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Swell Reptiles > Reptile Care Sheets > Corn Snakes

Corn Snake | Care Sheet


Corn Snake Scientific Name: Elaphe guttata guttata, Pantherophis Guttata Guttata
Common Name: Corn Snake, Red Rat Snake
Average Lifespan: 12-20+ Years
Hatchling Size: 9-15 inches
Adult Size: 2-6 foot
Origin: Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States


Corn snake are an excellent choice for a pet snake. Corn snakes are generally docile, relatively easy to care for, and do not get too large. However, when planning their housing care must be taken as they are excellent escape artists.

Corn snakes do make a good choice for beginners since they are easy to handle and care for. Corn snakes are mainly active around dawn, dusk and night time.


Make sure you choose a solid vivarium for your corn snake, as they will push with their noses looking for weak spots in the tank, so if you have a tank with a mesh lid make sure its either clamped down or locked with a padlock. If you have a glass door vivarium then make sure that's secure by using wedges or a lock.

A 35x18x18 inch vivarium would be big enough for one corn snake. However, if you plan on keeping more corn snakes then a bigger vivarium will be needed.

Make sure there is plenty of areas for your snake to hide during the day by providing rocks, logs, and plants would be perfect.


No Lighting is necessary.


A temperature gradient of about 21-29C (70-85F). This can be done with a heatmat that's placed under the tank or an overhead incandescent light can also be used to provide the heat gradient. Remember when using a heat mat you must always leave a cool area for your pet reptile to cool down when needed.


Newspaper, Kitchen Roll, Aspen Bedding and Cypress Bedding would be fine for your corn snake. Try to avoid using Sand, soil, corncob, cedar shavings as these are not recommended.


Corn snakes should be fed frozen and thawed mice (or small rats for larger corn snakes). Hatchlings should be started out on pinkie mice for feedings and the size of the prey should be increased as the snake grows. Young growing snakes should be fed a couple of times a week, while adults only need to be fed one appropriately sized rat every 7-10 days.

If your snake is due to shed there's a chance that their appetite will decline, don't worry about this as its natural for their appetite to decline around the time of a shed.


The Water should be kept clean and changed every 2-3 days. Snakes often defecate in their water, in which case it should be immediately cleaned. A heavy dish several inches in diameter like the Exo Terra Water Dish Large will provide a perfect water source. The reason we recommend a large water dish is because your snake might soak in the dish, before a shed to help with the process.


Your snakes vivarium should be spot checked for feces daily. Paper substrates should be changed every 5-10 days. If you conscientiously spot clean, wood based substrates can be replaced every 2 to 3 weeks. Water bowls should be cleaned and disinfected at least weekly and any uneaten dead food should be removed after 2 - 3 hours.

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