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
Brilliant pets for first time keepers!
Snakes... Specifically corn snakes... A-MAZING first time pets! These animals are low maintenance, grow reasonably slowly, eat once per week/bi-weekly, poop once a week/bi-weekly, and provide companionship like any other pet would. Keeping them is reasonably simple, all reptiles require some form of heat source, and this heat source can be via a bulb or a mat. All hear sources should be controlled by a thermostat to regulate the temperature, many shops/sellers fail to mention thermostats, but this can be vital to the health and survival of your snake. No thermostat means the heat sources can overheat and burn your snake... heat bulbs should also have a cage around them, as corn snakes will go to the closest heat source when they need it, and may touch/wrap around the bulb itself causing burns. Feeding... Cheap, easy, and not an every day job! Corn snakes will eat once per week, and can even eat once per month as they grow. This means you only have to feed them once, how easy is that? Because they don't eat often, they also don't poop often too! Cleaning them out can be a once-per-month mission! These animals are relatively placid, and enjoy being handled to some extent. Many of the snakes I have personally owned and bred throughout my 10 years of keeping have enjoyed being wrapped around my wrist throughout the day, as long as they don't drop too cold. Consider a corn snake as your first pet, or as an addition to your family! .
From CharlieLouM Oct 14 2018 2:01PM
UG feeder mice - mixed feelings
I have mixed feelings about UG feeder mice products. I have used several different sizes as my corn snake grows. I do prefer a frozen mouse versus live because they are safer for the snake. The mice sometimes are somewhat deformed or squished in packaging. I have received mice with organs popped out. This makes them a little messier while defrosting - my snake does not mind. I also have a problem with shipping and getting them quickly so they do not thaw. .
From Ame Vanorio 213 days ago
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