How To Care For A Corn Snake: Lifestyle, Diet, And More

Corn snakes are simple to care for, making them popular with new reptile keepers. These gorgeous North American reptiles are tiny and affordable, making them wonderful starter snakes.

Common Characteristics

Corn snakes were sometimes considered rat snakes. However, genetic research showed they are more connected to king snakes. The world’s most popular pet snake is the corn snake. They are popular because they are gentle and straightforward to care for. Many names for corn snakes include red rat snake, chicken snake, and red chicken snake.

Look And Size

Adult corn snakes grow to 2–4 feet long. These snakes have several hues, patterns, and variants, including people with albinism. Popular hues include red, yellow, orange, peach, pink, and white. Some corn snakes have no back markings, while others have spots or stripes.


Wild corn snakes survive less than captive ones. Due to predators and food shortages, they survive 2–3 years in the wild. They may survive 20 years or more in captivity if cared for. Captive corn snakes can survive over 20 years, although most don’t. The longest-lived corn snake in captivity is almost 32 years old.


Corn snakes may be fierce despite their gentleness. Animals are curious and eager to explore. They hiss loudly and wrap around themselves when threatened. They’ll assault if the danger continues. Corn snakes live on land, not in water. They like to swim in summer to cool off and capture food. The corn snake is an excellent first pet snake since it’s simple to care for and handle.

Misconception About Color

Misconceptions about corn snake colours affect their disposition. Because red is rare among corn snakes, many think they’re more aggressive. No scientific evidence supports this assertion. Red-coloured corn snakes may seem more menacing due to their striking colours, yet they are not aggressive.

Care Requirements

Corn snakes don’t need much care, but you must meet their demands. Setting up a corn snake’s terrarium is the most challenging, although it’s not complicated.

Terrarium Setup Instructions

Noteworthy is their enclosing size. It would help to have a giant cage to keep a 4-foot corn snake happy and healthy. Adult snakes need a 40-gallon tank or more, although baby snakes may survive in a 10-gallon tank.

Give your corn snake at least two hides, but more are ideal in various areas. These let your snake escape the light and feel safe. A hide on the warmer side of the terrarium may be humidified with moist sphagnum moss to give your corn snake a secure place to sleep.

Moisture And Temperature

Their tank should have a temperature gradient. Keep the light end between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the colder end between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a heating pad or coil under the tank’s warmer side.

Place temperature and humidity sensors on either side of the terrarium to monitor your snake’s environment. Keep your corn snake’s terrarium damp at 40-60%. Increase to 70% during shedding. Return humidity to normal once your snake sheds.

Lighting Required

Minimum 8 and 12 hours each day for your corn snake’s light. This helps them adapt to seasonal life cycles. Avoid putting your snake’s terrarium near a window that lets in sunlight. This may rapidly raise temperatures to unsafe levels.

Contrary to popular belief, recent research shows corn snakes manufacture vitamin D3 from UV light. Corn snakes obtain most of their vitamin D3 and calcium from their food, but a UV lamp in their terrarium may boost their health.


You may use reptile carpet, paper bedding, or aspen shavings. Zoo Med Eco Earth, composed of loose coconut fibres, is another commercial product most pet retailers offer. Pine and cedar might irritate your snake’s skin, respiratory system, and other organs.

Change your snake’s bedding every 7–14 days. Corn snake juveniles thrive on paper towels or newspaper bedding. Use hay or straw to offer your corn snake something to crawl and burrow into.

Food And Water

  • Rodents: Pet store-bought pre-killed mice and rats should be a corn snake’s primary food. Rodents are nutritious and straightforward for snakes to consume. Snakes can eradicate mice or rats, although this is optional. Remember to kill your rodents before buying a pet snake if it doesn’t take them. To avoid harm, your snake’s cage should be free of live rats after two hours.
  • Rodent supplements: Vitamin-rich feeder insects like crickets or mealworms are not suggested for snakes. While these insects supply certain nutrients, they lack rodent-derived calcium and vitamin D3, essential for juvenile snake bone formation.

Always give your corn snake clean water. A sturdy, flat, shallow bowl for reptiles is perfect. Corn snakes should avoid deeper basins.

Health Issues

  • Stomatitis: Bacteria invade gums and mouths via open wounds. Mouth swelling, appetite loss, and foamy discharge are symptoms.
  • Mites: Corn snakes are vulnerable to mites. Mites live on snakes and feed on blood. They may be around your snake’s mouth, eyes, or scales. If your snake has mites, sanitize its cage and wash it with warm water.
  • Constipation: Not eating enough or not digesting food adequately causes this problem. Without prompt treatment, constipation may cause impaction or intestinal obstruction, which can be deadly.

Juvenile corn snakes lose their skin every six weeks. Corn snakes shed every three months as adults.


Corn snakes are simple to care for and may be handled routinely. These snakes are calm and non-aggressive, making them perfect for beginners. They’re cheaper than other snakes, making them more straightforward to maintain as pets.

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