Corn Snakes as Exotic Pets - Care Sheet About Corn Snakes

Corn Snakes are excellent Exotic Pets available from Predators of Shipley

Corn Snakes are excellent Exotic Pets available from Predators of Shipley

Corn snakes (Elaphe guttata) make an excellent exotic pet for your family. The exotic corn snake is generally docile, relatively easy to look after and grow to a size that is easily handled by an individual.

For beginners, Corn snakes do make a good choice as they are easy to handle and care for.  Corn Snakes come in a wide variety of colours as you can see from the images on this page and the rarer the colour, the higher the price of the snake.  Your Corn Snake will be active mainly at night or at dusk and dawn.

PLEASE NOTE:  THIS CARESHEET SHOULD BE USED AS A GUIDELINE ONLY.  IT IS BASED ON OUR EXPERIENCE AND IS CORRECT AT THE TIME OF PUBLICATION. WE CAN NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY PROBLEMS YOU MAY ENCOUNTER WITH YOUR PET. 
If you are unsure, please contact us so we can answer your questions.

About Corn Snake Size

Corn snakes grow to between 3 and 5 foot in length but have reached 6 foot in some cases.  Although this sounds quite large they are only slim and they are a relatively small snake.

Corn Snake Temperament

The Corn Snake is very friendly and active and is an excellent for a first reptile or for children to handle. They are diurnal so are awake and active during the day and sleep at night.

Corn Snake Vivarium Setup

A baby corn snake should be kept in a vivarium approx 18" x 12" x 12". This should be large enough to house your snake until it is approx 9 or 10 months old and then will need upgrading to an adult size vivarium. It is important not to put a baby snake into a large vivarium as this can put them off feeding as they don't feel secure. Adults will require a 36"x18"x18" vivarium.

Do NOT spray water in or around the tank as humidity is bad for their lung they require a dry environment inside their viv.

Temperature Control

Corn snakes are exothermic so their vivs require a hot end and a cool end to enable them to regulate their temperature. The hot end should be around 34?C (90?F) and the cool end around  28?C (80?F) during the day. The temperature at night should not drop lower than 22?C (70?F).

Heating / Lighting

Use a flat sided reflector bulb in the hot end of the viv to regulate the temperature this is your main heat source in your viv so needs to be replaced as soon as the bulb goes the bulb should be on 10 to 12 hours a day and switched off at night.

A heat mat no longer than the length of the viv should also be placed in the hot end this can be left on all the time to provide some heat during the night. (Note in a baby corn vivarium a heat mat is normally sufficient to heat the tank a bulb would not normally be required.)

Substrate

Corn snakes require a dry substrate. Recommended substrate would be beech chippings but you could also use Ground Walnut Shells or Aspen.

Feeding / Water

Baby corns require feeding twice a week, adults will sometimes drop to once a week feeding but some continue to take twice a week this will depend on the appetite of your snake. They feed on rodents the size of the food will depend on the age and size of your snake. If you are unsure what size to offer please ask for advice. All food offered should be already dead it is illegal to feed live in the UK. Rodents can be bought frozen and stored in your freezer. Food should be fully defrosted at room temperature before offering to your snake. Once defrosted if a mouse is not eaten remove it the following day and throw away do not try and re-freeze. It is normal for a snake to miss a feed if they are in shed if they miss a feed wait until they have finished shedding then offer when they are next due feeding.

Snakes should always have access to clean, fresh water. Keep their water bowl in the cool end of the viv and change daily or every other day.

Shedding

When your snake is coming up to shed you will notice it's eyes go a milky colour, they will normally then shed a few days later. They should shed all in one go but if they have a "patchy" shed and have places where the old scales haven't come off you can give them a warm bath or buy shedding spray to help remove the old scales. It is important that you make sure all the shed comes off the tip of the snakes tail or it can cut off the circulation and the tip of the tail may go dead and fall off.

Cleaning

Spot clean twice a week and remove any mess, as they only eat once or twice a week they will only mess once or twice a week. Give them a full clean out every 3 weeks or more regularly if required. Do NOT use any household or domestic cleaners in or around the vivarium as they contain harmful and potentially lethal chemicals. Reptile disinfectant can be used in the tank and as a glass cleaner.

It is good practice to wash your hands before and after handling your animal and especially after cleaning your tank or removing waste.

Corn Snake Vital Stats

  • Experience:  NOVICE - An excellent snake as your first Exotic Pet.
  • Life span:  The average Corn Snake can live for 20+ years in captivity
  • Size:  Corn Snakes reach a mature size of 4.5 - 6 feet
  • Price:  It varies with the colour of the Corn Snake but generally are a relatively inexpensive snake.
  • Enclousure:  Corn Snakes do not have elaborate housing needs but it must escape-proof.
  • Feeding:  Your Corn Snake will eat mice.
  • Legal issues:  There were no legal issues when keeping a Corn Snake as a pet in the UK at the time of writing this article.

When choosing your Corn Snake, a captive bred snake is our prefered advise and make sure the snake has a good weight, clear eyes, no cuts or abrasions; or signs of mites or ticks. 

A healthy Corn Snake is one that is alert and active.

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