Corn snakes are one of the most loved pet snake species in the U.S. That’s because they look beautiful, are calm, and reach maturity pretty soon. So, exactly how fast do corn snakes grow?
Corn snakes grow at a rather fast rate of about one to two inches a month. That’s until they reach maturity. At that time, their growth starts to slow down significantly.
Keep reading to know more about how fast corn snakes grow and how big they can get.
How Fast Do Corn Snakes Grow?
Corn snakes grow at different speeds depending on a few factors, including their age. Take a look at the following table showing how large corn snakes get at different life stages.
|Baby||8–12 inches||0.2–0.3 ounces|
|6-months old||20–30 inches||0.9–1 ounce|
|One-year-old||35–40 inches||1.2–3.5 ounces|
|Two years old||Up to 60 inches||Up to 2 pounds|
How Fast Do Baby Corn Snakes Grow?
According to the previous table, you notice that baby corn snakes grow approximately one to two inches per month until they hit the two-year-old mark.
Then, between two to three years old, corn snakes become fully grown.
Ideally, a mature corn snake ends up being four to five feet long. While adult corn snakes continue to grow after becoming mature, they do that at a much slower rate.
How Large Do Corn Snakes Get?
As per the previous growth schedule, adult corn snakes can grow up to 5 feet long. However, some corn snakes stop growing without exceeding a length of two feet.
Although eating a large amount of food can lead corn snakes to reach adulthood at an earlier point in life, most of them mature at around two years old.
As corn snakes get larger, their skin remains the same size. That’s why snakes, in general, shed skin when they outgrow it.
Due to the fact that young corn snakes grow at a fast rate, they tend to shed more frequently (every few weeks) than older ones.
As they get older, and once they hit maturity, their shedding becomes less frequent (a few times each year).
How to Measure Your Corn Snake’s Size
It can be hard measuring the size of your corn snake because snakes don’t lie perfectly straight. Nonetheless, there are a few methods to try out, including
1 – Using a String
For this method, you can use a string or a thread. Hold it at the snake’s head and move it along its body, following each bend and curve until reaching the tail.
Then, to get the estimated length of your corn snake, measure that thread with a measuring tape.
2 – Using a Measuring Tape
This is almost the same as the previous method, but with using the measuring tape directly on the snake’s body.
3 – Using a Measuring Tape on a Wall
While it’s not perfectly accurate, this method can also give you a rough estimate of your corn snake’s length.
Start by hanging a measuring tape on a wall, then let your snake crawl against that wall next to the measuring tape.
What Other Factors Affect the Growth Speed of Corn Snakes?
As mentioned before, aside from the age of a corn snake, there are other factors that can affect its growth speed, which include:
1 – Gender
Generally, female corn snakes grow faster during their first year of life than male corn snakes. After one year of age, their growth rate starts slowing down.
On the contrary, male corn snakes at one year of age are much lighter than females. However, on their way to reaching two years old, they get substantially larger than female corn snakes.
Consequently, fully-grown male corn snakes are much longer and heavier than females. This means that they’ll continue to grow at a faster rate than females, even after maturity.
So, in general, larger adult corn snakes are usually males, while smaller ones are females.
How to Know Your Corn Snake’s Gender?
It’s not easy to determine your corn snake’s gender, as males and females don’t have significant differences in appearance. However, examining the tail might give you some telltales.
The tail of male corn snakes starts thick and ends in a more tapered thin tip. Female corn snakes, on the other hand, have short and thin tails with an even taper below the cloacal vent.
There are other techniques to figure out the gender of your corn snake, like probing and popping the hemipenes.
Nonetheless, you shouldn’t attempt to try them if you’re not highly experienced with snakes.
Usually, knowing your corn snake’s gender shouldn’t matter unless you’re planning to start breeding.
2 – Diet
A corn snake’s diet can hugely contribute to its growth rate, especially during the first year of its life.
This means that corn snakes that eat greater amounts than their peers are more likely to grow faster and larger.
