What is an Okeetee Corn Snake?
Questions About Snakes

What is an Okeetee Corn Snake?

Okeetee corn snakes are easy to handle, relatively friendly, and have attractive colors. Okeetees are base morphs, which means that they are found in the wild. They are used to create designer morphs (the result of two base morphs being bred together to create something new.)

What is an Okeetee corn snake? The okeetee is a corn snake morph. Their background color is bright orange, and their saddle markings are bright red. The black outline of their saddle markings is thicker.

Okeetees are difficult to find for sale. That’s because they’re a locality morph, i.e., a morph that’s based on snakes from one area. Read on to find out what makes them so unique and distinctive.

Okeetee vs. Normal Corn Snake

Here are the differences between Okeetees and normal corn snakes:

Color: More vibrant reds and oranges than normal corn snakes.
Pattern: Thicker black banding than normal corn snakes.
Size and Weight: Grow to the same size and weight as normals.
Care: Require the same care as typical corn snakes.
Age: Reach the same age as normals.

The reason Oketees are so similar to normal corn snakes is that they’re a morph. Morphs are versions of a species that look different in some way. Find out about the dozens of different corn snake morphs in this in-depth guide.

Most morphs have different colors, but some have a different pattern. Others are unique in that they’re smaller (dwarf) or have no scales. The variation in morphs is what drives the market.

okeetee corn snake morphs

Are Okeetees a Locality Morph?

They are also considered ‘locality’ morphs. This means that they are a morph that is specific to one place. They are still the same species as the normal, but have changed color or pattern. This is the result of natural selection, where a snake of a particular color fits in its surroundings better.

The majority of snakes sold as ‘Okeetee corn snakes’ descend from snakes from the same area. However, not all do. Some have been selectively bred from normal corn snakes.

This means that Okeetees can be variable in appearance. Some have very wide bands and very vivid colors. It’s easy to tell these apart from normals. Others are only slightly different.

Okeetee Corn Snake Facts

Biologically, 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.

The real difference is in terms of color and pattern. Deep red dorsal saddle marks characterize this morph. While a regular corn snake’s saddle marks are red too, an Okeetee’s are even redder. They are comparable to the red of a stop sign.

Their background color is different too. It’s bright orange. Again, the background color on a regular corn snake is duller. Okeetees have vibrant colors that stand out when they’re compared to a normal.

Besides that, they have a slightly different pattern too. 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 completely.

All corns are constrictor snakes. This means that they squeeze their prey to death rather than use venom. They use powerful core muscles to squeeze around the prey, cutting off their circulation and killing them quickly.

Where Do Okeetee Corn Snakes Come From?

All corn snakes are from the southeast United States. They are most common in Florida, which they inhabit all of. But you can also find them on the coast of each state from New Jersey south. You can also find them as far west as southern Utah.

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 grassland, too. The snakes around this area often have the unique Okeetee markings.

You will find them usually in overgrown grass or forest clearings. They also inhabit abandoned buildings. There are lots of abandoned shacks in the Okeetee Hunt Club grounds. If they aren’t found there, they’ll be found hiding among tree roots.

Size, Weight, Length, and Age

Okeetee corn snakes range in size from between two to five feet. Females tip the shorter end of the scale, while males are at the longer end. This is the opposite way round to most other snake species.

In terms of weight, Okeetees are the same as regular corn snakes. They will reach between 500 and 750g at five feet long. This is quite light for a pet snake, e.g., compared to ball pythons. 

You might have read somewhere that corn snakes have a life expectancy of around eight years. In the wild, that’s true. But, in captivity, they can live much longer. The average is between 15 and 20 years. According to a paper in the journal Age, their lifespan can reach 30 years.

That’s for several reasons. There are no predators that can attack them in captivity. You can also optimize their care with proper feeding, enclosures, temperature, and humidity. Don’t buy a corn snake unless you can take care of it for that long.

Okeetee Corn Snake Price

Okeetee corn snakes don’t cost much. They cost roughly double what a normal corn snake costs. You might, therefore, find them for $40 to $50.

The issue is that they aren’t common. Genuine Okeetee corn snakes come from the line caught by the Okeetee Hunting Club. These are difficult to find for sale online.

Take one of the biggest online stores, MorphMarket. They usually have hundreds of corn snakes for sale. They stock lots of albinos, lots of anerys, lots of hypos and a range of other less well-known morphs. However, they will only stock one or two Okeetees.

Your chances of finding and buying one are limited. You may have to contact breeders individually, or head to shows to see if any are for sale. Because they’re not popular, don’t be surprised if the breeder quotes you a high price.

okeetee corn snake genetics

Okeetee Corn Snake Morphs

Because Okeetees have an interesting color and pattern, they can make beautiful designer morphs. Here’s a table with some of the best looking potential morphs:

Name Description
Kathy Love Okeetee Corn Snake: These are the original Okeetees.
Abbotts Okeetee Corn Snake: These are a particular line of Okeetees, selectively bred to improve their pattern.
Extreme Okeetee Corn Snake: The black banding in their pattern is so wide, that their saddles are entirely black.
Okeetee Tessera Corn Snake: Their pattern is broken up and appears pixellated. They have a dorsal stripe.
Reverse Okeetee Corn Snake: 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 Corn Snakes: Red saddles with a tan background. Black or dark buckskins also have dark, even black saddles.

None of these morphs are as common as other morphs. Take regular albino corn snakes, for example. There are dozens for sale in online markets. You can even find them in pet shops.

But most of these morphs are only available from a few breeders. That’s because the Okeetee is already less common than the regular corn snake. It stands to reason that Okeetee morphs are uncommon.

Kathy Love Okeetee

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

In all ways, this snake is an example of the Okeetees described above. 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 (i.e., their color).

They have been selectively bred by breeders, who 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, 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 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.

what is a 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. 

How to Breed Okeetee Corn Snakes

Breeding corn snakes can be difficult. That’s because it can be difficult to tell what the offspring will be. To understand, 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 one that ‘wins.’

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. Here’s further information on corn snake breeding.

Okeetee Corn Snake Care

An adult Okeetee corn snake should have a twenty-gallon tank. Wood, glass, and plastic are all suitable. Here’s a guide to the best corn snake tank setups.

Because they live wild in the U.S., they do not have excessive or special temperature and humidity requirements. The cool side of their tank should be 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. They should have a basking spot of 88-92 degrees. Humidity should be between 40 and 50%.

You should also look out for signs of sickness. There are many conditions that a corn snake can experience. These include:

  • Mouth rot. Usually, a tooth falls out, and the wound becomes infected.
  • Scale rot. This is where they have a wound on their body (usually the belly) gets infected.
  • Respiratory infection. This is like the flu. It makes it difficult for the snake to breathe.

Here’s more information on health problems in snakes.

What to Feed an Okeetee Corn Snake

Like all corn snake morphs, Okeetee corn snakes should eat a diet of rodents. Ideally, these rodents should be pre-killed, but they can also eat live prey. Feeding pre-killed prevents potential harm from coming to your snake. Other guidelines include:

  • Feed an adult once every ten days. Feed a juvenile once every five days.
  • Feed a portion that leaves a reasonable lump in the snake’s middle.
  • Only feed frozen and thawed prey. Food that has never been thawed can contain parasites.

For more information, read our full corn snake care guide.