Corn snakes are popular pets due to their gentle nature, ease of care, and attractive appearance. However, owning a pet corn snake comes with responsibilities, and it’s essential to provide them with proper care to keep them healthy and happy. In this corn snake care guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to raise a healthy pet.
Table of Contents
The scientific name for corn snake is Pantherophis guttatus, but most shops and people just refer to them as corn snakes. This species is one of the most beginner friendly pet snakes, but they still need proper care.
Although they are native to the eastern US, they can be found throughout the entire east coast all the way down to Florida due to the more temperate climate. They can also be found in most any pet shop that sells snakes because they are one of the most popular options for novice snake owners.
Habitat and Housing
Corn snakes are active, non-climbing snakes that require a large and secure enclosure. A 20-gallon tank is suitable for young corn snakes, while adult corn snakes need a minimum of a 40-gallon tank. The enclosure should have a secure lid to prevent escape and adequate ventilation.
A heat source is essential for corn snakes s like other snakes they are cold blooded. The enclosure should have a basking area with a heat lamp that provides a temperature gradient from 75°F to 85°F on the cool side and 85°F to 90°F on the warm side.
A reptile heat mat can also be used to provide belly heat, but be careful as to not make any surface too hot.
The substrate, that is the material that lines the bottom of the enclosure, should be easy to clean and not pose any risk of impaction, such as aspen shavings, cypress mulch, or paper towels.
Diet and Feeding
Corn snakes are carnivores, and their diet consists of mice, rats, and other small rodents. A baby corn snake will need to eat pinkie mice every five to seven days, while adult corn snakes can eat a mouse every week or two. Prey should be appropriately sized and not larger than the snake’s thickest part of the body. And, choosing frozen over live will ensure your snake’s safety as live prey may fight back and cause injury.
Feeding your snake in a separate enclosure will help reduce the risk of regurgitation, as handling the snake immediately after feeding can cause stress and indigestion.
It’s worth noting that snakes can go for extended periods without eating, particularly during the winter months when they enter a state of brumation. However, it’s essential to monitor their weight regularly and seek veterinary advice if they go too long without eating.
Additionally, it’s crucial to provide clean water for your corn snake at all times. The water dish should be large enough for the snake to soak in and cleaned daily to prevent bacterial growth.
Handling and Interaction
Corn snakes are generally docile and easy to handle, making them great pets for beginners. However, it’s crucial to handle them gently and with care to prevent stress and injury. Supporting their body and not squeezing them is essential, and avoid handling them by the tail, which can cause injury.
It’s best to handle corn snakes when they are awake, and the room is quiet and peaceful. Avoid handling them right after they’ve eaten or when shedding.
And keep in mind, getting your new pet comfortable with handling as a juvenile will be much easier than when they are a full grown adult.
Health and Common Issues
Corn snakes are relatively healthy pets, but they can still develop health issues even if you try your best to give them a healthy upbringing. Signs of illness include:
- lack of appetite
- breathing difficulties
- abnormal behavior
If you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to take your pet to the vet as soon as possible.
Common health issues in corn snakes include:
- respiratory infections
- shedding problems
A proper diet, clean enclosure, and good husbandry practices can prevent many health issues, but if you notice any of the above considering contacting an exotic pet veterinarian.
Raising a healthy corn snake involves providing them with a suitable habitat, a balanced diet and proper care. By following this corn snake care guide, you’ll be able to ensure that your pet snake stays healthy, happy, and lives a long life.
Remember to handle your snake gently and only for short periods of time. Watch for signs of illness to catch any health issues early. And, always purchase your reptile pets from trusted shops and breeders. Avoid big chains and don’t try to make a wild snake your family pet.
With proper care, your corn snake will make a fantastic and rewarding pet for as many as ten to fifteen years.