Corn Snake

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Is the Corn Snake right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Red Rat Snake

Scientific name: Pantherophis guttatus

The basics:
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


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Helpful Corn Snake Review

Corn Snake

From CharlieLouM Oct 14 2018 2:01PM


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