• Ark Animals

Corn Snake Care Guide

Updated: Mar 11

The Species: Corn Snakes (Pantherophis guttatus), also known as Red Rat Snakes are very common reptiles to keep as pets and are often considered to be one of the best beginner snakes to own. These animals are native to North America, usually inhabiting farmland, crop fields and barns since adapting to a human society. These snakes are slowly becoming invasive within the UK after being dumped in the wild. These snakes are solitary by nature however they can cohabitate with others if a large enough enclosure is provided.

Enclosure: Corn Snakes are terrestrial and should not be housed in an enclosure too big for them as it can make them feel vulnerable and can put them off feeding, a general rule to follow is to make sure the enclosure is large enough for the snake's body to create an L shape around 2 sides of the enclosure. As adults a suitable size enclosure is 4x2x2ft. Being an arid species, these animals need suitable substrate made from either sand or an arid earth. Recommended substrates are ProRep Leo Life or Arcadia Arid Earth Mix however other alternatives like aspen work as well. Tropical substrates, calcisand and newspaper are considered unacceptable substrates to use. Reptile Carpet, paper towels and newspaper is acceptable if quarantining or rehabilitating these animals.

It is important to provide these pythons with lots of hides and decor so that they can choose different spots to sit whilst still being able to feel secure. Foliage to slither through and branches to climb are also important as it allows them to exhibit natural behaviours as well as a large water bowl, big enough for them to submerge themselves in.

Heating: These animals should be kept at a temperature range of 25-30 degrees celcius (77-86 degrees farenheight). They should be provided with a hot and cool end with a basking spot to reach peak temperatures. Unless being housed in a plastic rub, heating should be provided by a heat lamp on a thermostat with a cage guarding the lamp to prevent the animal from burning themselves, all heating should be on a 12 hour cycle, turning off at night to provide a natural drop in temperature. If they are being housed in a rub, a heat mat can be used as long as it cover no larger than half the size of the enclosure and is controlled by a mat stat.

Lighting: Although a lot of sources will say they do not require UVB lighting, evidence has shown that Colorbrids such as Corn Snakes and King Snakes do indeed need UVB lighting whereas some other snake species do not. These snakes should have a minimum of 6% to a maximum of 12% UVB and all lighting should be on a 12 hour cycle. It is important to make sure that the lighting is guarded using a cage to protect the animals from burning themselves.

Humidity: Being an arid species, Corn Snakes require very low amounts of humidity at 40-50%. Ideally the humidity should be raised to the higher percentage closer to 50% when the animal is shedding as it can help with the process.

Diet: Snakes are natural carnivores and primarily feed on rodents and other small mammals, as juveniles, they should be fed appropriate sized mice/rats once a week, as adults they should have a maximum of a Large or XL Mouse rat every 7 days. The food should be bought frozen a thawed out before feeding, many snakes will only eat if the food is heated up in warm water before feeding as snakes use heat sensors to hunt.

Water is also an extremely important aspect to an animals diet and constant water access should be provided in a water bowl and should be changed daily, we generally recommend RO water or mineral water due to tap water containing chlorine which can be harmful to some animals.

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