Corn snakes are wonderful pets to own and love. Whether you have one at home or are thinking of getting one in the future, you should know how to care for corn snakes beforehand.
Luckily, you’ve stumbled upon this article!
Today, we’ll be showing you how to take care of your corn snake from when they’re just babies. Not just that, but we’ll also tell you what you need to keep your pet snake happy and healthy.
Get ready to embark on a beautiful, caring journey with your newly acquired corn snake!
Corn snakes are just like any other pet. Provide them with the right environment to live in and watch them thrive. Give your corn snake an adequate, vitamin-filled diet to allow them a long, prosperous life.
Baby corn snakes are no different, either. They’re sensitive creatures that require the right handling and care.
So, to help you out, we’ve tackled each element to keep in mind when loving your newborn pet snake.
Introducing a baby corn snake to a new home can be stressful. Plus, if you want your newborn pet to like its tank for a long time, it should be a proper house for him to stay in.
The ideal tank size for a baby corn snake is 18″ x 10″ x 10″ (45cm x 25cm x 25cm). These measurements allow enough space for your pet to roam around freely.
Remember not to place a baby snake in a tank that’s too big for his size. Some beginner owners fall into this trap as they assume their pet will eventually grow into it.
While a tactical move, we don’t recommend it. That’s because newborn snakes turn territorial when their enclosed space is too big for them.
We also advise against putting more than one baby corn snake in the same tank—that’s for the same reason, too. They’ll inevitably become hostile to one another and might fight for food and water.
Think of substrates as bedding for your pet snake’s home. These reptiles enjoy an enclosure that’s warm, private, and cozy. They need a safe space to shed, crawl, and eat.
With the right substrate, a baby corn snake will have the time of its life! Just stay away from beddings that are too fragrant.
Those include pine, cedar, or bark shavings and soil. Such elements can cause neurological damage to your beloved pet. Gravel is another option to avoid as well.
So, what’s the best substrate for a baby corn snake? Many say the answer is Aspen shavings since it’s budget-friendly and rather lightweight. This substrate allows your snake to burrow freely, too.
Additionally, Aspen is highly absorbent and scentless. As such, it won’t irritate your pet snake’s system. Aspen’s only downside is that it’s not moisture-friendly and will mold over time.
Replace Aspen shavings at least once or twice a week. Doing so keeps your pet’s housing clean and safe.
The tank’s bedding isn’t the only thing you need to regularly change. Your baby corn snake’s home is its sanctuary and it should always be clean.
Doing this helps prevent the formation of mold, for starters. An unclean habitat will depress your pet, too, and he might refuse to shed or eat as a result.
Add to your chore list cleaning its tank at least once every two weeks. Ideally, aim for one time each week, but that can be hard to adhere to.
That said, if your corn snake is a constant pooper, you’ll need to remove its feces and clean it more often than the recommended amount.
A few other things to keep in mind include:
- Use only antibacterial soap and warm water to wash the enclosure’s walls. Your snake has a sensitive nose and body, so be mindful of them.
- Place your pet elsewhere during the cleaning process. It could be another temporary tank—anywhere safe would do until you’re done.
- Get every nook and cranny. Replace beddings, wash off water dishes, and scrub the tank down. Do it all.
As you get to know your baby corn snake, you’ll notice that it values its privacy. All snakes, in fact, like to hide around in tight spaces.
Corn snakes need such private, hidden spots to shed their skin when the time comes.
They also use them as comfort zones when they’re stressed or sick. Often, it’s just an area for them to keep warm and enjoy their meal.
Simply, a baby snake will need a hiding spot in its new home, or it won’t feel comfortable. Without a private spot, a newborn corn snake will refuse food and might not shed.
With that in mind, provide your pet with warm hiding zones. Do so by placing a heating pad underneath them, for instance.
Examples of adept hides include:
- Low-hiding caves:
These could be resin-made or just half a coconut for creativity points!
- Enclosed caves for reptiles:
You can get these at your local pet shop or online.
- Foraged branches or cork barks:
Check if the wood is safe for your snake first.
- Trailing plants with long branches and leaves:
Get decorative ones, so long as they have an extensive surface area for your snake to crawl freely.
Snake varieties aren’t fans of eating all the time. Digestion takes a toll on their bodies. Not just that, but they often internally store their food to eat it for multiple days.
As such, only feed a baby corn snake once every 5-7 days. Having a new pet can be exciting, but try not to overfeed your snake—even if it’s out of love.
That said, what do you feed a baby corn snake?
In the wild, newborn snakes munch on newborn rats, otherwise known as Pinkies. As your corn snake grows older and bigger, it’ll need more appropriately sized rodents to feed on, though.
Luckily, Pinkies are quite easy to obtain and are readily available. Shops typically sell them frozen, and you’ll need to thaw them beforehand. Pat it dry before giving it your snake as well.
Ultimately, the corn snake shouldn’t know that the Pinkie was frozen. The weeks-old mice shouldn’t emit scents either, or that, too, will off-put your snake.
