Corn snakes, native to North America, are a very popular pet snake. They make ideal beginner snakes due to their relatively small size, placid nature, and ease of care. Over the years, corn breeders have selectively bred hundreds of beautiful color and pattern variations, known as “morphs.”
The albino (amelanistic) is the most popular corn snake morph. Others include the sunglow, the blizzard (which is white from nose to tail), the striped corn snake (which has stripes instead of saddles) and the strawberry snow morph (candy pink).
We’re going to provide an in-depth guide for the best corn snake color morphs. You’ll find a full description, pictures, and costs.
What Are Corn Snake Morphs?
Pantherophis guttatus are a species of non-venomous rat snake native to the southeastern United States. In the wild, they are usually orange in color with orange-red saddle-shaped markings, outlined in dark grey.
There is some variation in appearance among wild snakes, but not much. For example, Miami phase corn snakes tend to have a lighter ground color than Carolina phase corn snakes.
Breeders have produced corn snakes with some fascinating color and pattern variations. They do this by pairing corns with specific genetic mutations that they wish to see in future generations, such as albinism.
According to the University of Pittsburgh, some corn snake genes are dominant (requiring only one copy of the gene to express the trait) and some are recessive (the snake will carry the gene, but won’t visually display it unless it has inherited two copies).
A snake that looks different from a “normal” domestic or “wild” type of corn is referred to as a “morph.”
Corn Snake Morph Types
Some of the more common variations can be quite cheap to buy (around $40), but very rare corn snake morphs can cost well over $1000.
1) Amelanistic (Albino)
Albino snakes are the first that were discovered in the wild. This means they were the original ‘morph’. At the time, they were valuable, because the only other corn snakes kept as pets were the wild-type.
These corn snakes get their name from lacking melanin in their skin. Albino corn snakes lack melanin, which is what gives skin a dark tone. This means that albinos have:
- Cream to light orange background color
- Orange-red saddles in a normal pattern
- Pink or red eyes
People think that albino snakes are completely white, but that’s not true. They still have some color in their skin/scales because melanin isn’t the only pigment snakes have.
Because they’ve been available for years, albino corn snakes aren’t expensive to buy. You can get one for between $40 and $50.
Sunglows are a kind of selectively bred amelanistic. ‘Selectively bred’ means that they’re not a designer morph, and they’re not a wild morph. Instead, it means that breeders have created successive generations and bred them for particular traits.
This is a common practice in pets. Say, for example, that you want to breed a large corn snake. Every generation, you would pick the biggest corn snake of the hatch and breed only that. After several generations, all the corn snakes of each litter will be bigger.
That’s what breeders did with a sunglow. The only difference is that they bred albinos together until they got rid of the white speckling that appears. They also selected a bright background color.
This means that sunglows are like better-looking albinos. They have an orange background and dark orange saddle marks. They develop fewer or no white speckles as they age. Their color is bright and striking, and they have the same pink or red eyes as albinos.
They cost the same as regular albinos at $40 to $50.
Okeetees are another wild morph. They were only slightly different from regular corn snakes. But they have been selectively bred to highlight their differences to normals.
Okeetees were first found in Jasper County, South Carolina. They are named after the Okeetee Hunt Club, the members of which first found these snakes.
They are the same color as normal corn snakes, but brighter. There is more contrast between their ground colors and saddles. They are bright orange with deep red saddles, almost maroon. The border around the saddles is black and thick.
Because these snakes are still rare in the trade, they cost between $60-$100. Extreme Okeetees, which have been bred to highlight their colors and pattern, can cost more money.
4) Anerythristic (Anery)
Anerythristic snakes are similar in type to albinos, but not in appearance. What that means is that they lack a pigment too. But the pigment anerys lack is erythrin.
Erythrin is the pigment that gives a snake red coloration. As red is the main color of a corn snake, this leaves the anery with almost no color at all.
They still have melanin in their skin which gives them a gray appearance overall. Their background color is a light gray, and their saddles are a slightly darker gray. There are two kinds of anery which are slightly different:
- Type A anery. These are light in color with a stark contrast in their pattern. Their markings may have a slight brown tint. They become more yellow as they age.
