Corn Snake- Medium
In store price: 69.99
**Read Before Purchasing**
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Hatchling corns are somewhat more fragile than adults and need more time to adjust to handling. But they are cheaper and available in many more attractive colors than adults. Babies typically grow to adult size in about 2 to 3 years, so it is worth the trouble to get exactly what you want.
Older corns are big and impressive, but their colors are often duller and darker than young adults. Healthy looking adults may be found for sale for many reasons, but as with used cars, beware of hidden flaws, such as reproductive failure. A husky, 5-foot-long corn snake may appear to be an instant breeder size-wise, but that should make you at least consider why it was not kept for breeding by the person who raised it.
The minimum size enclosure for a single adult corn snake should have the dimensions of a standard 20-gallon long aquarium—12 inches wide, 30 inches long and 12 inches tall. Plastic shoeboxes or vivaria can work for juveniles until they reach about 18 inches in length.
Resist the temptation of excessive handling with new acquisitions, especially babies. Wait for at least three days before offering food to reduce the likelihood of regurgitation from a nervous new pet.
When considering a cage, be sure the inside surface is impervious to moisture and can be cleaned. Decide how it can be heated, ventilated and whether the viewing area is satisfactory for your needs. A screen lid, or a minimum of two separate openings measuring 4 square inches, should be present on different sides of the cage for adequate air exchange. Holes should be no larger than one-eighth inch with a non-abrasive texture to avoid injury when the snake rubs against them, looking for potential escape points. Corn snakes’ climbing agility and expertise at squeezing out of tiny cracks and openings is nearly legendary. If a corn snake can escape, it will escape! Using an escape-proof enclosure must be a primary consideration when purchasing or building a home for your corn snake. Baby snakes can often escape from cages made for adults, so check carefully, especially around sliding glass doors, for any gaps.
Aspen bedding is a pale, shredded wood fiber with little dust or scent that works particularly well for cage bedding. It’s absorbent, keeping the solid and liquid portions of feces concentrated for easy scooping and removal. Aspen’s interwoven nature also allows corns to tunnel through it while exploring, providing them hiding places in the “caves” formed beneath it.
Cypress mulch (commonly used in gardening in the south) also works well because it shares many of the same properties as aspen. But not all kinds of similar mulch are good for reptiles. Avoid using any bark or resinous wood mulches, such as cedar, pine, fir and walnut, that have toxic aromas or oils; these are especially dangerous to juvenile corn snakes or snakes kept in cages with low ventilation.
Corns like to squeeze into tight, dark places in order to feel secure from predators while digesting their food, in shedding cycles, when gravid or just resting. A hide that is dark and in which the snake barely fits will provide it with the most security. If it is two or three times longer than it is wide, it can be heated via undertank heat pad or cable under one end only, leaving the snake a choice of being warm or cool without leaving its secure hide.
The simple rule to remember about maintaining proper humidity is that if the snake is having problems shedding, it is too dry. However, if there is water condensing and running down the glass, the enclosure is too wet. If neither condition occurs, your snake is probably happy with the humidity level.
Juvenile corn snakes are much more prone to desiccation than adults, especially when kept in dry climates or in air-conditioned or heated homes. Humidity may be controlled by covering varying amounts of the main ventilation areas of the cage to increase or reduce moisture loss by evaporation. Simple newspaper on top of a screen aquarium lid often works well. While some keepers may use plastic wrap, it can restrict air flow too much. Paper is recommended.
Corn snakes thrive at moderately warm temperatures in the range of 70 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Unlike humans, who have self-regulating body temperatures, snakes can’t sustain all bodily functions if kept at any one temperature constantly. Higher or lower temperatures will facilitate natural functions, such as digestion, embryo development, and parasite or infection control. Thermoregulation is the freedom-of-choice process by which snakes purposely move in and out of areas of higher or lower heat to optimize their body temperatures for various functions.
Basking in sunlight is the method corn snakes use most often in nature. Denying this vital freedom of choice is surely an important factor behind many of the health problems that arise in the often-restrictive, constant environments that many keepers provide for their pets in captivity.
The most popular method of offering heat to a limited portion of a cage is through a heating device under or inside one end of the enclosure. Use undertank heaters manufactured for herps instead of human heat pads, which are not made for constant use. Reptile heat tapes and cables are also available and are made specifically for using under plastic or glass cages. Avoid anything that would require electrical cords inside the vivarium.
Corn snakes larger than 3 feet in length feed almost exclusively on larger mice, or small rats for extremely large specimens longer than 4½ feet. Food size should be such that the stomach bulge is noticeable, but not huge, after eating. The first defecation after the most recent meal comes two to four days after eating, depending on temperature. At that point, the snake is often interested in eating again, but it’s not necessary to feed large corns immediately after they defecate. In nature, corn snakes could easily spend the next week in search of food, receiving plenty of exercise in the process. One rodent every one to two weeks is a perfectly fine feeding regimen for most healthy adult corn snakes. A good general rule of thumb is to let all snakes rest—no handling or bothering them in any way—for three days after any meal.