American climbing snakes

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American climbing snakes
Corn snake (Pantherophis guttatis)

Corn snake ( Pantherophis guttatis )

without rank: Toxicofera
Subordination : Snakes (serpentes)
Superfamily : Adder-like and viper-like (Colubroidea)
Family : Adders (Colubridae)
Subfamily : True snakes (Colubrinae)
Genre : American climbing snakes
Scientific name
Fitzinger , 1843

The American climbing snakes ( Pantherophis ) (from Greek panthera = leopard and ophis = snake) are a genus of non-poisonous, North American snakes from the family of the adder (Colubridae).

Description and behavior

The species of the genus Pantherophis are characterized by a slender body with only a slightly detached head. They reach body lengths between 100 cm and 250 cm. Many species are pronounced cultural followers and are therefore often found in the vicinity of human settlements, in addition, some species are very active climbers and can sometimes also be found in trees, which gave the genus its common German name. All species of the genus reproduce oviparously and do not practice brood care.

distribution and habitat

The distribution area of ​​the genus extends over large parts of the USA and Mexico . The habitats inhabited by the different species range from wet deciduous and coniferous forests over the prairie to rocky heights at over 2500 m above sea level.


In 2002, the previously valid genus of climbing snakes ( Elaphe ) was split into several genera after detailed scientific research. The genus Pantherophis , already described in 1843, was reintroduced for this purpose. This change is widely accepted.

In 2008 there was another change in the classifications by Collins & Taggart. The peanuts were placed in the genus Scotophis and the fox snakes in the new genus Mintonius . The genus Pantherophis would only consist of the three corn snake species Pantherophis guttatus , Pantherophis emoryi and Pantherophis slowinksii . This change is controversial, however, as it would obscure the relationship to the earth snakes and the fox snakes. Pyron et al. do not adopt this classification. Accordingly, the species of peanuts and chestnuts continue to be assigned to the genus Pantherophis :

Group of corn snakes

Group of peanuts

Group of Fox Snakes

The closest related genus of Pantherophis is Pituophis .

Individual evidence

  1. Urs Utiger, Notker Helfenberger, Beat Schätti, Catherine Schmidt, Markus Ruf, Vincent Ziswiler: Molecular systematics and phylogeny of old and new world ratsnakes, Elaphe auct., And related genera . In: Russian Journal of Herpetology . tape 9 , 2002, p. 105-124 .
  2. a b Pantherophis in The Reptile Database
  3. Philipp Berg: Changes to the taxonomy of climbing snakes (Elaphe)
  4. Joseph T. Collins, Travis W. Taggart: An alternative classification of the New World rat snakes (genus Pantherophis [Reptilia: Squamata: Colubridae]) . In: Journal of Kansas Herpetology . tape 26 , 2008, p. 16-18 .
  5. ^ A b R. Alexander Pyron, Frank T. Burbrink: Neogene diversification and taxonomic stability in the snake tribe Lampropeltini (Serpentes: Colubridae) . In: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution . tape 52 , 2009, p. 524-529 .
  6. Sabrina Schwarzgruber: An overview of the current taxonomic status within the genus Pantherophis  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Toter Link /   2012.

Web links

Commons : American climbing snakes ( Pantherophis )  - Collection of images, videos, and audio files