How Often To Feed Corn Snakes (Food Guidelines)

Are you a new corn snake owner?

Do you want to make sure you’re feeding your snake the right amount of food?

Asking these questions is a great start, and we can help you!

Understanding the corn snake diet is easy (all they do is eat small mice), but you may wonder how often to feed a corn snake.

Adult corn snakes should be fed every 7-10 days or 1-2 prey animals every 1-2 weeks. Baby corn snakes need to eat slightly more at 1 prey animal (pinkie mouse) every 5-7 days.

Read on for more details on how often you should feed a corn snake.

how often to feed corn snake

How Often Should I Feed My Corn Snake?

Corn snakes are carnivores and eat only meat.

Their main prey in the wild are almost entirely rodents and small birds.

In captivity, they are often fed mice of different kinds.

Baby corn snakes are fed pinkie mice.

Pinkie mice are just baby mice; they get their name from their pink, hairless skin.

Moderately-sized adult corn snakes can eat juvenile mice.

Above-averaged-sized corn snakes may eat a fully grown mouse.

Note: You should feed your corn snake mice, which are, at most, 1.5 times the size of their girth at the mid-length of their body.

This prevents digestion problems and vomiting.

It takes time for a corn snake to digest its meal, and they don’t need to eat often.

In nature, snakes are happy to get their food and then rest for a while. But as pets, they depend on their owners to feed them timely.

So, how often should you feed a corn snake, depending on its size?

Here’s a quick guide for you:

AgeSize (in inches)Feeding Schedule
Hatchlings8-20Every 5-7 days
Juveniles20-45Every 7-10 days
Subadults35-50Every 10-12 days
Adults35+Every 7-14 days

If you have a senior adult snake that’s older than 18 years, feed it every 10-14 days.

Corn snake owners with overweight and underweight snakes must consult their vets before adjusting their diets.

However, once in 21-35 days, and once in 10-14 days, respectively, is a safe schedule.

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How Often Should You Feed A 6-Month-Old Corn Snake?

feeding a juvenile corn snake

6-month old corn snakes are technically considered juveniles.

They’re more than babies, but not quite adults.

But when it comes to dieting, they line up with the adults.

6-month corn snakes are fed one correctly-sized mouse every 7-10 days.

The most significant difference will be the size of the prey.

We have a post on how to tell how old a corn snake is that can help you figure out your snake’s age if you’re unsure.

Can You Feed A Corn Snake Twice A Week?

Can you? Yes.

Should you? Probably not.

Feeding them twice a week every once in a while because you’re going on vacation or need to get rid of the mouse won’t do any harm unless you do it a lot.

Baby corn snakes can eat twice a week without a problem, but take your cues from the snake.

If it doesn’t seem interested, it’s too full.

Once the baby snake can eat two pinkie mice regularly per week, it’s time to switch up to them once every 7-10 days.

Note: Watch out for vomiting.

corn snake vomit

If the snake vomits up any of the food, it is too much.

How Long Can A Corn Snake Go Without Eating?

Corn snakes, like most reptiles, can go a long time without eating if it needs to.

But these snakes, in particular, are unique because they can hibernate in cold, snowy winters and brumation in cooler weather.

In either of these states, the corn snake can go 2-3 months without eating at all if needed.

However, this is pretty drastic.

It’s more realistic to let a corn snake go into these states for 60-90 days.

While they can do more, this is much healthier. 

Can You Overfeed A Corn Snake?

Yes.

Overfeeding a snake is a prevalent new owner problem.

Many new owners have a hard time realizing the corn snake doesn’t need to eat a lot.

They often feed their snakes as regularly as they can.

This can cause some fairly serious health issues over time.

It also dramatically shortens the life of the snake if you do it for a while.

Two main problems result in overfeeding.

The first is by feeding your snake within 24 hours of it eating already.

This is highly dangerous.

Your snake needs the whole 24 hours to digest its food.

Feeding it more could choke it and make it throw up.

Never feed the snake more than one prey animal within 24 hours.

The other common problem is feeding too frequently over the week.

Follow the 24-hour rule, and the snake will eat the other mice you put in front of it.

However, your pet isn’t meant to eat this much.

While it may not look like it at first, it’ll be getting bigger and “fatter.”

As it does, it will begin to vomit up some of the foods again.

This is a natural thing that happens when snakes overeat in nature, but it can mess up your pet’s health if done chronically.

Why Would A Corn Snake Not Eat?

It’s good to know how often you feed a corn snake, but what if it’s still not eating?

Should we be worried?

In most cases, no.

There are several reasons which may cause your pet not to eat:

  • Ate only 24 hours ago
  • Full from its meal within the last week
  • Too little heat for digestion
  • Beginning or the middle of shedding
  • Brumation/hibernation
  • Killed mice and not live mice
  • Frozen mice thawed in water and lost its scent
  • Food is too large
  • Illness

Of all these reasons, only one is related to illness.

If no other possibilities, you may also want to check for these other signs of illness:

  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wrinkled skin
  • Abnormal droppings
  • Regurgitation/vomiting or weight loss
  • Lumps or swelling
  • Swelling or discharge

If you see these, along with poor appetite, you should take your corn snake to its exotic vet.

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What to Feed a Corn Snake?

Corn snakes are carnivores. They enjoy munching on a variety of small-sized animals. But their favorites are rodents. Give a corn snake a mouse, and it’ll be happy.

Some other foods that they enjoy in the wild include:

  • Lizards
  • Squirrels
  • Birds
  • Rats
  • Rabbits
  • Moles

In captivity, you can feed your pet snake house geckos, quail eggs, button quails, green anoles, and mice.

Frozen or Live?

That’s the real question: do corn snakes prefer their food live or frozen (and thawed)?

Luckily, corn snakes are usually pretty eager eaters, so they don’t usually fuss about having frozen/thawed meals.

Plus, frozen/thawed food reduces the chances of injuries from claws and teeth of prey animals.

Captive bred prey munchies are the best choice for your pet. Wild-caught prey can pass diseases and parasites to your corn snake.

How to Thaw Frozen Corn Snake Food?

You’ll have to prepare your pet’s meal a day in advance. Pop the frozen food in the refrigerator to let it thaw overnight. It will reduce the chances of bacterial growth that could upset your snake’s tummy.

When you’re ready to feed, put the rodent in a BPA-free bag and dunk it in warm water for about 15-30 minutes. Aim for around 100°F, just like a live rodent’s body heat. Your corn snake will love it.

heating frozen mouse for corn snake

We also recommend wiggling the rodent a little once the snake bites in to mimic a fight. It’s a good practice for your corn snake’s mental well-being.

The Corn Snake Diet: Striking the Right Balance

We hope you enjoyed learning how often to feed a corn snake.

Adults should be fed every 7-14 days and babies every 5-7 days.

Keep in mind the mice you feed them should always be appropriate sizes.

Do this, and your pets will have a happy, healthy, and well-fed life.

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