A small trick is to thaw the mice in warm water so the food is semi-warm upon serving. Doing this step encourages your snake to eat its food and enjoy it.
Avoid live mice at all costs, even if you can afford them. Live prey causes more harm to your snake than good. They’re often riddled with parasites and might make your pet sick.
Much like food, water is just as vital to your baby corn snake.
Place a suitable water dish inside the tank. Because a newborn corn snake is rather small, it might tip over the dish if it’s too light.
So, make sure you pick out a heavy one to fill up with clean water.
Additionally, remember to regularly change out the water as well. We recommend doing that daily, although you might need to replace it a few times a day too.
One thing to remember about snakes:
They’re ectothermic—all reptiles are. Their bodies don’t generate heat, so they crave it. Moreover, corn snakes are cold-blooded, too.
As a result, these snakes like having warm spots around their tanks for basking. Your corn snake will also like a few cold zones to cool down when it wants to.
In other words, the tank should have gradient temperatures. Warm areas should be around 85 to 90℉ (29-30℃), while cold spots should be between 70 and 75℉ (21-24℃).
Knowing that you have a healthy corn snake is rather easy.
For starters, when your corn snake eats and drinks during set times, as well as poops regularly, then it’s quite healthy! Your pet should drop waste 5 days after you feed it.
In case it hasn’t, it might be constipated and needs a vet’s attention.
Additionally, a healthy corn snake has clear eyes and sheds often. Your pet snake should shed once every 2-3 weeks. This frequency will reduce as it grows older, though.
A non-hostile corn snake is just as able-bodied, too. The pet should easily slither into your hands, without biting or hissing.
If your corn snake doesn’t actively try to hide from you or escape its tank, then that’s another sign it’s happy and well.
Finally, a healthy corn snake slithers around its cave and other tank decorations much of the time. When it flicks its tongue in a relaxed manner instead of a rushed one, that means it’s relaxed and stress-free, too.
You know how to care for a corn snake now—but what equipment do you need to provide your pet with the perfect home?
This section will cover the necessary tank accessories your pet’s vivarium should include.
One thing about corn snakes is that they’re pretty nifty escapists. Because their bodies are small, they can slither through the tightest openings!
As such, put mesh covers around your pet’s terrarium to prevent it from running away. It’ll properly ventilate the space as well.
Remember: clean those covers when you do your weekly vivarium maintenance.
We’ve established that your corn snake needs basking zones that’ll keep it warm when it wants to. Corn snakes usually seek out warm spots right after a meal, too, as it helps with their digestion.
Invest in a heating lamp, mat, or pad, and watch your pet thank you. Additionally, hide the pad or mat underneath the tank’s thick substrate.
One tip, though:
Avoid heating lamps if you could. They may be more convenient, but the bulb could shatter and injure or burn your pet.
You need a thermostat to monitor the thermogradient spots inside your pet’s enclosure.
Investing in a digital thermometer or a thermostat will ensure that the tank’s both warm and cold spots are within the ideal range.
Keep the vivarium away from AC drafts or radiators as they’ll mess up the environment’s equilibrium. It’ll stress out your pet too.
Corn snakes have sensitive respiratory systems. Their noses get easily irritated with aromatic scents and overwhelming odors.
A hygrometer maintains optimal humidity levels (should be around 40 to 50%).
The right moisture level will also ensure that your snake sheds its skin when it’s supposed to.
Another fact about corn snakes is that they like having both shaded and well-lit areas in their homes.
A gradient light helps snakes take in Vitamin D and store calcium in their blood. It’s how reptiles will tell night from day and regulate their body functions accordingly as well.
You can just place the tank near a window with indirect sunlight instead if you wanted to too.
Since you’ll be scrubbing and cleaning your snake’s vivarium often, get some reptile-safe cleaning products. They should be antibacterial and preferably unscented.
Absolutely! All reptile owners stress that corn snakes make for perfect pet snakes for those just starting out.
That’s because corn snakes are relatively docile and low maintenance. All they need is a good home, along with sufficient food and water.
Keeping our aforementioned advice in mind will also go a long way in keeping your pet snake happy.
It’s surprising, but corn snakes like baths too! That doesn’t mean you fully submerge them in water or scrub off their skin with soap.
On the contrary, you mist your snake with water—that’s how you properly bathe it. Additionally, only do this if your pet is facing difficulties shedding its skin.
A little water will help hydrate it and move along the shedding process.
Today we showed you how to care for corn snakes. These gentle reptiles are easy pets to love and provide for.
A properly sized tank that’s well-decorated and bedded, makes for a perfect corn snake home. The vivarium should also have multiple hiding coves and both cold as well as hot spots.
Ideal humidity levels and gradient light are other important elements to have.
Remember: Your corn snake is healthy if it sheds frequently and doesn’t display aggressive behavior. You’ll be able to handle it with little fussing, plus feed and hydrate it as well.
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.