What an Okeetee Corn Snake is

An Okeetee corn snake is a specific locality of corn snake. They’re known for their bright colors contrasted with thick, dark, black borders. They originate from the private lands of the Jasper County Okeetee Club in South Carolina. The Okeetee corn snake is both beautiful and docile.

Bill and Kathy Love

Bill and Kathy Love are well-known celebrities among corn snake enthusiasts. They’re generally considered pioneers who laid the foundation for corn snake morphs which are now common in the industry. There corn snake morphs are still easily found at reptile shows and online.

They obtained an exceptional pair of okeetees which they breed. From there, they picked only the snakes with the thickest borers naming the offspring okeettes. This easily distinguishes the difference between normal and okeette corn snakes. The Love’s sold off the offspring of the original okeette corn snake line.

Enter Doctor Lee Abbott

Doctor Lee Abbott, took the original okeetee line and crossed them with other normal corn snake lines which improved the shape of the saddle. He smoothed out the thick borders and made the saddles more uniform. Besides laying down the basic groundwork, he developed other colored okeetee lines such as red, yellow, and orange background okeetees.

Okeette corn snake video

Okeette corn snake morphs

Okeetees come in a growing number of morphs. These include the following.

  • An improved normal corn snake with high contrasting colors and dark borders that are a little thicker than a typical “wild type” corn snake. These are referred to as a type of okeetee.
  • A few okeetee lines with extra-wide bordered saddles which are the most attractive of the wild or near-wild type of corn snakes.
  • Color lines which include the improved high red saddles on an orange background.
  • Scaleless okeetee corn snakes (see below for more information)
  • The yellow okeetee with high contrast red saddles on a yellow background.
  • The red okeetee with a more reddish background and dark red saddles.
  • The Buckskin okeetee with brick-red saddles on a tan background.

Buckskin okeette corn snakes

Buckskin okeetees are sometimes called black or dark buckskin okeetees. They usually keep some of the dark red and black saddles found in the best of these snakes. The dark buckskin okeetees usually develop spotting and melanistic qualities as they age. While the best Buckskins won’t develop melanistic features the dark ones will. Many have worked to cut the haziness of the background within the clean, tan one.

Scaleless Okeette corn snakes

The new craze over the past few years are many kinds of scaleless colubrids. It shouldn’t be a surprise that okeetee corns snakes are included in this growing list of oddball morphs. They’re also crossed with the tessera line and sometimes even in reverse.

What is an okeetee corn snake
A sub-adult okeetee corn snake.

Okeetee corn snake care

Okeetee corn snake care is rather straightforward and they’re one of the easiest snakes to keep.

Okeeteee corn snake

Enclosure requirements

Hatching okeetee corn snakes are kept in small enclosures or shoe boxes. If you use a shoebox, make sure it’s with a lid which closes completely and the snake can’t escape. This goes for plastic tubs in snake racks too. If the plastic tub is thin and bends easily or if there’s enough room for the snake to squeeze through, it will surely escape. Corn snakes, along with milk and kingsnakes are great escape artists.

As the snake grows, it’ll need a larger enclosure. Since corn snakes don’t grow as large as their cousins the rat snakes, a smaller enclosure is suitable. Just don’t go too small. A twenty-gallon long is a minimum for one adult.

Bigger is better. Always make sure to have a bowl of water in the snake’s enclosure at all times.

House corn snakes separately

I suggest housing all corn snakes separately. This makes feeding them much easier and also helps to prevent illness.

Feeding

Never overfeed or power-feed your okeetee corn snake. An obese snake isn’t a healthy one. Feed hatchlings an appropriately sized pinkie mouse every four days. Boot them up to fuzzies as they grow. Once they become sub-adults or yearlings, they should take mouse hoppers. At this time reduce feeding to once a week. If the snake shows signs of obesity, feed it every ten days until it’s in a healthy weight range again.

Feed adults an appropriately sized mouse once a week. I suggest frozen/thawed over live. Live mice can injure your snake and that’s the last thing you want. Make sure the rodent is completely defrosted before offering it to your snake. Never defrost a rodent in the microwave oven. You can allow it time to defrost at air temperature or place it in warm water to speed up the process.

Heating and lighting

Lighting isn’t necessary for keeping your okeetee corn snake happy but if you want to make a nice looking enclosure it may brighten things up. Remember, corn snakes are generally nocturnal. Always make sure to keep a hide box in the enclosure. Choose a box large enough for the snake to easily fit in and out of. That includes the snake’s entire body length.

In some cases, you can get away without using a heating element depending on where the enclosure is. For example, in Florida, the ambient temperature is much warmer than in Wisconsin. Many snake keepers keep their snake’s enclosure hotter than it should be. Never use a heat stone. Only use heat tape and under-the-tank heat mats with a thermostat. Otherwise, burns might occur.

