Corn Snake: Species Profile

Corn Snake on a log

Corn Snake Natural Habitat:

Corn snakes are native to the southeastern United States and northeastern Mexico. They are most commonly found in forested areas, but they can also be seen in grasslands, brushy areas, and even in man-made structures like barns and abandoned buildings. They are very adept at climbing and often take refuge in tree holes and burrows.

Corn snakes are active year-round, though they may be less active during the colder winter months. They are opportunistic feeders and feed on rodents, insects, spiders, and other small prey. They are also known to eat carrion, which is a great source of food for them in the wild.

The range of corn snakes can vary from small populations that are isolated from other populations to large, widespread populations that span multiple states. These snakes are found in many different habitats, from woodlands to deserts, and can be seen in both suburban and rural areas. As long as the temperature is mild and there is plenty of small prey to feed on, they can thrive in a variety of different environments.

Behavior and Temperament:

Corn snakes are known for their docile temperament and easy-going nature, making them a popular choice for first-time snake owners. They are active during the day and relatively easy to handle, which makes them ideal for those who want to observe the behavior of their pet. In the wild, they can be found basking in the sun, hiding, and occasionally hunting small animals such as lizards, small birds, and rodents.

Corn Snake on a branch
Credit: Paul Starosta/Gettyimages

Corn snakes are sociable and can be housed with other snakes of the same species. They are not aggressive but may become territorial if two males are housed together. To prevent aggression, it is best to house one male and one female together, or multiple females. They are also not overly vocal but may hiss if they feel threatened.

While they are quite docile and can be handled with care, it is best to let a new Corn Snake adjust to their new environment before attempting to handle them. With regular handling, they can become more comfortable with their keeper, and may even become tame enough to respond to their name.

Corn Snake Care:

The Corn Snake is one of the most popular beginner snakes due to its relatively easy care and gentle temperament. Native to the United States, these snakes are red-brown to orange, typically with dark red-black blotches, but a variety of colors can be found in many captive-bred snakes.

Baby Corns are 10-12 inches long and grow to 3-6 feet long. An adult Corn Snake should be kept in a minimum of a 30-gallon aquarium. Corn Snakes like to eat pinky mice in captivity, and they present very few medical problems if the enclosure is kept in the right temperature and humidity ranges and the snake is well-cared-for and fed a healthy diet. They can live up to 20 years and typically cost between $40-$100. With a very easy care regimen and a very gentle temperament, Corn Snakes are a great choice for new snake owners.

Common NameCorn Snake
Scientific NamePantherophis guttatus
Adult Size3-6 feet long
Life Expectancy20 years
Care DifficultyEasy
Minimum Enclosure Size20 gallon aquarium
Temperature75℉ to 85℉
Humidity40-50%

Corn Snake Appearance:

Corn snakes are some of the most visually stunning reptiles you’ll ever see! This species is easily recognizable by its distinctive pattern of orange and red blotches outlined in black dow the back. This medium-sized snake grows slowly from around less than 15 inches as a hatchling to between 36 to 72 inches as an adult.

Many color and pattern morphs exist as well. Albino corn snakes are one of the most popular morphs in captivity, with characteristic red eyes and striking red-orange patterns. Albino corn snakes have white or cream coloring in place of the normal black outlines but will keep the bright reds and oranges, making them incredibly charming.

No matter the color or pattern, corn snakes make wonderful pets for reptile enthusiasts of all levels.

Albino Corn Snake
Credit: Image by Barry Kiepe (ozzieimages). Used with permission. / Gettyimages

Housing:

Corn snakes are one of the most popular pet reptiles and they come in a variety of beautiful colors and patterns. To keep your corn snake happy and healthy, you’ll need to provide them with an appropriate enclosure for its size and needs.

When first purchasing your corn snake, you’ll want to start with an enclosure that is at least 30 gallons. However, as your snake grows you may need to upgrade to a larger enclosure of up to 55 gallons for an adult corn snake. You’ll also want to make sure the enclosure is secure with a locking lid and that the sides are made of glass or plexiglass. A secure lid is important because these snakes are escape artists and will take any opportunity to get out of their enclosure.

When it comes to the substrate, you’ll want to use something that is non-toxic, like aspen shavings, cypress mulch, or paper towels. The substrate should be replaced regularly to prevent bacteria build-up and to keep your snake’s enclosure as clean as possible.

It’s also important to provide your snake with plenty of hiding spots, like logs, rocks, or cork bark. This will help them feel safe and secure in their enclosure. You should also provide your corn snake with a bowl of clean water that it can soak in and a bowl of food. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure the enclosure has appropriate temperatures, with a hot side and a cool side.

Providing your corn snake with an appropriate enclosure is important for their health and happiness. Make sure the enclosure is appropriate for their size, secure, and provides plenty of hiding spots and enrichment. With the right care and setup, your corn snake will be happy and healthy!

Temperature:

Corn snakes are a popular pet snake species and are among the easiest to care for. They thrive in a controlled environment, with optimal temperatures and humidity levels. To keep your corn snake healthy, it’s important to provide the right temperature and humidity levels in its enclosure.

