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 does last 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 Exo Terra terrarium.

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


Substrate is also known as the flooring or bedding, and it’s an integral part of a suitable habitat.

It is made from different materials, but the purpose for all of them is to make cleanup more manageable and to 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 source of heat to keep their body 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 do choose to use an under 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 part of the tank it needs, to regulate its internal temp.

At night, just 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 it.

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, 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 just to buy them like this one from Pangea.

Reptile Hide Box, Small Animal Hideaway, Hides...
  • High Quality Plastic Materials (M with no Delicate texture), Matte surface, No impurities coarse pottery sink, Moisturizers,...
  • S suitable for Larvae snakes, tiny lizards, M for small-sized snakes and lizards, and other reptiles, leopard gecko,...
  • M : 9.44 × 6.69 × 2.36", Hole length 1.9", Hole height 1.4".

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

Water Bowl

The last tank item you need is a water bowl.

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

The water bowl will also raise the humidity.

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

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 type of animal small enough to digest including:

  • Rodents
  • Birds
  • Lizards
  • Amphibians

Their primary sources of food are small rodents and birds.

In captivity, they should be fed either live or frozen and thawed mice.

Read more about what you can feed a corn snake.  

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, then 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.

This is all part of how to feed a corn snake.


Now you know what size tank a corn snake needs.

20 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.