Are you doing some research on the oddly cute corn snake?
Do you want to know what you’re getting into when it comes to time with these reptiles?
Corn snakes are great pets to have because of their mild nature, low care requirements, and healthy disposition.
But how long does a corn snake live?
In captivity, a corn snake is expected to live up to 20 years but 15 is closer to the average. Some have been recorded living as long as 23 years, but in the wild, they tend to only live 6-8 years.
Read on for more details about the corn snake and its life expectancy.
Table of Contents
Corn Snake Life Expectancy In The Wild
Corn snakes in the wild can live for 6-8 years.
While they have the potential to live longer, they usually don’t.
The main reasons they don’t live as long in nature is due to several reasons.
Corn snakes in the wild have to hunt for their food.
This seems obvious, but it also means they may not get as much as they need regularly.
A regular diet ensures a healthy body.
Corn snakes adapt to the changes in weather naturally, but sometimes the weather is just too harsh.
Cold especially will kill a corn snake if it doesn’t find shelter or the cold lasts too long for it to stand.
In your tank, nothing is going to eat your corn snake (hopefully).
But in the wild, there are a number of predators happy to make this docile snake a meal.
Disease is something all creatures may have to deal with, but they can’t handle it.
If your pet gets sick, you take it to the vet, and it will usually be just fine.
How can humans help corn snakes live longer and make them live shorter?
Well, corn snake pets are cared for by their owners and protected.
But corn snakes in the wild are often seen as pests and killed.
Their unique coloring makes predators second guess whether they’re poisonous or not.
But it also tricks humans who feel threatened by this harmless snake.
It doesn’t help corn snakes are happy to make their homes in barns and storage buildings during the winter and cold times.
All of this added up is what reduces the average life expectancy to 6-8 years in the wild.
Corn Snake Life Expectancy In Captivity
While they don’t live long in the wild, these reptiles are capable of a long life in captivity.
Most will live up to 10 years, but 15 seems to be average age.
To reach the age of 20 would not be common but neither is it unheard of.
There are some recorded cases of corn snakes reaching the age of 23.
The main reasons for the large difference is due to the extra care and protection they receive from their owners (read the later section on ways to help your corn snake live longer for more info).
Basic essential needs are key to a long life.
This includes the right size of enclosure, diet, and health care.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the needs:
Use an aquarium (20-40 gallons) with a heater, lighting, and furniture as described in our article on how to set up a corn snake tank.
Mice are the food of choice.
Babies eat every 5-7 days and adults eat every 7-10 days.
Watch out for signs of infections and other illnesses.
When in doubt, contact your vet.
There isn’t much you actively need to do, but keeping your corn snake safe will obviously help it live longer.
The biggest safety concern in captivity is another pet getting in the tank.
The later section goes into more details on these needs and how to best meet them.
How To Tell How Old Your Corn Snake Is By Size
As corn snakes get older, to get a decent look at their health and potential life span by how well they’re growing.
A well-adjusted and cared for snake grows in its youth fairly quickly.
From babies, corn snakes are born between 8″ – 14″ inches in length.
They’re considered to be adults at one year and reach full length by their second birthday.
Corn snakes grow quickly, so pick the correct size tank (as mentioned in our general guide to corn snakes).
Around six months of age, expect the corn snake to be between 20″ – 30″ inches.
The one-year mark should see a corn snake at 35″ – 40″ inches in length or 3′ feet.
Most tend to level out around here, but some can grow up to 5′ feet.
|Newborn||8″ – 12″ inches|
|6 months||20″ – 30″ inches|
|1 year||35″ – 40″ inches|
|>2 years||3′ – 4′ feet*|
*Some corn snakes may go up to 5′ feet.
5 Ways To Help Your Corn Snake Live Longer
In this section, we’ll go over 5 ways to help your corn snake live longer.
These are things you may already be doing, but make extra sure you do these to give your pet the longest life possible.
#1 Correct Temperature
Having the proper temperature is essential for a healthy corn snake.
These reptiles enjoy warm environments, but you don’t have to stress about it as much as a desert creature would.
Keep it between 75° – 85° degrees Fahrenheit (24° – 29° C) during the day, and your corn snake will be just fine.
At night, turn the heater and let the temp drop to your room temperature.
Corn snakes are perfectly fine with adapting to this dip as it mimics what happens in the wild at nighttime.
#2 Correct Humidity
Corn snakes have specific humidity needs, and you should stick to this whenever possible.
One of the corn snakes main health problems is shedding difficulty.
The biggest cause of shedding difficulty is a low humidity.
Corn snakes live best when the humidity is close to 60% relative.
Your house isn’t likely to be at this, so you’ll need to make sure the humidity stays up.
Fortunately, all you’ll need to do is make sure there is a water dish in the tank, and the tank should be away from any heaters or air conditioners.
#3 Consistent Diet
One of the biggest concerns in the wild is the lack of a consistent diet.
In captivity, provide consistency and keep your corn snake living for a long time.
A consistent diet consists of 1 appropriately-sized mouse every 7-10 days for adults and every 5-7 days for baby corn snakes.
This may not seem like a lot, but sticking to this schedule will set your corn snake up for success in life.
The right size of the mouse is 1.5 times the size of the snake’s girth at mid-length.
Any larger could cause the snake to regurgitate its food.
Read more about what a corn snake can eat.
Never feed a corn snake within 24 hours of a previous feeding.
It’s better to wait more than this, but if you feed too often, the snake could get overweight, unhealthy, and possible throw up both mice.
#4 Yearly Checkups
Just like we go through our yearly checkups, your corn snake should go through the same thing.
Or you should at least have a selected exotic vet to talk to when you worry the snake is ill.
These yearly checkups will help the vet get a baseline for your animal, and the vet may notice things in its care you’re missing.
Establishing a relationship with your vet will also make you more comfortable calling when things go wrong.
If you don’t have a vet picked out or you don’t call right away, your corn snake could be in danger of serious health difficulties.
This is why you need to have a vet plan and be able to get in quickly when needed.
#5 Watchful Owners
As an owner, you have a duty to be watchful.
You’re going to have to be on the lookout for signs of illness, and run to the vet (as we mentioned before).
As they get older, look for signs of “mouth rot” or infection.
This is seen as a discoloration of the mouth.
This can cause the snakes to lose their teeth or worse.
You also need to be on the lookout for dermatitis.
The blisters or problems on the skin can cause bleeding which may then develop into further infections.
Also, be on the lookout for these other signs of potential illness:
- Difficulty breathing
- Wrinkled skin
- Abnormal droppings
- Regurgitation/vomiting or weight loss
- Lumps or swelling
- Swelling or discharge
- Lack of appetite
Now you know how long a corn snake lives.
15-20 years may seem like a long time investment, but at the end, you’ll love the chance to have this pet for as long as you have them.
With proper care, diet, and habitat, these creatures are a staple in your family for many years to come.