Species group: Corn and Rat Snakes
Other common names: Red Rat Snake
Scientific name: Pantherophis guttatus
The Corn Snake is one of North America’s most beautifully-colored reptiles, and the world’s most popular pet snake. Suitable for novices yet interesting enough for advanced hobbyists, it is truly an ideal reptile pet.
Endemic to the USA, the Corn Snake ranges from southern New Jersey to Florida and Texas. Corn Snakes frequent forest edges, woodlots, overgrown fields and farms, and often take up residence under refuse and in abandoned buildings.
Appearance / health:
Different Corn Snake populations vary greatly in coloration, with background colors ranging from nearly red to orange, yellow and gray, and bearing black-edged red, brown, or gray blotches. Hobbyists have produced over 25 color morphs as well as hybrids with King, Gopher and Black Rat Snakes. They average 2-4 ½ feet in length, with exceptional individuals sometimes exceeding 5 feet.
Well-cared-for Corn Snakes are quite hardy, with captive longevities sometimes exceeding 20 years. “Blister disease” and other skin infections can take hold if your pet is kept in a damp terrarium, and as with most snakes they may be subject to mites or, more rarely, inclusion body disease.
Behavior / temperament:
Young Corn Snakes may be defensive, but most calm down quickly and take well to handling. However, as with all snakes, they will bite when stressed and must be handled with care.
Hatchlings may be raised in 5-10 gallon aquariums, while average-sized adults require a 20-30 gallon tank. The screen top should always be secured with clips or locks. Stout, well-anchored branches serve well as basking sites, and a hide box should always be available. Newspapers, washable terrarium liners, eucalyptus mulch or aspen bedding work well as substrates. Some types of wood chips can lodge in the mouth and cause wounds during feeding; feed your snake in a bare-bottomed enclosure to prevent this.
Ambient temperature: 77-82 F; basking temperature: 90 F. Large enclosures are necessary if a thermal gradient (areas of different temperatures) is to be established. Thermal gradients allow snakes to regulate their body temperature by moving from hot to cooler areas.
These powerful constrictors hunt on the ground and in the trees, preying upon chipmunks, mice, rats, voles, lizards, nestling birds, and bats. Pets do fine on a diet comprised solely of mice.
Corn Snakes sometimes breed without temperature manipulation, but more consistent success will be had if your pets are chilled to 50-59 F (after a 2 week fast) for 6-8 weeks. Mating occurs from March to June in most regions, with the eggs being deposited 25-50 days thereafter. A second clutch may be produced in late summer or early fall. An average clutch consists of 15 eggs, but clutch size may range from 6-26. At 82 F, incubation time averages 62 days in length. The young are 8-11 inches long upon hatching.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
calm temperament, beautiful color morphs, best starter snake, absolute favorites, easiest snake
chain pet store, clever escape artists, local pet store, upper respiratory infections, pet shops
bulk frozen rodents, colubrids, science teachers, aspen bedding, countless color morphs, Amelanistic
The Most Unusual Corn Snake
Already five and a half feet long and still growing, Pumpkin is considered somewhat abnormal in size, already larger than most in her species. Sometimes, I think she is species confused and believes she is a cat or dog; she refuses a hide, sleeps on moss, gets depressed if she doesn't have her tupperware container to snuggle herself around to sleep (out in the open, visible), and only has a couple branches and rocks for decor. The best part? She couldn't possibly be happier! She is affectionate, loving, and gets mad when we don't let her ball up in our comforter and sleep. Definitely a character, I would call Pumpkin an anomaly amongst corn snakes - you can see her thinking, I swear! Corn snakes are very, very easy to keep, and are very docile! Absolutely lovely animals and if you are looking to purchase your first snake, I highly recommend these!! .
From RiggsMortis Jan 28 2017 12:24AM
A Slithery Companion
Owning a Corn Snake was a very interesting experience. She was very chill, except first picking her up, as she was not handled enough when young. Also due to the fact that snakes always think they're being fed. After you had a hold on her though she would immediately turn docile and she loved to roam around everywhere you'd let her but eventually she would end up nuzzled somewhere under your shirt to sleep on your warm skin. Creating different habitats for her was fun and easy. Also easy to clean as she liked to potty in her water bowl/bath. It's ok, just change the water frequently. They are annoying eaters. They like the live feeder mice but not necessarily when you'd like them to eat them. And it is dangerous to leave a rodent unattended in the tank with small snakes due to the possibility of injury to the snake. And then you're stuck housing the live food. So we switched off between live and frozen mice. .
From CarrieG Feb 22 2017 4:14AM
I inherited the snake from my brother who went away to university. He had been given her by my parents for his birthday and she had even been on holiday with us - it's not sandwiches in that Tupperware. In general she was as friendly as you might expect a snake to be. However when she got jumpy and started darting I would become nervous. Then one day when I was feeding her with a deceased defrosted mouse she went for my thumb instead, well neither of us really got over that. So it was live and let live until I too got to go to university. Cornie lived on in the converted kitchen cupboard that my Grandpa made until she passed on into another snake life..
From Hairybear Jul 21 2015 5:34PM