What Size Tank Does A Corn Snake Need?

Are you planning on getting a corn snake?

Do you want to get all of your corn snake’s habitat set up just right?

Getting your pet’s environment set correctly is one of the keys to giving your corn snake its best chance at a long and healthy life.

But as you get into it, you may get confused.

You might wonder:

What size tank does a corn snake need?

A corn snake needs at least a 20-gallon tank with more width than height. The tank should have a set up with a mild temperature and humidity. Baby corn snakes are kept in a smaller container until they grow larger.

Size isn’t the only important thing.

Read on for more details on corn snake tanks.

what size tank does a corn snake need

Corn Snake Tank Requirements

Corn snake tanks are much more than the size, but the size is essential.

There are six parts of a corn snake tank you need to set up correctly.


Tanks come in choices of glass terrariums or plastic cages.

The glass is better for seeing through to your pet, but the plastic lasts longer and retains heat a little better.

There’s also the possibility of making your own, but you may not want to risk the snake escaping or hurting itself.

We recommend just buying the enclosure.

Most adult corn snakes will end up needing a 20-gallon tank, such as this one.

If your snake ends up pushing the 5.5′ – 6′ mark when grown, you may wish to get a larger one.

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The substrate is also known as the flooring or bedding, and it’s an integral part of suitable habitats.

It is made from different materials, but the purpose of all of them is to make cleanup more manageable and protect the snake’s skin as it moves around.

Some examples include:

  • Newspaper
  • Cypress mulch
  • Aspen shavings

Some substrates are dangerous.

Avoid these types:

  • Cedar shavings
  • Pine shavings
  • Aquarium gravel


Cold-blooded creatures like the corn snake need an outside heat source to keep their bodies functioning.

The sun provides this heat in the wild.

So in captivity, you need to provide this heat yourself through heat lamps or under the tank heaters.

Don’t just hope the room temp is good enough for your pet.


If you choose to use an under-tank heater, this could cause a glass tank to crack.

If you want to use one, opt for a plastic terrarium.

The corn snake comes from a mild environment, so you don’t have to stress out about the temperatures, but you should still keep the tank close to 75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C).

Under the heating lamp, your goal is 75° degrees Fahrenheit (24° C), and the opposite side of the tank can go down to 65° degrees Fahrenheit (18° C) with no problems.

This lets the snake move to the area it needs to regulate its internal temp.

At night, turn the heater off.

The temp will drop and help the snake slow down and sleep as it needs to.


Most lizards need UVB to survive.

They’ve evolved to use the sun’s rays as part of their everyday life.

A lack of UV results in calcium deficiency then results in bone damage.

Snakes aren’t in the same boat.

They don’t need UV rays to survive and be healthy without them.

UVB exposure won’t hurt them, though, and it may help a little with calcium absorption from food.

If able, get some UV lighting; you may as well go for it.

Get a UV fluorescent light to hang in the tank and put it on a timer.

And then you just set it and forget it.


You want a tank to match as much of the corn snake’s wild habitat, and if you think about it, you rarely see snakes.

In nature, corn snakes like to hide under rocks and bushes to protect themselves from predators.

So in the tank, you should add some furniture for climbing and especially hiding.

This is done with small boxes you make or small logs you find outside. 

But, it’s always easier to buy them like this one from Pangea.

They’re pretty cheap, and it saves you time.

Reptile Hide Box
  • High Quality Plastic Materials (M with no Delicate texture), Matte surface, No impurities coarse pottery sink, Moisturizers, helps peeling.
  • S suitable for Larvae snakes, tiny lizards, M for small-sized snakes and lizards, and other reptiles, leopard gecko, amphibians.
  • M : 9.44 × 6.69 × 2.36", Hole length 1.9", Hole height 1.4".
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Water Bowl

The last tank item you need is a water bowl.

Snakes like to swim and drink from it to get their water.

And we have an interesting post on swimming corn snakes if you want to learn about it.

The water bowl will also raise the humidity.

Corn snakes should be around 45% – 50% relative humidity.

It may not cause problems right away to have lower humidity, but it can cause painful shedding problems.

Just add the water bowl to avoid this problem.

What Can You Feed A Corn Snake?

As a carnivore, corn snakes need to eat meat and animals, not plants.

In the wild, they’ll eat pretty much any animal small enough to digest, including:

  • Rodents
  • Birds
  • Lizards
  • Amphibians

Their primary sources of food are small rodents and birds.

They should be fed either live or frozen and thawed mice in captivity.

What To Feed A Baby Corn Snake

Baby corn snakes need smaller food and prey, which are easier to catch.

This is why pinkie mice are so popular with the little corn snakes.

Pinky mice are newborn mice (the name pinky comes from their lack of hair).

These mice are small enough to be eaten by newborn corn snakes.

If you use live pinky mice, you shouldn’t have a problem getting the snake’s attention.

However, thawed mice aren’t as attractive.

You can cut the mouse to release its scent or tease the snake by tapping the mouse on its nose.

These may help awaken the snake’s hunting instincts.

And if you want to learn more about feeding snakes, read our post on how to feed corn snakes.


Now you know what size tank a corn snake needs.

Twenty gallons should be plenty for most corn snakes as long as you set it up correctly.

Make sure the tank size, temperature, lighting, substrate, hides, and water bowl are just right, and your oddly cute pet will be a happy, not-so-little critter.

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