Corn Snakes are often demure and chill. This is actually one of the main reasons why they became quite popular as house pets.
As such, it’s not too surprising that they spend more than a little time digging tunnels or hiding. That’s perfectly normal behavior. But what if gets too frequent?
If you’re wondering; do corn snakes burrow? You’re in good company. In fact, they occasionally do. However, excessive or prolonged burrowing could signal that something is off.
Read on to know the seven main reasons why corn snakes burrow, plus, extra tips on how to make them comfortable and happy.
Corn snakes have a few quirks, and burrowing is one of them. It’s not something they’d do all the time though. So if you notice that your snake is spending all the time hiding under the substrate, then, you might want to “dig deeper” into this matter!
Here are the most common causes of the corn snake’s burrowing.
These snakes aren’t confrontational or hostile, and that’s why seeking a hiding spot is the best way for them to stay safe.
On hot summer days, the snake’s surroundings could get too hot for its liking. That’s a good reason for it to seek a cooler spot below the substrate.
This is even better if they have a shelter above that spot, which would provide extra shade.
Adjusting the tank’s temperature can be challenging in winter. Most pet snake owners would err on the side of keeping the tank at a lower temperature than a hotter one.
This arrangement is believed to be less dangerous to the snake. That’s because excessive warmth could cause unnecessary discomfort or health risks to the snake.
To counter the bite of the frosty weather, a corn snake would seek warmth within the substrate. This is often a sign to check the tank’s temperature settings.
Corn snakes might venture into hibernation as well. This isn’t too common though.
Corn snakes aren’t too fond of dryness, and they need a certain level of humidity to fare well. Usually, a humidity level ranging from 35% to 60% is suitable.
In the absence of a water sprayer or clay bowl, their environment could become arid. This could be extra annoying when they’re shedding.
A smart corn snake would sense that there is better humidity below the substrate, so it would head directly over there.
Most animals have the urge to be left alone in a remote spot when they’re sick. Interestingly, some humans share the same tendency.
Corn snakes are prone to mouth rot, which is also known as infectious stomatitis. This is a severe illness that makes feeding, drinking, or living normally terribly hard on the poor snakes.
When they feel that bad, corn snakes often seek shelter and solace in a burrow. Thus, if the digging behavior coincides with a loss of appetite, oral inflammation, and foaming at the nostrils and mouth, then you should seek veterinary help.
Shedding is a tough process that snakes go through routinely. Their scales become dry, their vision is affected, and their growing skin feels tender for weeks until it matures fully.
It’s not surprising then that they slow down gradually, and might even bring their daily activities to a halt.
Additionally, the substrate often provides a cooler and more humid surface surrounding their itchy skin.
Snakes rarely go to sleep out in the open. That would make them vulnerable and put them in grave danger if they were out in the wild.
Normally, they seek a covered spot that’s as far away as possible from any possible intrusion. A burrow is clearly a logical choice.
This should be a routine behavior, so as long as it doesn’t become too excessive, there’s nothing to worry about here.
Corn snakes are natural burrowers, and occasionally, prefer to sleep off the winter underground. That’s why it would be best to give your snake an optimal home, where it can really feel at ease.
Here are some tips for adding more comfort to your corn snake’s tank.
- First of all, check that your snake is healthy, as burrowing could be caused by sickness or anxiety.
- Adjust the tank’s temperature and humidity. These are compelling reasons that motivate snakes to start burrowing.
- Fill the tank with a suitable substrate. An astroturf lining is good. Then, you can use a loose substrate, like Aspen shavings. Aromatic shavings should be avoided, as well as sand or soil.
- Choose a Roomy Enclosure. Corn snakes live long, and they grow longer. Thus, a large tank is necessary to accommodate their burrowing habits.
- Provide a Few Hideaways. This is absolutely necessary to keep your corn snake happy!
Corn snakes are big beasts with lovely temperaments. They’re almost shy, and more often than not, they’d crawl to shelters and keep to themselves.
Some corn snakes get into the habit of burrowing, just because they like it. However, others would do so when they’re sick, anxious, or uncomfortable. There are natural causes as well, like sleeping, hibernating, or shedding.
Getting to know more about your corn snake is always good!
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.