Caring for corn snakes

Corn snakes are a popular pet snake breed. They are the perfect choice for novice snake keepers due to their docile temperament and easy-to-care-for nature. If you’re considering getting a corn snake, it’s important to understand how to properly care for them to ensure they remain healthy and happy. In this article, we will go over the complete care of corn snakes.

 

Housing

 

First and foremost, you need to provide your corn snake with a suitable habitat. Corn snakes are a terrestrial species of snake, which means they prefer to live on the ground rather than in trees. A large, secure tank or terrarium is required; the size of the enclosure depends on the size of your snake. As a general rule, the enclosure should be at least 30 to 40 gallons for an adult corn snake.

 

The enclosure needs to have a secure lid or top to prevent escapes. Corn snakes are expert escape artists and can quickly get out of poorly secured enclosures. Additionally, the enclosure needs to have hiding spots, such as a small plastic container with a hole cut out, and climbing materials if you desire, like fake vines or branches. Corn snakes enjoy having a place to hide and climb, just be sure these materials are securely in place.

 

Temperature and Humidity

 

To keep your corn snake healthy, you need to provide a temperature gradient in their enclosure. Corn snakes require a basking spot that is at least 85 degrees Fahrenheit and a cooler end that is between 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature gradient allows your snake to regulate its body temperature and properly digest food.

 

The humidity needs to be between 40% to 60%, so you may need to mist the enclosure depending on the climate and temperature. A hygrometer can be helpful for monitoring humidity levels.

 

Substrate and Cleaning

 

Corn snakes need a substrate or bedding in their enclosure. Suitable options include aspen shavings, coconut coir, and reptile carpet. Avoid using pine or cedar bedding as these can be harmful to your snake. Be sure to spot clean the enclosure daily for faeces and soiled substrate. You will also need to do a thorough cleaning and replace all the substrate every 4 to 6 weeks.

 

Feeding

 

Corn snakes are carnivores and eat small mammals, such as mice and rats. You will need to feed your corn snake once a week or every two weeks, depending on their age and size. The size of the prey should be similar to the girth of the snake, and the prey should be defrosted and at room temperature before feeding.

 

Handling

 

Corn snakes are generally docile and easy to handle. However, it’s important to approach and handle your snake with care to prevent bites or injuries. Never handle your corn snake right after feeding and always support their weight when holding them. Overhandling can also stress your snake, so limit handling to one or two days a week.

 

Health concerns

 

It’s important to monitor your corn snake’s health and behaviour regularly. Signs of illness include lethargy, lack of appetite, respiratory infections, and abnormal shedding. If you suspect your corn snake is sick, take them to a veterinarian that specializes in reptiles.

 

In conclusion, corn snakes are easy-to-care-for pets that make great companions. With the proper housing, temperature and humidity, substrate, feeding, handling, and monitoring of your snake’s health, you can provide a happy and healthy life for your pet corn snake.

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