Corn Snake Habitat Checklist

Corn snake is one of the most famous snakes that is kept as a pet. They are relatively inexpensive to buy; has a gentle disposition around people; has minimal maintenance requirements; is very attractive and easy to handle.

What is a corn snake?

Corn snakes come from the Colubrid family of snakes. A colubrid is typically long, slender and muscular. They come from all over the world with the exception of Alaska. They are also the most popular in the world and makeup over 75% of the approximate 3,000 species of snakes known to exist. They are also a type of rat snake, which are known for their supreme rodent hunting ability.  Corn snakes are only found in North America.

Where did the name come from?

Some hobbyists believe its name is associated with corncribs and farmyards due to the frequent encounters in such places. Others believe it’s because of the stunning coloration that is nostalgic to those found in Indian corn.

Corn snake demands very little in captivity and can survive under the supervision of even the most inexperienced hobbyists. Thus, the corn snake makes the perfect choice for young and novice hobbyist alike. Buying a Corn snake is an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, nor should it be done without proper planning.

Things Needed for a Corn Snake

Below is a list of things you will need to properly care for your pet corn snake.

Enclosure

Baby corn snakes can be housed in a shoebox for a few months until it outgrows it. Most adult Corn snakes will live comfortably in a 20-30 gallon tank. The important thing to remember is to make sure it comes with a locking screen top. Snakes are known escape artists! You can usually find locking clips at the local pet store to secure the top screen.        

Hiding

Hiding is what makes your Corn snake feel secure. It should be large enough to curl up under. The possibilities are endless: a hollow bark log (from a pet store), an empty cardboard box, and an overturned planting pot, a cardboard tube from an empty toilet paper or a paper towel roll.

Climbing Log

Corn snakes love to climb, so adding a climbing log to the aquarium is strongly recommended. You can find suitable ones from your local or online pet store. If you are going to provide one from outside, you risk the chance of exposing your reptile to fatal insects, such as mites. You will need to sterilize them by sticking them in the oven for 2-3hrs (120-150 degrees).

Substrate

Substrates are the materials used to cover the bottom of your snake cages. The purpose of the substrate is to absorb the snake’s “mess”. It also gives them something to crawl around on. D  Here are several choices to consider: Newspaper, Aspen bedding, Astroturf (indoor/outdoor) carpet, Cypress mulch, and Coco bedding. I personally use Aspen bedding for my corn snake. It provides another “hide” and is easy to clean up. Do not use Pine & Cedar shavings.

Food

Most owners will feed Corn snakes frozen thawed mice. These can be purchased at most pet stores or ordered in bulk from online pet stores. Baby Corns will begin consuming “pinky” mice and will move to bigger mice as they get bigger. The mice stages (in terms of feeding size) are pinkies, fuzzies, hoppers and adults. I recommend sticking to frozen-thawed mice. For several reasons: If they become accustomed to “live” mice, they may not eat frozen-thawed ones again. This would be troublesome if the live mice were to become unavailable. (This has happened to me). 

I also do not recommend feeding live adult mice or rats to snakes because they can attack the snake and cause bodily harm and infection. Make sure to completely thaw any frozen prey by placing the mice in a plastic bag and placing in warm water until thawed. NEVER use a microwave or stove to thaw frozen prey.   It is a good idea to start a “Feeding Chart” to document when feeding last occurred as well as when they shed, eliminate and if they regurgitate. This is an important tool in establishing the health of your snake.

Water Dish

Corn snakes require a water dish (large enough to fit entirely inside). Snakes are known to “bath” to help the shedding process or might defecate in it! Just make sure the water dish is full and clean at all times.

Thermometer

All reptiles are Poikilothermic or “cold blooded”, which basically means that they are not able to regulate their own body temperature. This makes maintaining proper heating levels in their housing vital to the health of your snake. Corn snakes rely on “thermoregulation” which is the process of regulating body temperature. When it becomes too hot, it will move to a cooler place and vice-versa.  An ideal temperature for your Corn snake will be between 70-85 degrees F. Keep the (warm) side of the tank 80-85 degrees and the (cool) side of the tank no lower than 70 degrees. 

To regulate proper tempreture you will need a thermometer. We recommend Thermometer.

Heat Source

There are several options for providing heat but the best options are an over head incandescent lighting or under tank heating pads. The over head light is usually inside of a metal reflector with a heating bulb inside and can be clipped on one side of the tank. The under tank heaters are plastic with an adhesive side that is attached to one side of the bottom of the outside. Check to make sure your tank is compatible with this type of heater. Heat rocks are not recommended for Corn snakes! The main reason is because they provide a centralized heat source this often too hot and your snake can suffer serious burns.

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