Keeping corn snakes: the ideal snake for the beginner
Corn snakes are one of the most popular reptiles and certainly among the most popular snakes. Their popularity is due to being easy to keep, hardy, well suited to captive conditions and being quite easy to care for.
Cornsnakes also called red corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus), corn snake, or rat snakes, are a North American species found along the east coast as far north as New Jersey and as far south as the Florida Keys.
Corn snakes, along with milk snakes and king snakes are commonly known as colubrids from their scientific classification as colubridae.
Many of the corn snakes we now see are very different from the kind you may have seen in years gone by slithering around Charlotte, North Carolina. This is due to selective breeding producing what is known as morphs.
Corn snakes can live to about 15 to 20 years, of course depending on being well looked after. They are about eight inches long as hatchlings and can grow to up to five feet long.
Often with vivariums people advise "bigger is better" which makes sense from the point of view of giving the snake plenty of room to exercise but this isn't the case with a juvenile corn snake. When you invest in a corn snake it is best to keep them in a smaller enclosure so they feel more secure and not too stressed out.
The Corn Snake Starter Kit Bronze comes with a Repti Home vivarium which is ideal for the smaller snake. For new hatchlings you can first begin with a plastic faunarium.
As with any snake, it is important to closely match the natural habitat and as anybody who has been to Georgia or Virginia or South Carolina will know, it is nice and warm generally but it's not exactly the Sahara Desert - so a hotspot should just be about 30C (88F) with the background temperature at 25-27C (80F) and at night dropping to 21C (70F). UV lighting is also not needed for these snakes and just a low level of UVA is best.
For substrates aspen bedding has often been favoured with Swell Soft Chip Bedding a popular alternative. It is best to give a softer bedding like this rather than say beech chips.
Also remember to give your snake plenty of places to hide and and provide clean drinking water and the right food and you'll have yourself a happy corn snake.