Desert Canyon Reptiles

Corn Snake Care Sheet

Feeding: Your cornsnake is accustomed to eating pinky mice. The snake is already used to eating pinky (baby mice) that have been frozen and then thoroughly thawed. You should feed the cornsnake two pinky mice per week, either all at one meal or in two separate meals. As the snake grows, you should gradually increase the size of the mice. The meal should leave a small but noticeable lump in the belly of the snake. Occasionally, the snake will refuse a meal. This is no cause for alarm. They will occasionally skip meals, especially when the animal is getting ready to shed.

Housing: Your cornsnake will, over a period of a few years, grow to a length of about four feet. Some cornsnakes will grow slightly longer and others will be shorter. You can start the snake out in a 10 gallon aquarium. This will give the snake more than enough room. When the animal reaches about three feet in length, you will want to consider moving it to a larger cage... a 20 or 30 gallon long should do fine for the remainder of it's life (up to 25 years). There are a few things which are absolutely critical components of any cornsnake cage. The first is a secure lid. You can either construct a tightly fitting lid from pegboard, or visit your local petstore and see what caging alternatives they have. If you do make a lid from pegboard, make sure the holes in the pegboard are no larger than 1/2 the size of the snakes head... preferably only 1/4 that size. I would also place a heavy object on top of the lid to make sure the snake cannot push it off of the aquarium and escape. Another critical and obvious component to the snakes cage is a clean and always full waterbowl. The next critical component is a place or two to hide. Cornsnakes are shy and secretive and need to have places to hide. A few pieces of bark or a small carboard box with a hole cut into it should do. The last important component to a cornsnakes cage is some way to control the temperature. The snake will need to have access to a warm area. The temperature of this area should be between 80 and 85 degrees. If the temperature gets into the 90's it is too warm. The snake will need this warm area to properly digest its meals and for other health reasons. This is usually accomplished by some sort of heat light or lamp placed near one end of the cage. There are also undertank heat pads that should work if placed under a small portion of the cage. In general, avoid heat rocks ( product which looks like a rock with an electrical cord that warms the rock. The rock usually becomes too hot).

Temperament: Your cornsnake is just a hatchling. It is essentially an untrained dog or cat. It will require gentle and understanding handling at first. It will probably wriggle and try to escape when held. It may even musk or attempt to strike. With regular gentle handling, this will subside.

Other thoughts to consider: Always wash your hands after handling the snake or its cage. Reptiles are know to carry salmonella ( see also the salmonella warning ). Always wash your hands after handling feeder mice... if the snake smells rodent odor on your hands it will try to bite you. Get a book about cornsnakes. There are alot of things to know. There is a good book about cornsnakes written by Kathy Love. Find a friend or two who keep snakes...they will be able to help you any time you have a question. That pretty much covers the basics...with a little practice you will become an expert snake keeper!