female in separate enclosures until they are ready to mate in order to avoid any aggressive behavior.
Corn snakes are not social animals, and keeping two of them together will stress the snakes out and will likely result in injuries to the animals.
Speaking of morphs, check out our complete list of the best corn snake morphs with pictures.
How Much Does An Okeetee Corn Snake Cost?
The price range for Okeetee corn snakes is between $80-$1,250. The price largely depends on the bloodline as well as the rarity of the color morph. More vivid colors and rare pattern morphs cost more money.
Scaleless morphs tend to be the most expensive, especially when combined with color traits such as Tessera or Butter.
These scaleless morphs are not truly without any scales, as they still have scales on their belly to aid in movement.
However, they may completely lack dorsal scales, or they may have patches of missing scales on the dorsal area.
Most scaleless morphs sell for at least $450, but they may be well over $1,000 depending on their color pattern.
Where Does The Okeetee Corn Snake Originate?
The original Okeetee corn snakes were caught by members of the Okeetee Hunt Club located in Jasper County, South Carolina. These vividly-colored corn snakes were then selectively bred to consistently produce the Okeetee color patterning.
Okeetee corn snakes are found in overgrown fields, forest areas, palmetto flatwoods, and abandoned shacks in the Okeetee Hunt Club grounds.
These clever snakes may also be found hiding in tree roots throughout the property.
How Often Do Okeetee Corn Snakes Shed and Go Into Brumation?
Adult Okeetee corn snakes will shed every three months, and they will only need to go into brumation if you plan to breed your snakes.
When your corn snake is going through the shedding process, it is important to keep the reptile hydrated and maintain proper humidity levels in the enclosure.
Without enough hydration and humidity, the shed skin may become stuck.
Never attempt to pull the skin off of your snake, as you may cause injury to the animal.
If your Okeetee corn snake has difficulty shedding, soak the reptile in a warm bath and check to ensure the eye caps and tail have appropriately shed.
A stuck shed may cause necrosis on the tail, so if your snake is having serious shedding problems, you may need to seek the assistance of a veterinarian.
Brumation for corn snakes is very similar to hibernation, but it is not necessary for captivity unless you are planning to breed the reptile.
Brumation allows the snake’s body to prepare for breeding and egg production.
To start the brumation cycle for your corn snake, you will need to gradually lower the temperature and stop feeding the reptile for 2-3 weeks.
Brumation usually lasts for 6-8 weeks, during which time your snake will not eat.
Once the brumation cycle is over, you will gradually increase the temperature in the enclosure back to normal levels and resume feeding your snake once again.