okeetee corn snake morphs
Questions About Snakes

What Is An Okeetee Corn Snake?

Okeetees are base morphs that are found in the wild. They are used to create designer morphs, which are the result of two base morphs being bred together to create something new.

The Okeetee’s color is bright orange and their saddle markings are bright red. The black outline of their saddle markings is thicker.

Okeetee corn snakes are no different from regular corn snakes. Like other corn snake morphs, they are part of the same Elaphe guttata guttata species. The species also goes under the name, Pantherophis guttata guttata.

Okeetee Corn Snake Identification

Here’s how to identify okeetee corn snakes:

  • Deep red dorsal saddle marks: While a regular corn snake’s saddle marks are red, an Okeetee corn snake’s are even redder.
  • The background color is bright orange: Okeetees have vibrant colors that stand out when they’re compared to a normal.
  • Different pattern: Corn snakes have thin black bands around their saddle marks. But in Okeetees, these marks are much thicker. As you move up towards their heads, the bands are thick enough to eclipse their red markings entirely.
  • Length: Okeetee’s are between 2-5 feet long. Females tip the shorter end of the scale, while males are at the longer end. This is the other way round to most other snake species.
  • Weight: Okeetees will reach between 500 and 750g at 5-feet long.

In captivity, corn snakes live for an average of 15-20 years. According to the journal Age, the lifespan of a captive corn snake can reach 30 years. Wild specimens will be fortunate if they reach 8 years of age.

Okeetee Corn Snake Morphs

Kathy Love Okeetee:These are the original Okeetees.
Abbotts Okeetee:These are a particular line of Okeetees, selectively bred to improve their pattern.
Extreme Okeetee:The black banding in their pattern is so wide, that their saddles are entirely black.
Okeetee Tessera:Their pattern is broken up and appears pixellated. They have a dorsal stripe.
Reverse Okeetee:Like a regular Okeetee, but their black pattern is white-pink.
Okeetee Color Lines:These have been bred to have different background colors, e.g., yellow, red, and black.
Buckskin Okeetee:Red saddles with a tan background. Black or dark buckskins also have dark, even black saddles.

Kathy Love Okeetee

Kathy and Bill Love have been breeding corn snakes for decades. They were the first to capture, breed, and sell Okeetee corn snakes commercially.

It has more vibrant reds and oranges than other corns. Its black banding is also thick and distinctive.

Abbotts Okeetee

Abbotts Okeetee corn snakes are a line that was bred from the Kathy Love Okeetee. They were bred by Dr. Lee Abbott, another herpetologist well known on the professional breeding circuit.

The Abbotts Okeetee is a general improvement on the original line. Dr. Abbott selectively bred the original Okeetees to improve their pattern. He chose and bred snakes with a cleaner pattern. Eventually, this gave them a smoother and clearer saddle shape.

Extreme Okeetee

Extreme Okeetees have even wider black banding than regular Okeetees. In all other ways, they are the same as other Okeetees.

Breeders pick the offspring with the widest black banding. These snakes have reached the point where the branding completely eclipses the color underneath. This means their saddles are entirely black.

Okeetee Tessera

The tessera corn snake has a different pattern to a standard snake. They have a stripe running along their back and are of light tan color bordered by black. Also, the pattern along their sides is broken up and has a pixelated appearance.

The Okeetee Tessera has vivid red color interspersed by a tan-yellow pattern. Few have ever been bred, so you will be lucky to find any for sale.

What Is a Reverse Okeetee Corn Snake?

A reverse Okeetee corn snake is an albino. The Okeetee albino is like an albino, except with the Okeetee pattern. This is where the black bands are expanded around the snake’s dark pattern.

Albino/amelanistic corn snakes have a light orange or yellow background color. The color of their saddles is dark orange or red. This produces a high contrast, like in regular Okeetees.

But it’s not this that sets them apart. It’s the color of the borders around their saddles. Instead of being black, the borders are white. Like in regular Okeetees, these borders between their light and dark pattern are thicker than usual.

Reverse Okeetee corn snakes are selectively bred amelanistic snakes. Snakes sold under this name aren’t from the Okeetee area. They have been selectively bred from regular amelanistic corn snakes to produce offspring with larger pattern bands.

Reverse okeetee corn snake

Okeetee Color Lines

Dr. Ian Abbott has bred many different kinds of Okeetees. Aside from the cleaner version of the regular Okeetee, he has also bred Okeetees with different colors.

The first is the ‘Red Okeetee.’ Abbott has bred these to have a bright red background rather than the orange of a regular Okeetee. Their red saddles are even darker still.

He has also bred yellow Okeetees. These have a yellow background color, while their saddles remain the same. This produces a high contrast pattern. Like other morphs/lines, they are not commonly available.

Buckskin Okeetee

Most buckskin Okeetees have brick red saddles and tan background. They look roughly the same as a regular Okeetee, but without the vibrant orange.

Other buckskins are known as black buckskins, or dark buckskins. These have darker saddles than normal Okeetees. In some cases, they are intense red. In others, they look black.

These snakes may also have some spotting along their backs, unlike other Okeetees.

Where Do Okeetee Corn Snakes Come From?

A ‘locality morph’ is specific to one place. They are the same species as the normal, but have changed color/pattern. This is the result of natural selection, where the color of the snake fits into its surroundings better.

The Okeetee Hunt Club originally caught Okeetees. This club is located in Jasper County, South Carolina, where there are lots of corn snakes. The area is maintained well, flatwoods with lots of grasslands. The snakes around this area often have the unique ‘Okeetee’ markings.

You will find Okeetee’s in overgrown grass, forest clearings, and abandoned buildings. There are many abandoned shacks in the Okeetee Hunt Club grounds. If they aren’t found there, they’ll be found hiding in tree roots.

Okeetee Corn Snake Price

Okeetee corn snakes are more than double the price of a normal corn snake. You might find them available from $50.

However, rarer corns with the Okeetee genes are more expensive. For example, a scaleless Abbotts Okeetee corn snake costs around $650.

How to Breed Okeetee Corn Snakes

Breeding corn snakes can be difficult because you need to understand genetics. Each snake gets a copy of genes from its mother, and another from its father. But if an animal has one gene for blue eyes, and one for brown eyes, which gene ‘wins’?

There are three ways that a gene can act. It can be either dominant, co-dominant, or recessive. Dominant genes are the ones that are always expressed. If an animal has one dominant gene (brown eyes) and a recessive gene (blue eyes), then the dominant gene will be the ‘winner.’

Co-dominant genes are like a mix of dominant and recessive. They will appear alongside both dominant and recessive genes. This is analogous to skin color, where the two genes, like black and white, can mix and produce a new unique result.

Okeetees have two sets of the same dominant gene. To ensure that the offspring are Okeetees, it’s easiest to breed two Okeetees together. In all other ways, breeding Okeetees is the same as breeding other corn snakes.