Black Devil's Garden Corn Snake Elaphe guttata guttata

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Below: An extemely dark anerythristic that exemplifies black Devil's Garden corn snake look

Black Devil's Garden corn snake Elaphe guttata guttata

The Devilís Garden is an area of southwest Florida known among local snake hunters for its naturally occuring anerythristic specimens, which are often called simply "black corns." Local residents sometimes mistakenly call them gray rat snakes. Anerythrism is a recessive trait that removes the red coloration typically seen in normal corn snakes. The Type A anerythristic trait is so prevalent in this area that most of the specimens that look normal are actually heterozygous for the trait. Most egg clutches from phenotypically normal adults still produce a percentage of black offspring.

Below: A gray adult at the lighter end of the spectrum

Black Devil's Garden corn snake Elaphe guttata guttata Anerythristic 

Because this project has not been refined by many generations of selective breeding, the results are still variable. We still get surprises. It is not always easy for us to judge the eventual coloration of our offspring. The best course of action if you are interested in putting together a breeding project from this line is to acquire a group of offspring to raise up and select the prettiest adults for breeding. Though we do not select for black offspring from our normal Devil's Garden adults, most of them are heterozygous for type A anerythrism, which is a natural occurrence in the wild in this locality. Our phenotypically normal offspring should be assumed to be possible hets for black.

Below: A beautiful adult with pattern aberrancies and yellow coloration on the head and neck

Black Devil's Garden corn snake Elaphe guttata guttata Anerthristic

Below: A typical hatchling black Devil's Garden corn from our colony

Black Devil's Garden corn snake Elaphe guttata guttata Anerythristic Juvenile

 

 

In the Wild

Below: Dry prairie and hammock in the Devil's Garden

Dry Prairie Flatwoods Devil's Garden Hendry County, Florida

Below: Cabbage palms dot a pasture in a typical scene from the Devil's Garden

Pasture in the Devil's Garden

The Devil's Garden is a sparsely populated area mostly in Hendry County, FL. This is a region of mixed habitats including flatwoods, cypress domes, and agriculture. Though much of the area has been impacted by man, it is still a wild area with  sightings of the elusive Florida panther regularly reported.

Below: A big, feisty corn snake found hiding under a carpet

Devil's Garden corn snake Elaphe guttata guttata

The standard methods of south Florida snake hunting apply here, with road cruising, flipping artificial cover, and shining trees at night all being effective in different situations. The corn snake is one of the most common large snake species. It shares its habitat with eastern indigo snakes, Everglades rat snakes, scarlet king snakes, and Florida king snakes.

Below: A corn snake crosses a gravel road in the evening.

Devil's Garden corn snake Elaphe guttata guttata crosses road

 

Below: Nick Mesa holds anerythristic and normal corn snakes found next to each other on the road

Nick Mesa Devil's Garden corn snakes Elaphe guttata guttata Black corn anerythristic

In addition to beautiful coloration, the corn snake population in this area is notable for the occurrence of anerythrism. This is a recessive trait that removes the red coloration seen in phenotypically normal corn snakes. Herpetologists with field experience in the area estimate anerythristic corn snakes to make up around 15-20 % of the overall population.

Below: An anerythristic corn snake

Anerythristic Black Devil's Garden corn snake Elaphe guttata guttata

 

 

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