Corn Snake Care Sheet (The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide)

Fantastic! You are about to adopt a corn snake for the very first time.

But what if you have no idea how to look after one?!

Don’t worry, as we’ve got you covered. Coming up in this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about giving a pet corn snake the best care and helping it live a long and happy life.

Key Takeaway:

Adult corn snakes measure between 61 and 182 cm and live for 10 to 15 years in captivity. Keep them in a 40-gallon tank in 40 to 50% humidity with the right substrate, and accessories. Feed them rodents and give them access to clean water.

Now that was a bit of a whistle-stop tour through all of the needs and requirements that your corn snake has. Let’s take a look at them in more detail and find out how you can set up the best corn snake enclosure coming up next.

corn snake house

Corn Snake Care Sheet: A Simple (But Complete) Guide for Beginners

Corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) are rat snakes that are endemic to North America.

Corn snakes in all different color morphs are the second most popular snake pet in the US. In Brazil, they are the most popular snake pet.

What makes corn snakes so special?

They are docile animals that are easy to look after. They do not require entertaining and do not need regular feeding.

How well you look after your corn snake is closely related to how long it will live. We all want our pets to have the best and most fulfilling life.

That’s why, coming up, we’ve put together a complete guide that will let you in on everything you need to know about looking after a corn snake. This guide will help you give your corn snake the attention it needs.

It will give you advice on the following:

  • Their average size
  • Their average lifespan in the wild
  • Their average lifespan in captivity
  • How big your enclosure must be
  • What kind of substrate you must use
  • The accessories you need inside the enclosure
  • How to keep your corn snake hydrated
  • The perfect temperature for your corn snake
  • The right humidity levels for your pet
  • What you must feed him
  • The kind of medical attention he will need

Are you ready to find out everything there is to know about looking after a corn snake?

Then let’s get started.

Average Corn Snake Size

Adopting a corn snake is a big responsibility. Determining whether you have space for it is one of the most crucial factors you must consider before bringing it home.

But, what is the average size of most adult corn snakes?

Adult corn snakes measure between 61 and 182 cm (24 and 72 inches). But hatchlings and young snakes will be slightly smaller.

Here is a list of the average sizes of a corn snake throughout the different stages of its life.

Hatchling corn snakes 20 to 30 cm (8 to 12 inches)
Juvenile corn snakes (6 months)51 to 76 cm (20 to 30 inches)
12-month-old corn snakes89 to 102 cm (35 to 40 inches)
Adult corn snakes 61 and 182 cm (24 and 72 inches)

The gender of the corn snake also affects how big it will be.

What is the size difference between a male and a female corn snake?

Female corn snakes are generally smaller than males. The female snake’s body averages 122 cm (40 inches).

A female corn snake has a growth spurt during the first year of her life. At this time, she is usually bigger than a male corn snake.

Female corn snakes are also bigger than males during their productive season.

Male corn snakes are generally bigger than females. The male snake’s body averages 182 cm (72 inches) in length.

A male corn snake has a growth spurt after he reaches 12 months old. Before that, he is usually smaller than most female corn snakes.

By the time the male corn snake is fully grown, he is usually heavier and bigger than the female corn snake. He may only be smaller than the female while she is in her productive season.

Average Corn Snake Lifespan In the Wild

Let’s now talk about the lifespan of a corn snake.

Wild corn snakes live for 6 to 8 years. Although they have the potential to live for longer, they usually don’t.

Here are a few reasons why.

  • Wild corn snakes have to face predators. These include foxes, bobcats, weasels, and other animals.
  • They have to hunt for food. When food is scarce, a wild corn snake suffers.
  • Humans kill them. Because corn snakes in certain color morphs resemble some venomous snakes, they are often killed.

Average Corn Snake Lifespan In Captivity

As a pet owner, you need to keep your corn snake happy throughout its entire life. Captive-bred corn snakes and pet corn snakes often live a lot longer than those in the wild.

How long is that?

Corn snakes in captivity live for between 10 and 15 years.

Why do they live so long?

Here are a few reasons.

  • Corn snakes in captivity do not face predators
  • They do not have to hunt for food and experienced keepers make sure they are well fed
  • They receive proper care from humans. When they are sick, they have treatment. Always look out for signs of respiratory infections, open-mouth breathing, and scale rot in your snakes.

Corn Snake Enclosure Size

You must keep pet corn snakes in the right size enclosure in order for them to have a healthy life. The size of the terrarium you need to get will depend on the size of the corn snake.

Here is a guide to the size tank your corn snake will need throughout the different stages of its life.

Hatchling corn snakes 10-gallon
Juvenile corn snakes 10-gallon
Adult corn snakes 40-gallon (or 3 feet long and 18 inches deep)

Keeping your rat snakes in the right size enclosure will help them to grow properly. The bigger the corn snake’s habitat, the better.

