Diego turned out to be a girl. Her underside is pictured above, and she is the corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus guttatus) from the Manatee Observation Center who accompanied Diane Morgan (Class of 2012) to the Audubon House grand opening on 4-25-2015.
The common name corn snake refers to the ‘candy corn’ appearance of her belly or to the regular presence of this rat-eating constrictor near grain stores. Another name for this nonpoisonous species is red rat snake, which is tells you about one of its preferred meals.
After successfully holding Diego, Karen passed this sweet-tempered snake reared in captivity all of her life to Bob Bruce, Pelican Island Audubon Society Vice-president, who earlier in the day had presented PIAS President Dr. Richard Baker with the PIAS lifetime achievement award given for the only the second time in the history of PIAS. Former County Commissioner Maggy Bowman was the only other recipient.
Excellent climbers, corn snakes have been spotted sunning themselves atop mangroves at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area. In the wild the life span of a corn snake is about 6 – 8 years. In captivity, a corn snake can live more than 20 years. Long live Ms. Diego!