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Corn Snake

(Pantherophis guttatus)


Corn Snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) are a relatively small snake from the Colubridae family. 
On average corn snakes can reach around 4-6ft in length. Females of this species tend to get a bit larger than males.
The wild type corn snake is known as a Carolina, however there are now many colour & pattern morphs available in the Pet Trade. Some of these include Amelanistic, Anerythristic, Snow, Motley, Striped, Tessera, Lavender, Phantom, Butter, Rootbeer, Hypo, Lava, Fire, Pied, Scaleless…the list goes on.

Pet corns have the potential to live up to 18 years old, although 22+years have been known.

Origin & Habitat:
Corn snakes are found throughout Central & Eastern America.
They are found in pine forests, rocky outcrops, grasslands, around farms & grain stores. They are often found within corn stores feeding on the rodents that feed on the corn, hence the name ‘Corn Snake’.
They are a terrestrial species spending the majority of their time on the ground however, if given branches or similar inside their enclosure, they will also appreciate the opportunity to climb.

With the odd exception, corn snakes are calm, docile & placid snake that are hardy & thrive very well in captivity. They are an excellent choice for a beginners first snake.

Corn snakes can be kept in a suitable sized enclosure such as a Plastic RUB, Faunarium or Wooden Vivarium.
Hatchlings do well in enclosures such as the 1.3ltr Braplast Tubs, 4-9ltr RUB Boxes, Medium Standard Faunariums, or similar. It is important not to put hatchling corn snakes in too large of an enclosure as this can cause the snake stress which may lead to it not feeding. With sub-adults/adults, depending on their size, a wooden vivarium around 3-4ft in length, by around 15-24” deep & 15-24” high, works well.

Corn snakes require a warm & a cool side to their enclosure in order for them to thermoregulate their body temperature.
Heat can be provided by means of a Heat Mat, Heat Cable, Ceramic Heat Emitter or Deep Heat Projector depending on the setup. Heat mats should cover between a third & half of the floor area. NB: The heat source should be controlled by a suitable thermostat & the temperature checked regularly with thermometers. If you choose to use a Deep Heat Projector or Ceramic Heat Emitter, a suitable Heat Guard Cage will be required to fit over the heat source to stop the snake from coming into direct contact with it & potentially burning itself.

The ideal temperature gradient for your corn snakes enclosure is 21-30°C (70-86°F).

Water should be given in a reasonable sized bowl. It is advisable to use a fairly heavy bowl to prevent your snake tipping it over. The bowl should be placed in the cool side of the vivarium. If it is placed on the warm side this could create too much humidity which could lead to a respiratory infection & also the bowl could dry out quickly.
Water can also help your snake during shedding. Whilst in shed it is not uncommon to find your snake bathing in the water.
If the snake defecates in its water bowl, the bowl must be cleaned and disinfected immediately.

Corn snakes require a place to hide otherwise they can get stressed. If possible, provide two hides, one on the warm side & one on the cooler side so they have a choice.
Hides can be made from anything such as a toilet roll tube, cardboard box, décor such as wood & plants to hide behind or the specifically made resin/wood/ceramic reptile hides which can be found in store.

All snakes go through the shedding process, sometimes also referred to as sloughing of the skin. The shedding process will happen periodically throughout the year, with hatchlings & younger snakes going it more often as they are growing.

Throughout the shedding process your snake will exhibit different changes to its normal appearance. This will include a dulling of your snakes skin colour, general inactivity often staying in a hide and their eyes will turn a bluish grey colour. At this time your Corn Snake may refuse a feed. Whilst your snake is in shed it is advisable to not handle it as their vision is obscured by the bluish grey membrane covering its eyes and they may feel more insecure than usual, therefore more likely to be defensive.

The majority of corn snakes will not need any additional help in shedding their skin however, if you do want to help your snake with this process there are a few things you can do whilst your snake is in shed. One is by placing a larger water bowl in the vivarium so that your snake has the opportunity to soak itself if desired. Another is by lightly misting the enclosure with water to help raise the humidity. And lastly is to provide a moist box in the enclosure. This can be a plastic box with a hole cut in the top filled with damp sphagnum moss. Your Corn snake should appreciate the extra humidity and it will make the process of removing its skin a lot easier.

When a snake starts to shed its skin it usually starts by your snake rubbing its head on hides or decor to loosen the skin. Once it has worked its head free it will continue to crawl its way out of the old skin by rolling it inside out as it moves until it is completely free of the skin. The skin usually comes off in one piece but it is not unusual to have breaks in it or find it in a few pieces. Once your snake has shed its skin, the skin should be removed from the enclosure along with any faeces that usually accompanies the shedding process. You should your snake to ensure that the shed skin has successfully been removed, taking particular notice that the eye caps and tail end have not been retained. If necessary bathe your snake and remove any patches of skin that have not been shed, to avoid infection or death of the tissue below it. If you are worried about removing any retained skin, please contact us so that we can help get this off for you.

Hatchling Corn Snakes will generally start off on Mice Pinkies every 5-7 days gradually moving up in sizes as the snake grows, up to adult mice every 7-14 days.
Sometimes young rats or chicks can be used for a variation in diet.

The size of the rodent should be roughly the same or a little smaller in thickness to that of the thickest part of the snakes body. If you are unsure, please contact us for advice.

Frozen rodents should be defrosted either at room temperature or in luke warm water. Never defrost rodents in boiling water or the microwave as it is likely to start cooking the rodent which could put your snake off of feeding on it or you will end up with a horrible mess when the snake attempts to eat it.

We recommend not handling your snake the same day that you are going to feed it as this can sometimes put them off of feeding. Likewise, you should not handle your snake for a minimum of 48 hours after feeding in order to reduce the chance of it regurgitating its meal.

There are two ways that are most accurate for sexing snakes which are Popping or Probing. Popping is usually done in Hatchlings whereas Probing is done in grown on/adult snakes. Either technique should only be done by an experienced snake keeper or specialist reptile shop that know what they are doing as injury can be caused to your snake if not done correctly.


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