So, if you want a bigger pet corn snake, you have to feed it more. However, you should know exactly what the right amount and type of food results in healthy growth.
After all, it’s unhealthy for corn snakes to become severely overweight.
3 – Habitat
Interestingly enough, corn snakes grow slower when they’re living in a small habitat than those that reside in a fairly larger one.
That’s why you notice that corn snakes bred in captivity are a bit smaller than their wild counterparts. This is because they typically don’t have as much space to grow freely.
Moreover, they eventually reach a smaller size than what they would’ve if they lived in a larger container.
It shouldn’t concern you, though, as the size difference isn’t that significant. However, you should be careful about keeping your corn snake in a place that’s too small for it.
4 – Genetics
Some corn snakes are naturally smaller or shorter than others. That’s merely due to their genes.
Just like humans, who might be genetically short or tall, it can be the same case with corn snakes.
What to Feed Your Corn Snake for a Healthy Growth Rate
Normally, corn snakes’ diet consists of mice (or rats) with the occasional addition of supplements and treats.
It’s better to offer your pet corn snake thawed frozen prey than live ones. That’s because they’re easier for it and for you to handle.
By offering thawed frozen prey, you skip the hassle and emotional guilt of offering live animals to your pet snake.
Additionally, you still get to provide your pet snake with the same nutritional value without endangering it (some corn snakes may get hurt trying to constrict the prey).
That said, it’s essential to know that corn snakes bred in captivity are less likely to refuse to eat thawed frozen food than wild ones. That’s because it’s what they’re used to.
Although wild corn snakes may get confused at first, they ultimately end up being ok with eating already dead food.
What to Feed Baby Corn Snakes
Well, for a start, offering thawed frozen baby mice for little snakes is perfect. Then, you get to increase the size of the prey and switch to rats as your corn snake grows up.
Rats are a bit harder to eat for small corn snakes than mice. That’s because they contain less fat and more muscle mass. Nevertheless, they’re much better for boosting their growth rate.
Having said that, there are many other food options for corn snakes, including quails, frogs, chicks, hamsters, and guinea pigs.
Be careful, though, as wild treats have a high chance of transferring diseases or parasites to your pet corn snake. That’s why it’s better to get store-bought ones.
How Often to Feed Corn Snakes
Hatchling corn snakes do great with frequent feedings of one baby mouse “pinky mouse” every five days. This should be sufficient for up to seven months of age.
That said, some pet corn snake owners choose to increase the feedings up to three times a week. After all, it depends merely on the snake’s appetite.
As corn snakes grow older, the feeding should increase in size and decrease in frequency.
Typically, up until your pet corn snake turns two years old, you should feed it every seven to ten days.
As for adult corn snakes, feedings every two to three weeks should be optimal for their growth.
How Does Not Eating Affect the Growth Rate of a Corn Snake?
Sometimes, your adult corn snake will stop eating for a while. You shouldn’t worry about that as it’s normal. That happens more often around the time when it’s getting ready to shed.
However, if this continues for more than two regular meals, you should contact your vet to rule out any possibility of your corn snake being sick.
As for younger corn snakes, refusing to eat may noticeably affect their growth rate. So, you may need to check for the reasons causing that to happen.
What Are the Best Corn Snake Habitat Conditions for a Healthy Growth Rate?
Full-grown corn snakes should be kept in a tank that’s at least 20 gallons big. You can even go bigger than that if you’re concerned that your corn snake might not be happy enough.
Overall, 40 gallons is the recommended size for an adult corn snake tank.
There are other habitat conditions that contribute to your pet corn snake’s quality of life, like ventilation, temperature, humidity, and setup.
Corn snakes are one of the best snake species to have as a pet, especially for beginners. However, how fast do corn snakes grow?
Corn snakes grow rapidly during the first two years of their lives, almost one to two inches a month until they reach maturity. Then, their growth rate slows down.
Overall, there are many factors affecting the growth of corn snakes, like gender, diet, and habitat conditions.
So, for optimal growth, you might want to consider offering the ideal conditions for your pet corn snake to grow healthy.
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.