Acquired: Pet store
Collingswood, New Jersey, United States
Posted Sep 14, 2018
I feel like almost everything I have to share about corn snake care will sound basic or common sense - so easy is this breed to raise. Corn snakes are actually indigenous to a decent chunk of the eastern seaboard, and are found in the wild as far north as my home state of New Jersey, which is something to consider when it comes to habitat and temperature. Of course, any good parent could use a few tips and tricks to take care of a new pet, and hopefully I can provide.
My buddy is a year-old corn snake that is a combination of a ghost morph (amelanistic - just shades of grey) and bloodred morph (gives him a pinkish hue, white belly with no markings, and lovely yellow stripe on the sides of his neck. He's ridiculously tolerant of human handling - he has never hissed, struck, or shaken his tail at me (apparently, some smaller snakes have rattler aspirations!) - hence his name, Casper the Friendly Ghost Snake.
Corn snakes do not need specific lighting - just the general day/night cycle. I have seen reports of activity all over this day/night cycle, with diurnal, nocturnal, and crepuscular preferences all well-represented in the Facebook forum I follow called "Corn Snakes Rule". Casper is decidedly crepuscular (there is your vocabulary word for the day!), strongly preferring to be active and visible at dusk. They're not the most visible pets - snakes spend most of their time trying to fit into the tightest, most private hide they can find. Careful that you don't end up with a tight space where they can wedge themselves in, but cannot wiggle out.
Also, let's get it out there - snakes eat mice. Exclusively. If that grosses you out, there's no guarantee you will get accustomed to their diet, and there is NO healthy alternative that provides all the nutrients a snake needs. On the downside, there is also no such thing as a snake treat. My partner and I, softies that we are, feel guilty when the whole furry and scaly family gets their treats and we've nothing to offer our Casper. If anything, a snake's treat is to be left alone. They are not social animals, and simply tolerate us.
So, to offer up some tips, tricks, and reminders! Firstly, like most small snakes, corn snakes are escape artists. Get a snake-proof tank with a snake-proof lid that locks or latches. Keep them far away from cats. My one kitty sees him as a living cat toy, and there was one incident with a corn snake past when his furry butt crashed through and ended up IN the tank... we never saw that snake again. Feed them frozen mice that you thaw an hour or so in advance, depending on the size of the mouse. The internet has some decent guidelines on how big a mouse you should feed the snake relative to its size, but a rule of thumb is that you should see a small mouse-shaped bump in its tummy when it's done eating - no bump, too small. Yes, corn snakes have small heads, but yes, it will be able to swallow that hopper mouse when it's about a year old. Try to feed it in a separate container from its home, as that eliminates the snake ever confusing you with its dinner when you reach in to take it out. Give it plenty of places to hide and some water, and it'll be a very... content... snake.