UVB lighting produces ultraviolet radiation. This is a very important tool for keeping sun-worshiping lizards. UVA is generally used for heating. Ceramic heating elements produce heat but no light. This is best used during the winter at night if you’re not trying to brumate your snake.

A snake usually uses a warm spot directly after eating. Most other times, snakes stay off it with gestation being the exception.

Handling

Handling a corn snake is easy. It’s also a good snake to use for people who are trying to get over their fear of snakes. First, allow 48 hours to pass after a feeding. Regurgitation results when you pick up a snake that ate recently. Secondly, allow your new snake a week to settle into its new enclosure before handling (or feeding) it.

When the snake is fully acclimated and feeding regularly I recommend gentle handling four to five days a week. Depending on the snake’s disposition determines how long handling session last. The average is between ten and forty-five minutes. Use both of your hands to gently support the snake’s body and let nature take its course.

Shedding

Okeetee corn snakes usually don’t have shedding issues and don’t require particularly high humidity levels. Many factors cause poor shedding which includes nutritional deficiencies, stress, and too low of humidity levels.

For an adult snake, a stuck shed is a simple fix. Simply soak the snake in a tub of water and gently peel away the stuck skin. Make sure to get the tip of the tail because if any dead skin remains it’ll cut off the blood flow resulting in the snake losing its tail.

The eye caps

Stuck eye caps are more tricky but it’s another easy fix. First, don’t pull on the eye caps, you might damage the snake’s eye. Instead, use all-natural mineral oil or organic coconut oil. Dab some on a q-tip and gently rub the snake’s eye with it. Do this once a day until the stuck eye cap comes off by itself. It should fall off in one to three treatments.

Shedding problems with hatchlings

I don’t suggest pulling the skin off hatchling snakes like I do adults. Instead, take a shoebox and fill it with wet paper towels. Put the snake in the box and close the lid. Then, I like to put half the box over a heating element to raise the humidity. This is sometimes called a humidity chamber. The snake will come out of its skin by itself in an hour or two if it’s healthy.

Substrate

A number of substrates work well for such snakes. Aspen bedding is very popular. I like to use paper towels in most situations. They’re easy to change and clean. They’re also absorbent and don’t have any smell like many other types of bedding do. There’s no dander when using paper towels. I especially suggest using paper towels for hatchlings to prevent other kinds of substrates from getting stuck in the snake’s throat while swallowing a meal. Keep in mind that hatchlings aren’t the brightest of bulbs.

Breeding

Breeding okeetee corn snakes are like most North American colubrids. While these snakes sometimes breed with a cooling period, I highly recommend putting them through brumation. It produces healthier egg follicles. This is to prevent egg-binding. Also, wait until your female okeetee corn snake is of good size and weight before you consider breeding her. She must be at least three years of age although I recommend four to be on the safe side.

Before cooling down your snakes for brumation, make sure they haven’t eaten anything for at least two weeks. Always have a bowl of water in the enclosure whichever way you choose to go about brumating your snakes.

Introducing a pair of okeetee corn snakes

After a four-month brumation period is complete, slowly raise temperatures and start feeding your okeetee corn snakes again. Allow time for the female to shed her skin before introducing the two together. This is when she’ll start producing the pheromones to induce breeding. If all goes well, they’ll breed.

Gestation and eggs

During the gestation period, the female may or may not continue to feed. As the egg-laying time approaches, the female will probably stop feeding altogether. Make sure to have a shoebox full of moist vermiculite in her enclosure when the time draws near (usually around 60 days). Only keep her water bowl in the enclosure for an hour or two a day to prevent her from laying eggs in the bowl. Check back often for eggs.

Once the eggs are laid gently pick them up marking the top with a felt tip magic marker and place them in another shoebox with moistened vermiculite. Incubate them at around 80°F steadily for a mixture of males and females.

Baby corn snake
Hatchling okeetee corn snake.

Caring for hatchlings

After the eggs hatch, allow them to shed and their yolk-sac to absorb before offering their first pinkie meal.

First, try offering a frozen/thawed pinkie. If the hatchling doesn’t take it, try a live pinkie and worry about switching it over to frozen/thawed after several feedings.

Once the snake is eating regularly, the switch from live to frozen/thawed is usually easy. If the hatchling refuses to take any pinkie, trying scenting the rodent with a lizard such as a gecko or an anole. That should do the trick.

Conclusion

The beauty of the okeetee corn snake is unquestionable. They’re my favorite line of corn snake. The okeetee corn snake also makes a great pet, especially for first-time snake keepers. Their prices are very reasonable, most regular okeetees go for under $100 while other rarer morphs are higher. You really can’t go wrong with these snakes.

What do you think about the okeetee corn snake? Do you have any valuable points to add to this article? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

What an Okeetee Corn Snake is

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