If the enclosure is too small, your corn snake will not have enough room to stretch, move about, and strike like he would in the wild. This will put a damper on how well your snake grows.

Corn Snake Substrate

So, you’ve got the best size enclosure ready for your new pet. But now, you need to line it with the right materials that will help your little buddy to burrow into it and feel at home.

What are the best substrate materials for your corn snake?

Here is a list of them.

  • Aspen shavings (do not use pine or cedar shavings)
  • Coconut fiber
  • Cypress mulch
  • Reptile carpet or Reptisoil
  • Paper towel shreddings
  • Sphagnum moss (or another moisture-retaining substrate)

When pouring your substrate into the enclosure, mix some of these materials together to make it even more textured.

Do not pack it down firmly. Most corn snakes prefer loose substrate that is easy for them to burrow into.

Corn Snake Habitat Accessories

Now you’ve laid the substrate into your corn snake’s home, you’ll need to make sure it is also kitted out with all of the accessories he needs.

What kind of accessories do corn snakes require?

Here is a list of them.

  • Hiding spots
  • Climbing branches

Your pet snakes will hang out in their hide box throughout the day. They will also use it to retreat when they feel frightened.

He needs one hide box in the warm end of his enclosure and another in the cooler end.

You will need to firmly fix any large branches in his enclosure that he can climb on and use to entertain himself. The right number of hide boxes and branches will create a great atmosphere for your corn snake.

You will find great hide boxes and branches for sale in large pet stores. These are awesome options for those who are kitting out an enclosure for their very first snake pet.

If you want to save money, make a hide box out of a cardboard box. Get creative by making branches out of PVC pipe.

Corn Snake Water Bowl

When it comes to water, corn snakes need access to it every day. You must give them fresh water daily.

Put the water in a shallow dish. Your corn snake needs to be able to submerge his whole body in the water dish so ensure it is large enough for him to do so.

The water should not be so deep, however, that hatchling corn snakes are in danger of drowning while soaking.

Corn Snake Habitat Temperature

A really important part of good corn snake care is making sure the animals are warm enough. Corn snakes are cold-blooded animals and cannot regulate their own body temperature.

How warm should your corn snake’s enclosure be?

Here is a guide for the right temperature gradient.

Cool sideBetween 75 to 82°F (24 to 28°C)
Warm sideBetween 80 to 85°F (27 to 29°C)
Basking areaBetween 88 and 92°F (31 to 33°C)

To make sure your corn snake’s basking spot is at the correct temperature, you must use a basking lamp, heat tape, or some other source of artificial heating. A thermometer with a temperature gradient will help you keep an eye on the environment inside the enclosure.

Corn snakes are endemic to the Southern United States where they spend their days slithering through corn cribs and basking in natural light. To compensate for this, equip your enclosure with UV lights.

The UV lamps must have a night cycle that closely mimics the light patterns corn snakes are used to in the wild.

Corn Snake Habitat Humidity

Getting the humidity levels in your enclosure right is also important for good corn snake care.

How humid should the enclosure be?

The humidity levels must be between 40 and 50%.

Here are a couple of methods that will help you keep the enclosure humid.

  • Using a mist spray bottle
  • Choosing substrate materials that hold onto humidity like sphagnum moss
  • Using a humidifier
  • Putting the water bowl on the warm end of the enclosure
corn snake eating mice

Corn Snake Food

No corn snake care guide would be complete without listing one of the most important things your snake will need.

Here is a list of food items that corn snakes eat.

  • Rodents such as mice and rats
  • Bird eggs such as quail eggs
  • Amphibians
  • Lizards

Most snakes will need to eat a diet that consists almost exclusively of rodents like mice and rats. Even still, it is not wrong to occasionally supplement their diet with amphibians, lizards, and eggs.

Corn Snake Medical Attention

Regular handling for short periods throughout the day will help you keep an eye on your snake’s health. Corn snakes are not social animals but they are generally docile and will allow you to do this.

Take your corn snake to the vet at least once a year. Vet bills are expensive, so taking out an insurance plan might be the best stress-free way for you to make sure you’ll always be able to give your corn snake the care he needs.

corn snake leaf

The Best Care For Captive Corn Snakes

Corn snakes are not your run-of-the-mill pet, so finding out how to look after them is a little tricky. But this article has included everything you must know about giving your corn snake the best care.

We saw that adult corn snakes measure between 61 and 182 cm and live for 10 to 15 years in captivity. You must keep them in a 40-gallon tank with the right substrate, and accessories, and give them access to clean water.

Rodents are the staple diet of corn snakes and they need to live in humidity levels between 40 and 50% and have access to a cool area and a basking area in their enclosure.

Did you find the information in this article interesting?

At Oddly Cute Pets, we always strive to provide you with the best care guides for corn snakes and other snakes. For more help with snake and reptile care, take a look at our website.

Thanks for reading!

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