What You Should Know Before Owning a Corn Snake

A Corn Snake Curled Up

February 7, 2022

If you want to own your very first snake, corn snakes may be the best species to start with. This generally docile snake is quite easy to care for and you don’t have to worry about them growing too big.

Hopefully we can help prepare you on becoming a corn snake owner and fill you in on all the interesting facts and any Do’s and Don’ts there are to owning one.

In this blog

Species Overview

Average Size

61cm-182cm long 

Most Popular Colours

Lavender, snow, red striped, and black

Life Expectancy

10-15 years


New Jersey, Florida, Louisiana, and parts of Kentucky.

The Corn Snake

The corn snake is a species of rat snake which constricts their prey. Due to their calm nature, handleable size, and their reluctancy to bite, these snakes can make great first-time pets for any snake lovers out there.

It is documented that there are over 800 different coloured corn snakes in the world. This species has been bred and modified throughout the year to produce more and more colours with some being more unique than other variants.

Wild corn snakes typically vary from orange to grey and they have orange or reddish patterns across their body with black stripes splitting up the colours.

Corn Snake Habitats

When you are housing your corn snake, the minimum size your vivarium wants to be is 36inches x 24inches x 24inches and they need to be secure and escape proof as your snake will find a way. Where there’s a will, there’s a way as they say. Nobody wants a stray snake on the loose!

Within your tank, you will want a place for your snake to curl up in and hide from the outside world. You may want to get them a big house to hide in but the smaller the hiding space the better, as they feel much less vulnerable in a smaller area. Another thing to add to the tank is a log or bark to the bottom so they can burrow underneath.

If it is possible, offer a space for them to hide in both ends of their home. One end should be cool, whereas the other end should be warmer to allow them to choose which area they need to be in depending on their current body temperature.

One end of the tank needs to be around 30-32°C which will become the warmer end for them. The other end should be cooler at 24-28°C. Try to make this change gradual throughout their tank to avoid any shock.

During the night, the temperature does not want to be below 18C. You can use a heat lamp or a heat mat to help with this temperature, but we recommend using a thermometer to keep an eye on the overall temperature.

As mentioned before, snakes love to hide and burrow away so it’s best practice if you put down some bedding for them. Whether this be wood shavings or bark, you will in turn have a very happy and relaxed snake.

Unlike other reptiles, snakes do not need a UVB light in their vivarium to produce calcium for their diet. But, as you will be aiming to imitate their natural habitat, it would still be recommended to use one in there. 2-5% UVB tube should be fine for them. This should be placed at the back of the vivarium and always allow dark spots where they are able to hide away.

Corn Snake Dietary Needs

Your corn snake is part of the constrictor family, so they are well known for catching their pray and squeezing the life out of it. Even if their meal is dead, they will still be seen squeezing it before they eat it.

The best way to replicate this for them is by warming a dead frozen rodent gradually until it has reached room temperature and then offering it in front of them with some feeding forceps.

If you feel like treating them occasionally, quail eggs make a great treat for them.  But they are not part of their usual diet so feed sparingly. One every few weeks should suffice.

Health Conditions


If your snake seems to be bloated, lethargic, and they have lost their appetite, this may be a sign of constipation. If you believe this to be the case, a warm bath for 15 minutes each day can help relieve this problem and make them more comfortable.

If you notice any swellings around the tail or the bathing has not cured this, it may be time to take them to see your specialist reptile vet as this needs further treatment and could lead to surgery.


This may look weird and very alarming, but don’t worry it can be fixed. Stomatitis occurs when bacteria get into a wound inside their mouth and becomes infected.

Swelling and white frothy discharge can appear out of their mouth and lack of appetite can all be a sign of stomatitis. If you suspect that this has happened to your corn snake, then it is important to contact your specialist vet at once.

Whilst you are waiting to hear back from your vet, be sure that their home is clean, and their water is fresh to avoid any further infection.


Mites can be a nuisance for both you and your snake companion, being exceptionally difficult to get rid of. They will appear on their scales and look like black spots which will most commonly be seen near their eyes, around their mouth and underneath their scales.

The worst part is they lay their eggs in your snakes bedding. Which means, if you spot mites on them, you will need to replace all the bedding and deep clean the tank with an insecticide which is approved for snakes. Bathe your snake in warm water and keep repeating the progress until all traces are gone.


Try to avoid handling your snake too much as this can cause them to become unsettled and stressed. This could cause them to bite you unprompted. Whilst they are not venomous, this will obviously still hurt.

Always wash your hands before handling them. Not only does this improve hygiene, but it also means your hands will not smell of any juicy snacks which your snake may mistake your fingers for.

Never handle your snake within the 48 hours after they have eaten a meal as this can cause them to regurgitate which is not only stressful for them, but it can lead to death.

Also, when they are shedding, their eyesight is not at its best, so they are a lot more defensive than usual. So, for your safety, we recommend you avoid handling until shedding is over. After all, you don’t want to get bitten, painful or not.

Whenever you are handling them, you always want to be quiet and gentle, making no sudden moves to upset or startle them. Never handle your snake more than once per day unless it is necessary and always keep other pets, like dogs and cats, out of the way to avoid any mishaps.

Whether you are a first-time owner looking for something relatively straight forward to ease you into it, or you are a reptile lover looking to add to your collection. Corn snakes can be a great pet for anybody, providing you know what you are doing. From a variety of different colours, there is a snake for everyone.

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