- Type B anery. Type B anerys are darker gray with less contrast. They have no brown hint, and don’t yellow as they age. They are also known as charcoal corn snakes.
This morph has been on the market for a long time. That’s why they’re inexpensive, at only $50 to $60.
These snakes are the first compound morph/designer morph in our list. A designer morph is one that was bred from two existing morphs. It can’t be found in the wild, and can only be created by breeders.
Lavender corn snakes are a silver-gray color with a peach or pink tint. Their saddles are purple-gray and outlined in gray or brown.
These snakes start life darker and fade into lighter colors as they age. As they get older, their pink and lavender start to come through.
While they’re beautiful, lavender corn snakes have been available for many years. So, you can buy one for between $40 and $80.
Caramel corns are another pretty morph. They have less red, but more yellow in their scales. This results in a tan or gray background color. This snake’s saddles range from bright yellow to a medium brown.
Juveniles are slightly different. They’re redder, but this fades as they age. The caramel corn snake is a favorite of breeders, too. It’s used to create many designer morphs, and is bred with other morphs including hypomelanistics (hypos), butters, and more.
You can buy them for between $30 and $70.
7) Blood Red
The blood-red corn snake (or bloodred corn snake as some breeders prefer) is a bright, deep red color. These snakes were selectively bred from wild-type corns, which were selected for their red markings.
Over time, this breeding made the markings deeper and brighter. Also selected for was the size of the markings, until they covered the whole body. So, this snake doesn’t have a pattern like normal corn snakes do.
Hatchlings start out life looking entirely normal. But over time, the redness of their markings deepens and their background color fades. These snakes cost between $70-100.
Blizzard corn snakes are entirely white. People think albinos are white, when they’re pink and orange. Blizzard corn snakes are a true snow-white color from nose to tail.
Better still, they have no pattern. So, their whole body is entirely white. They are a designer morph bred from an albino and a type B anery (charcoal corn snake). The albino lacks melanin, while the anery lacks erythrin. This means that the blizzard has no pigmentation at all.
The only standout feature is the snake’s pink eyes and red pupils. These it inherits from its albino parent.
Juveniles are the most beautiful. They are pure white. As the snake ages, it can develop yellow patches around its throat and belly. These are from carotenoids in its food, which build up over time. As these snakes are becoming more common, they cost between $70 and $100.
Palmetto corn snakes are as white as a blizzard corn snake. But unlike the blizzard, they have a pretty pattern. They are dotted from nose to tail with small flecks of different colors.
Surprisingly, the first palmetto was wild-caught. It looks so special that people assume it’s a designer morph, but it’s not. A male was first caught at the end of the 2009 breeding season and shipped to South Mountain Reptiles.
This first palmetto was bred with an amel (amelanistic, i.e. albino). It was soon discovered that the palmetto is a variant of the leucistic gene. The morph is named because it was caught in South Carolina, which is the ‘Palmetto State’.
Some breeders don’t think that the palmetto is a true corn snake. They believe it may be the result of interbreeding with another rat snake. As of yet, DNA testing hasn’t been done to see whether that’s the case.
The color of the palmetto’s flecks depends on the morph it’s bred with. A palmetto with normal genes has red, brown and orange spots. But a butter palmetto has flecks of yellow. Because they’re unique and were only recently bred, these snakes cost between $600 and $1500.
The stripe corn snake morph affects the pattern, not color. This morph has thin stripes that run from the head to the tail. It doesn’t have any saddles at all.
Because this morph only affects the pattern, it can be bred to snakes of any color. So, a wild-type corn snake with the stripe morph has an orange ground color with red stripes. The color of the saddles is what becomes the color of the stripes in these snakes.
These snakes aren’t that common, but aren’t as sought after as other morphs either. This means they only cost between $40 and $60.
The scaleless morph is perhaps the most interesting. It’s definitely popular. It lacks scales on its back, apart from one over each eye. Its skin, which is normally underneath the scales, is exposed. Its belly still has some scales, though.
