If you’re thinking about having a pet snake, chances are you’ve heard about corn snakes.
Thanks to their striking appearance and passive attitude, it’s easy to see why these reptiles are popular among pet snake owners. Still, there’s more to consider when deciding to grow corn snakes than a vibrant look or a nice temperament.
So, are corn snakes good pets? Are they easy to care for?
In this article, we’ll explain five reasons that make corn snakes beginner-friendly pets. We’ll also provide three caring tips to ensure your pet friend is comfortable in their new home. Let’s go!
Yes! Corn snakes are one of the most common pet snake choices for beginners, and all for good reasons. Those popular snakes are generally on the chill side. Plus, they’re low maintenance and only need a few basic requirements.
That said, having a pet snake is a huge responsibility because those animals aren’t big fans of frequent petting and handling. So, you might not be able to interact with them as much as you would like.
Before purchasing a corn snake, ask yourself a few questions to help you decide whether you’re up to having a pet snake. These considerations include:
- Are you willing to thoroughly research corn snake needs and behavior?
- Can you provide them with fresh food, even though their food might be a bit unpleasant?
- Are you okay with not petting them often?
- Can you take care of corn snakes for their entire long life span?
Aside from their calm demeanor, corn snakes have other qualities that make them a favorite for snake owners.
Let’s explain why corn snakes make good pets in further detail!
For reptile lovers, corn snakes can be eye candy, thanks to their vibrant colors and patterns.
Typically, corn snakes have an orange to yellowish-brown ground color, with darker red blotches along their entire body. Dark colors can outline the red patches or form bands, which add a nice contrast.
Carolina corn snakes are wild types that boast beautiful orange and reddish colors. Miami and Okeetee phases are breeds of the former wild type with similar shades.
However, corn snakes can come in other color and pattern forms (morphs) owing to selective breeding.
In the case of corn snakes, breeders opt to produce a variety of shapes and colors to make corn snakes visually appealing.
Here are a few corn snake morphs that don’t have red or orange shades:
- Black corn snakes
- Lavender corn snakes
- Snow corn snakes
- Charcoal corn snakes
Aside from their vibrant colors, corn snakes are medium-sized. The latter perk is helpful since you won’t need a large enclosure to contain corn snakes.
Adult corn snakes can range from 24 inches to 72 inches. That body size makes them suitable to live in terrariums. However, that’s not the only benefit of their size.
Because corn snakes aren’t too small or large, they’re usually easy to hold. Plus, they’re slender and weigh less than two pounds. So, lifting your pet snake with the right technique usually won’t be an issue.
In the wild, corn snakes can live an average of six to eight years. However, they can live even longer in captivity to reach an impressive age of 10 to 23 years!
Although uncertain, you can expect your reptile friend to be around for several years with proper care and conditions. That life span makes it perfect for pet parents looking for animal companions to look after for a long time.
As you might have known, corn snakes are popular among pet snake owners because of their calm, docile, and friendly temperament. These types of snakes don’t mind human interaction—at least after getting used to living around humans.
Corn snakes also aren’t the type to nip and bite unless provoked.
That said, danger and stress can agitate corn snakes and make them act aggressively. Just like most animals, those vibrant-looking snakes won’t hesitate to strike and attack to defend themselves.
The good news, however, is that corn snakes aren’t poisonous. Sure, a snake bite would be painful, but it’d leave you with bite scars at worst.
In general, snakes feel anxious when lifted and petted. They’ll usually hiss and bluff-strike at you when you approach them. That’s especially true if you’ve just brought your snakes to their new home. Luckily, that’s not the case with corn snakes.
Thanks to their calm nature, corn snakes might not be as defensive around you. Plus, they’re patient during handling sessions.
Of course, you can expect a few nips and bites, especially from baby corn snakes. However, once you tame those snakes and build trust, you’ll no longer face aggression.
To train corn snakes to be held, you should wait until they feel safe in their new habitat. That can take a week or two. Soon, as your pet snake starts eating regularly, it’s time for the handling sessions. When handled daily, corn snakes can respond to training within a couple of weeks!
Here’s what you need to do:
- Make sure to approach snakes confidently—sudden movement will only scare them.
- Grab your corn snake from the fattest part of its body, the middle.
- Once you’ve held them well, start petting the snake, even when they’re hissing and puffing.
- Continue touching and guiding the snake’s movement for around ten to fifteen minutes.
- After the session is done, gently place your pet snake back into its enclosure.
- Repeat the above steps daily.
Here’re three tips for growing corn snakes:
You don’t want to place your corn snake in a small terrarium with little room to move. On the other hand, an enclosure that’s too large can make corn snakes timid. As a result, they’ll hide often and show aggression.
Generally, a 10-gallon tank would fit most juvenile corn snakes. As for adult corn snakes, they’ll need a terrarium of 20 to 40 gallons, depending on their size.
Make sure the tank contains enough decor for snakes to slither over and burrow into. That’s especially true if the enclosure is large.
You should feed your pet snakes, depending on the growth phase.
As a rule of thumb, feed pinkie mice to hatchling corn snakes every five to seven days.
For juveniles, give them thawed mice twice each week. You only need to feed adult corn snakes once every seven to 14 days.
Aside from food, provide your corn snakes with clean water. On top of that, make sure the water bowl is large enough for them to bathe in.
Setting the enclosure at the right temperature and humidity is vital for your corn snake’s health.
High temperatures can cause corn snakes to overheat, which stresses them. Likewise, snakes growing in colder climates than they can tolerate might not survive.
Generally, the hot side of the enclosure should have a temperature range of 78ºF to 85ºF. On the cold side, the temperature should be between 72ºF and 80ºF.
When it comes to humidity, corn snakes survive in a range between 40% and 60%. A few percentage points above or below that range would be fine, too.
So, are corn snakes good pets?
Corn snakes are among the go-to pet snake choices for beginners. That’s because those reptiles have a few needs, like a terrarium, food, water, and proper temperature and humidity.
Besides low maintenance, corn snakes are docile and respond well to handling. Combine that with their impressive life span, vibrant colors, and moderate size; and it explains why corn snakes can make good pets.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.