Cornsnake Care Sheet
Congratulations on your new pet! Care for him properly and he will give you many years of enjoyment. Please keep the deli container your snake comes in to use for feeding.
A 10 gallon tank is sufficient for about the first 1-2 years depending on growth rate. By the time your corn reaches about 2 feet in length it will ready for a 20-40 gallon. Make sure the lid is very secure, these snakes are escape artists. Your best bet is to get a tank that has a sliding, locking lid.
Shredded aspen, paper towels, or care fresh bedding are good substrates that I recommend. Other types of wood chips may be toxic. Bark bedding is difficult to clean and does not allow corns to burrow.
Of course, a water bowl that is always full of fresh water is necessary. If possible, a bowl large enough for your pet to soak in would be ideal. Tanks need to be spot cleaned as they are soiled, and occasional full change outs will be needed. How often really depends on the snake and size of the tank. Your nose should tell you when it’s time.
Corn snakes do best with a tank that is about 83 degrees on one side and in the low 70s on the other. A little warmer or cooler is OK, but a good range is necessary for your snake to choose it’s ideal temperature. I recommend setting up the tank one to two weeks prior to receiving the snake so you have time to work out any issues. A reptile heating pad either under the tank or stuck to the outside of one end of the tank should give you a good warm spot. If the heating pad is under the tank, don’t stick it to the tank until you have tested it out. Make sure it does not cover more than ¼ of the floor space. I also recommend putting coasters under each tank corner to lift the tank up a bit if you put the heater under the tank. This will help it from getting too hot. If you find it still gets too hot, you can get a thermostat to lower the temperature. I DO NOT recommend any type of heat lamp. My animals are not used to them and they can dry out the tank too much. Over the years when customers contact me because their new pet doesn’t seem to be acclimating well, almost all of them were using a heat lamp. UV lights that don’t emit heat are OK and may even been beneficial. I don’t use any artificial lighting on my snakes, but they are in a room that gets plenty of natural sunlight.
Please do not feed your new snake for the first 3 days it is home. This time is necessary for it to get used to new surroundings. Don’t mistake your snake’s exploring for signs of hunger. Feeding earlier can cause regurgitation, which is a serious problem. Once a snake regurgitates, it is not safe to feed them for another 10-14 days! It’s much safer to wait the 3 days. Unless otherwise stated, your snake is eating frozen thawed mice of appropriate size. Appropriate size is any mouse that is 1 to 1 ½ the girth of the snake. Make sure the mouse is thawed to the point of being slightly warm to the touch. I recommend feeding in a separate container. A plastic food storage container with air holes drilled in it will work great. Once you feed your snake, it is best to not handle them for 3 days. Digesting such a big meal is a lot of work for them and they will need to rest. Handling too soon after feeding can also cause them to regurgitate. You don’t have to feed exactly three days after they arrive. Wait the three days and then pick a day of the week that works best for you. It won’t hurt them at all to wait.
If your new pet, doesn’t eat it’s first meal, don’t panic. It could still be acclimating or it may be going into shed. If this happens, please try the below steps.
~Give him/her a two day break from handling.
~Right before bed, place the meal in the tank. Place it as far from the snake as possible so they don’t find it until you are gone. Put a towel over the tank and no peeking until morning.
If this doesn’t work, please contact me and I can help troubleshoot.