Scaleless snakes caused disagreements when they were first kept as pets. Some owners disagreed with breeding them, thinking that it’s cruel, or that they couldn’t survive in the wild.
But these aren’t a designer morph or selectively bred. The first scaleless snakes of other species were captured in the wild in 1942. This was followed by scaleless snakes of other species in the following decades.
The scaleless corn snake, though, was selectively bred. It is the result of breeding another scaleless species of rat snake to a corn snake. This created something like a jungle corn, the result of two species interbreeding.
This interesting history is enough to make scaleless corn snakes interesting on its own. But these snakes can have any color and pattern. It’s the skin that contains these pigments, not the scales, so in all other ways, they’re normal.
This means there are lots of scaleless designer morphs. Depending on what kind you want, you can pay upwards of $200 for one.
Opale corn snakes are another light-colored snake. They’re a designer morph bred from lavender and amelanistic genes. These two morphs are recessive, which makes the opal a double recessive corn snake. This morph is one of the older ones. It has existed since at least the late 1990s.
These look like blizzards when they’re mature, and have pink or purple highlights. They’re best described as being like a pale albino with a faded pattern. They’re most colorful as juveniles, but can lose some of this color as they age into adults.
Their color starts off as bright pastel shades of orange, pink and lavender. This is mostly in the ground color. Blotches are lighter, even white.
As they age, the pattern is difficult to spot. It’s there, but it has little contrast. This allows the beauty of this morph’s colors to shine through.
These snakes sell for $70-$80. But they can also be found as designer morphs, e.g. opale tesseras, which cost considerably more money.
The hypomelanistic corn snake, better known as a hypo, is a common morph. It’s best described as a light-colored version of the regular corn snake. Its color and pattern are roughly the same, but some of the black pigment is taken away.
Because these snakes are so similar to wild-types, some people have trouble telling them apart. But once you’re familiar with them, it’s easy.
What makes hypos great is that they’re commonly used to create designed morphs. They can be bred with lots of other morphs to create slightly different color combinations to normals. These snakes are commonly found, so they are about $50 to buy.
Piebald, or pied corn snakes are another pattern morph. But in a way, they’re a color morph too. Pied corn snakes are wild-caught originally. But they have been selectively bred to emphasize their qualities.
Pied corn snakes have been around since the 1970s at least. However, these first snakes weren’t successful because the piebald mutation was fatal when bred. Better genetic examples were found later on, and are the origin of today’s pied corn snakes.
These snakes have large white sections interspersed with islands of color. The white of these snakes is a true white, not like albino ‘white’. It can appear anywhere along the body. These aren’t as common as the pied versions of other snake species.
Between the white sections are the snake’s normal colors. On a pied wild-type snake, these colors would be regular orange, brown and red. But you can breed pied snakes with any other morph to create lots of colors.
There are also different forms of piebaldism. One is as described above, but you can also find pied-sided snakes. These have white patches on their sides and bellies, and orange-red backs. These have become more popular in recent years. You can buy them for $150+.
The jungle corn is a highly variable result of breeding a corn snake and a California kingsnake. These can be bred safely, and sometimes even breed in the wild.
You can breed these snakes together because they’re not distantly related. They are both colubrids, but are from different genera. Normally, two animals from different genera can’t have fertile offspring. But these snakes can.
That’s because the colubrid family is diverse. It has been described by biologists as like a big bin—where all snakes which can’t be classified elsewhere are dumped in. So, it’s likely that these snakes are closer related than scientists realize.
These snakes have extreme pattern variations. That’s because they take some pattern genes from the corn snake side, and some from the kingsnake side. Some have large saddles with tiny stripes between. Others have saddles the same size as the stripes.
The color of these snakes is variable too. Some have deep brown saddles with a traffic-light-red blush. Others have orange saddles with a tan blush. The ground color is usually tan. These snakes aren’t the most common, so they are between $50 and $100.
You can also find ‘tri-color’ jungle corns. These are the result of breeding a Querétaro kingsnake with a corn snake. They look like albinos.
