If you are considering having a Corn Snake as a pet you must be sure you know everything there is to know about Corn Snake care. This article will take you through the preliminary stages of looking after your pet Corn Snake.
These snakes make fascinating pets and are fairly easy to take care of once they have been set up properly in their correct environment, please be aware that they do live for around 20 years so only consider getting a Corn Snake as a pet if you are ready for the long term commitment.
Corn Snakes In General
It is fairly easy to handle a Corn Snake and with regular handling they can become quite tame. They grow up to around 1.5m in length and are generally most active around dusk and dawn. They will mainly sleep and hide during the day but will come out to explore and wander around their vivarium when the lights go out.
Corn Snakes do not tend to be social and are happily kept on their own, even in a lot of cases recommended to be kept on their own as aggression can often show between individuals.
A House For Your Pet
Corn Snakes need a specific kind of home, an enclosed glass cage known as a vivarium, the Penn Plax Habitat being perfect. These must be monitored and kept to certain requirements at all times. Not being the most highly active of creatures they will not need a huge vivarium to live in and one half the length of the snakes total body length would be adequate. Younger ones can actually be stressed out if their enclosure is too oversized and this can affect their eating.
Heating needs to be provided in the vivarium, this can be done by use of a heat mat with a thermostat (to make sure it doesn't overheat) or alternatively a bulb with dimming stat on the roof of the enclosure. Heats mats should only cover a third to a half of the floor so the Corn Snake can thermoregulate and if using a bulb must be covered with a guard to prevent the snake from burning itself.
The ideal temperature is a gradient of 24 degrees celsius to 30 degrees celsius with a night time drop of 5 degrees celsius recommended. It is very important to keep these temperatures correct for the health of your snake.
Care must be taken to make sure the vivarium is secure with a nicely secured lid or doors as snakes can be very strong and easily push open loose escape routes.
As far as substrate go's you have many options to choose from to go on the bottom of the vivarium. Most highly recommended are Aspen bedding, cage carpet or bark chips. It is very important to keep this clean to avoid any health issues.
Humidity is a big factor when keeping reptiles, however Corn Snakes do not like constant high levels of humidity and prefer and a nice dry home but with the option of a cool wet hide available in the vivarium for when it pleases.
They also appreciate places to hide and explore such as different hides, artificial branches, rocks and plants.
Feeding Your Corn Snake
Your snake will probably be fed solely on a diet of mice which are available to buy frozen. Be sure that these are fully defrosted at room temperature. Young Corn Snakes will start off on what are known as 'pinkies' which are baby mice, the size of the mice increasing to adult size as the snake grows. They will generally only need feeding once or twice weekly, maybe slightly less as they reach adulthood. Their appetites usually lessen around the time of skin shedding.
A water bowl must be provided in the vivarium as snakes drink regularly and will also use it to bath in so be sure to keep it clean.
Corn Snakes are passive by nature and with regular handling can become relaxed and used to it and will rarely bite, even if they do they are not venomous. Most cases of being bitten comes from startling them while they are sleeping so only use very slow, gentle movements before picking up your snake. Always use two hands and make sure you are supporting the whole body. Slide your hand under the middle while letting the snake pass through your other hand while supplying as much support as possible and without grabbing or restricting in anyway.
Cleanliness And Health
Corn Snake care is pretty easy, they only really defecate one or two days after they have eaten so a bit of cleaning as you go will mean you should only have to do a full clean every two or so weeks. When you do a full clean, clean the vivarium and its contents using only a reptile safe disinfectant. Make sure everything is dry before replacing it along with fresh substrate.
It's important to monitor your pet to be sure of good health, your snake should have a solid muscular body with clean and smooth scales. The eyes should be bright and clear unless they are close to shedding their skin, in which case the eyes may appear cloudy and the scales a little duller. This may last for a few days and you may also notice a loss of appetite in your Corn Snake. They may prepare for shedding by spending lots of time in their moist hide or water bowl. If your snake is healthy the skin should be shed in one piece, if it is shed in lots of pieces it could mean that a little more humidity is needed in the vivarium. After the shed has been completed an essential part of looking after your pet Corn Snake is to check for any excess skin that has not been removed and help by bathing and very gently rubbing to aid the removal.
This has been just a basic look into Corn Snake care and I strongly advise you to learn as much as you possibly can to ensure the best experience as possible for the both of you.