The ideal temperature range for a corn snake’s enclosure is 75-85°F. The basking spot should be around 85°F while the cooler side should be around 75°F. You can use a combination of lights, basking bulbs, and heating pads to maintain the temperature gradient. However, be sure to monitor the temperature with a thermometer to ensure it doesn’t go too high or too low.

Humidity:

Being native to the southeastern United States. They are typically found in humid, moist environments and require a similar environment in captivity in order to thrive. Corn snakes require a humidity level of between 40-50%. If the humidity is too low, your snake can become dehydrated and suffer from various health issues such as respiratory problems. It is important to maintain the humidity level in the enclosure in order to keep your corn snake healthy and comfortable.

To maintain the desired humidity level in the enclosure, you can use a simple water bowl. Make sure to place the bowl in an area of the enclosure where your snake is able to easily access it. Additionally, you can mist the enclosure with lukewarm water a few times a week. Doing so will help to increase the humidity level and ensure that the substrate stays moist. You should also use a hygrometer to accurately measure the humidity levels in the enclosure.

You can also use a humidifier to help maintain the humidity level. Make sure to purchase a humidifier specifically designed for reptiles, as other types of humidifiers may not be safe for use in reptile enclosures. If you’re using a humidifier, you should monitor the humidity levels closely as too much humidity can be just as damaging as too little.

Health Problems To Look For:

Corn snakes are hardy reptiles that, with proper care and attention, can live up to 20 years in captivity. However, just like any animal, they can suffer from health problems that, if not addressed quickly and correctly, can lead to a shortened lifespan. Common health issues that corn snakes are prone to include:

Mouth Rot: Mouth rot is an infection caused by a low immune system or untreated mouth injury. Symptoms of mouth rot include redness and swelling of the mouth, as well as excess mucus. If the infection is caught early enough, it can usually be treated with antibiotics prescribed by a veterinarian.

Parasites: Internal parasites can be passed on to corn snakes through their food, or from unclean habitats. Regular vet visits can help reduce the risk of parasites, as well as help diagnose and treat them if they do occur.

Scale Rot: Scale rot is caused by overly moist or dirty substrate that allows bacteria to grow. To prevent scale rot, keep the tank clean and allow the snake to heal on clean paper towels for several weeks.

Mites: Mites are tiny black parasites that can be transferred into a snake enclosure through infested foods or other animals. To treat snake mites, bathe the snake in warm water or use an over-the-counter reptile lice treatment. Disinfect the enclosure thoroughly to eliminate the mites and prevent them from returning.

Respiratory Problems: Suboptimal temperatures in the snake’s enclosure can cause respiratory problems like pneumonia. If the problem doesn’t clear after one or two weeks, consult a reptile veterinarian.

It is important to pay attention to your snake’s eating habits, bowel movements, and activity levels. Any abnormality may signal the need to contact a veterinarian.

Where to Adopt or Buy:

If you’re looking for a Corn Snake, the best place to start is a reputable breeder. Captive-bred snakes are typically quite a bit healthier than wild-caught snakes and come with a much greater variety of colors and morphs. Reputable breeders will have a good track record, be willing to answer questions, and have a wide variety of options available. You can often find these breeders online or at reptile shows.

If you’re on a tighter budget, pet stores are another option. It’s important to inspect the Corn Snakes carefully to make sure they are healthy, as pet stores will sometimes keep them in suboptimal conditions. You also want to make sure that the enclosure is not overcrowded, and that the snake is not being housed with any other animals.

Finally, you can also look into classified ads or online forums such as Fauna Classifieds to find Corn Snakes for sale. This option can be a bit riskier, as you won’t know the history of the snake or what kind of husbandry they’ve been given. It’s important to ask a lot of questions and be sure to meet the seller in person, when possible, before making a purchase.

No matter which option you choose, it’s important to do your research before buying a Corn Snake. Doing so will help ensure that you get a healthy, well-taken care of snake that will be around for years to come.

Corn Snake on a fake branch

Conclusion:

In conclusion, Corn Snakes are a great choice for first-time reptile owners. They have a mild temperament, require minimal care and maintenance, and can live up to 20 years. They have striking colors, patterns, and eyes that make them stand out from other snakes, and their docile nature makes them easy to handle. These qualities make them ideal for beginner snake owners, but also for more experienced reptile enthusiasts. With proper care, they can be a wonderful addition to any home.

FAQ:

Q: What do Corn Snakes eat?

A: Corn Snakes are carnivores and feed on pinky mice in captivity. They can also be given a variety of frozen rodents like rats or gerbils. It is important to feed them regularly and provide the right sized meals so they can digest their food properly.

Q: How big do Corn Snakes get?

A: Corn Snakes typically grow to 3-4 feet long, but some can grow up to 6 feet!

Q: What temperatures do Corn Snakes need?

A: Corn Snakes prefer temperatures ranging from 72℉ to 90℉. It is important to regulate this range to ensure that your Corn Snake is comfortable and healthy.

Q: How much does a Corn Snake cost?

A: The cost of a Corn Snake can range from $40-$100 depending on the age, color, and size.

Q: How long do Corn Snakes live?

A: Corn Snakes can live up to 20 years with proper care and nutrition.

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