The turbo corn is another crossbreed. The gopher corn is the offspring of a gopher snake and a corn snake. But some breeders think that any snake of the Pituophis genus (including gopher snakes, pine snakes, and bull snakes) will do.
The color and patternation of hybrids all vary based on their parent species, so each snake is completely unique. Here are some of their features:
- Heavy-bodied. Gopher snakes are thicker and heavier than corn snakes, and this is passed on to gopher corns.
- Long. They grow quickly, getting big for their age compared to normal corn snakes. They end up much bigger.
- Thicker tails. These they inherit from the gopher side, too.
You don’t see many of these snakes around anymore, so the price is higher than normal. You can buy them for about $100.
The tessera morph is another pattern morph. It’s an interesting mix that has an attractive dorsal stripe. The center of this stripe is the light background color, bordered with thick black lines. On the outside of this stripe are a pair of even thicker brick red lines.
But that’s not all that this morph has. Its sides are interesting too. Its sides have a slightly irregular pattern to them. The pattern is composed of normal saddles, which are broken up and vary in size and shape.
Some people think that the tessera is a hybrid morph, i.e. the result of interbreeding. That’s because several species like garter snakes and kingsnakes have the same tessera pattern. However, most breeders think it’s a pure corn snake.
Tesseras are another snake that originates from South Mountain Reptiles. They were first bred by Don Soderberg in 2008. They have since been bred by other breeders too, and so have gone down in price.
Because this is a pattern morph, tessera snakes can be any color. Normal tesseras are the color of normal corn snakes, but you can find them in any color from albino to butter. The first designer morphs were made by Richard Hume of Unique Serpents in 2011.
The more common types can be bought for as little as $100, but the rarer varieties fetch upwards of $1000.
A butter corn snake is another designer morph. It’s the result of breeding a caramel corn snake with an albino.
These snakes are a sunny yellow color. Their ground color is a light yellow, while their saddles are a deeper yellow. There is difference enough in the yellows that the pattern is easily visible. But because it’s yellow all over, it’s nice-looking.
These snakes are fairly common, so they aren’t expensive. You can pick one up for $50.
The orchid corn snake has a recessive gene which looks a little like an albino in juveniles. They are creamy pink with light yellow or orange stripes between their saddles. But their colors change as they grow older into something different.
This morph is the result of breeding a lavender and a sunkissed together. That’s why the orchid has the same light purple, blue and pink hues as the lavender. Both of these morphs are recessive.
Something interesting about this morph is that one end can look like lavender, and the other like a sunkissed. So, the head end might have a light orange color saddles with a light lavender background. But towards the tail end and middle, this orange disappears.
At the tip of the tail, the saddles are a slightly darker lavender. This gives the snake a unique two-tone look. In other snakes, the light orange background with lavender saddles and sides extends all along the body.
Because of this and their rarity, these snakes are expensive. You can buy one for $300.
20) Amel Orchid
The amel orchid corn snake has three traits. It has the traits of the lavender and sunkissed morphs, as the orchid corn snake parents do. But this orchid is then bred with an amel (albino). Each of these traits is recessive, so they can coexist.
Its ground color is candy pink, but its saddles are only slightly darker. This gives it a bright pink overall appearance. Its eyes are pink-red too, like all snakes that have amelanistic genes. You should expect to pay about $150.
The ‘ghost’ morph is another designer morph. This one is created by breeding an anerythristic (Type A) snake and a hypomelanistic snake together. Their colors include a mid-gray to white ground color with brown saddles.
These snakes have a high level of blush in their saddles. The center of the blush is the same mid-gray as their ground color. As is often the case, the saddles are lightly outlined in a darker color (between black and brown) which makes them stand out.
These snakes look a lot like their anerythristic parents. They can be difficult to tell apart, almost impossible with some specimens. The best way to tell the difference is to look at the borders of their saddles.
An Anery Type A has deep black saddle borders that stand in stark contrast to their ground colors. A ghost has dark borders to its saddles too, but these are less distinct. They also range between black and mid-brown. These snakes are widely available, so you may find one for between $50-100.
A motley corn snake has a few unique features that make them stand out. It’s a pattern morph that can come in any color.
Unlike many other morphs, they have clear bellies. Their sides are cleaner than the wild type, and don’t feature secondary patterns between their saddle markings. Their colors are the same as usual.
Hatchlings are vibrant in color, but these snakes get duller as they get older. Their hatchling colors are a mid-gray to brown ground color, with deep brick red saddles with slight blush running along their backs. The color between the saddles is tan even if the snake’s sides are gray.
As they get older, these snakes become a mid-orange color all over. Their saddles are only slightly darker than the rest of their backs.
Interestingly, this morph is allelic with the stripe morph. That means the gene mutation is in the same place as the one which causes the stripe morph. The motley gene is dominant, which means that if a snake has both the stripe and motley genes, it’s the motley one that will shape its appearance. They cost from $65, but the rarer ones can fetch hundreds of dollars.
23) Anery Stripe
An anery stripe is a designer morph created by breeding an anerythristic snake with a stripe snake. The result is one of the highest-contrast corn snake morphs.
These snakes have the usual anery color combination. They have a light gray ground color with darker gray, even black pattern. This alone makes it a striking snake to look at.
But it’s the stripe morph’s pattern that makes this snake even more high-contrast and interesting to look at. Rather than saddles or spots, this snake has a stripe or stripes running along its back. These run from its nose to its tail.
In some of these snakes, the stripes are muddy and indistinct. But in the best specimens, its stripes are straight, deep black and clearly defined. The clearer the pattern, the more this snake will sell for. But these snakes are difficult to find, so you could pay between $50 and $100 for one.
24) Reverse Okeetee
A reverse Okeetee is a kind of albino corn snake. This alone makes them interesting. But they have a fascinating genetic history which makes them an interesting morph indeed.
They have a pale orange ground color with bright red saddles. Their saddles are surrounded by white rather than black, which is where they get the ‘reverse’ part of their name from. Like all amelanistic snakes, they have pink to red eyes.
So, they have amelanistic genes. And from their morph name, you may think that they’re amelanistic snakes bred with Okeetees. They have the thick saddle bands and bright red saddles, like Okeetees do. But they don’t have Okeetee genes.
Instead, they’re selectively bred amelanistic snakes. They were bred to select for brighter red saddles and thicker bands around them. So, while they look like an amelanistic snake bred with an Okeetee, they’re not. These snakes are less easy to find, so they sell for between $85 and $100.
25) Orange Creamsicle
These snakes are another example of crossbred snake morphs. Orange creamsicles are the result of breeding a regular corn snake with a Great Plains rat snake (Pantherophis Emoryi).
Orange creamsicles have soft orange saddle markings, and a yellow or light orange ground color. This makes them similar to amelanistic corn snakes, and this should give you a clue as to how they’re bred. This morph is what you get when you breed an albino corn snake with an albino Great Plains rat snake.
It is also possible to breed two wild-type versions of these snakes together. This combination is called a rootbeer corn snake.
You can breed them together because corn snakes and Great Plains rat snakes two species within the same genus (Pantherophis). That means they’re closely related. Often, two animals of different species can’t breed together. But these species can.
These corn snakes aren’t common, but aren’t too uncommon a morph either. You can find a specimen for around $80.
The Miami corn snake is another locality morph. This means it’s a unique variant of the species from a particular place, like the Okeetee. As you can guess, it’s from the area around Miami.
A Miami corn snake has a silver or grey ground color, with saddles that range from orange to dark red. These occur naturally, although some specimens have been selectively bred to emphasize this snake’s unique qualities (e.g. greyer ground color, brighter saddles).
What makes this snake interesting is that some people think it’s a morph, and some people don’t. There’s disagreement in the corn snake community as to whether its traits can be inherited or not. Some people think they can be, others say they can’t.
These snakes aren’t common because breeders aren’t that interested in them. But because they don’t have crazy colors, they’re still not that expensive. You can find them for sale for $50.
27) Strawberry Snow
This is a designer morph made by breeding a strawberry with a snow. As snows are white, and strawberries are red, the result is a pink snake.
Its background color is a soft pastel pink bordering on white with a hint of color to it. Its saddles are a muted bubblegum pink. Because of this low level of contrast, from a distance, they look pure pink with mottled spots.
And because these snakes have amelanistic genes, their eyes are pink too. This gives the snake one overall color, which is rare with any color morph.
Like others on our list, these snakes are uncommon, so you might only find them with other morphs bred into them (e.g. a pattern morph like tessera). You could pay anywhere north of $100 if there are lots of extra morphs added into its genes.
Corn Snake Morph Price List
|Albino||Cream or light orange background color with orange-red saddles and pink or red eyes.||$40 – $50|
|Sunglow||A selectively bred amelanistic (albino) snake with no speckling and brighter ground color.||$40 – $50|
|Okeetee||A locality morph, i.e. a morph from a particular place. Brighter colors and thicker borders around the saddles.||$60 – $100|
|Anery||Anerythristic corn snakes are two-tone gray.||$50 – $60|
|Lavender||Silvery-grey with a peach or pink tint. Purple-gray saddles with a gray or brown outline.||$40 – $80|
|Caramel||Less red and more yellow than normal. Tan or gray background color with bright yellow to medium-brown saddles.||$30 – $70|
|Blood Red||Bright, deep red. Selectively bred from wild-type corns.||$70 – $100|
|Blizzard||Entirely white from nose to tail. Pink or red eyes, which come from the snake’s albino genes.||$70 – $100|
|Palmetto||Pure white with colorful specks throughout.||$600 – $1500|
|Stripe||A pattern morph that has stripes from nose to tail instead of saddles.||$40 – $60|
|Scaleless||It can be any color or pattern, but doesn’t have scales. The color and pattern are in the skin, not the scales, of a corn snake.||$200+|
|Opale||Look like blizzards but with pink or purple highlights.||$70 – $80|
|Pied||A pattern morph. It has regular color and pattern, but interrupted by large pure white areas.||$50+|
|Jungle||The offspring of a corn snake bred with a California kingsnake. Large-bodied with an irregular pattern.||$50 – $100|
|Turbo||The offspring of a corn snake bred with a gopher snake. Heavy-bodied with an irregular pattern.||$100+|
|Tessera||The pattern is broken up like static.||$100 – $1000|
|Butter||More yellowish and light orange than a normal corn snake.||$50+|
|Orchid||Light purple, blue and pink like a lavender. May also have a ‘sunkissed’ section to its body: its front end one morph, its back end the other.||$300+|
|Amel||Like an orchid corn snake, but amelanistic. Candy pink with slightly darker saddles.||$100 – $150|
|Ghost||Mid-grey to white ground color with brown saddles and a high level of ground color blush.||$50 – $100|
|Motley||Clear bellies and clear sides, with normal colors.||$65 – $300|
|Anery Stripe||Mid-grey ground color with stripes from head to tail. High contrast.||$50 – $100|
|Reverse Okeetee||A kind of amelanistic corn snake. Brighter colors and thicker saddles. No true Okeetee genes: this morph was selectively bred from albino stock.||$85 – $100|
|Orange Creamsicle||An orange corn snake crossbred from a corn snake and a Great Plains rat snake.||$80+|
|Reverse Okeetee||A kind of amelanistic corn snake. Brighter colors and thicker saddles. No true Okeetee genes: this morph was selectively bred from albino stock.||$85 – $100|
|Orange creamsicle||An orange corn snake crossbred from a corn snake and a Great Plains rat snake.||$80+|
|Miami||A locality morph from around Miami. Silver or gray ground color with orange-dark red saddles. May be an inheritable morph (some breeders think it isn’t).||$50+|
|Strawberry||A pattern morph with clear bellies and clear sides. Blurs the saddle borders with the ground color. A bright pastel pink snake with albino genes.||$100+|
Aside from this list, how many corn snake morphs are there? There are hundreds, each of which has a unique color or pattern.
Whether you spend $20 on a “normal” colored snake or $1000 on a designer morph, you’ll still end up with a beautiful pet snake. Here’s our complete guide to corn snake care.