for Your New Corn Snake
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Red Rat Snakes. Technically, corn snakes should be called red rat snakes (they’re mostly red and they eat
rats), but this name is usually reserved for the wild version.
Most people refer to all the varied domestic versions as corn
Snakes Protected by Iowa DNR. Corn
snakes grow wild across some 2/3 of the
snakes could probably survive just fine if they escaped into the wild.
Predators would eat the fancy colored ones first.
The plainer ones would survive to continue the species.
to Keep. Corn
snakes demand very little. Once
past their tender baby stage (when they require newborn mice), their
requirements are minimal – a little clean water, a hide box, a cage for
their own protection, and a weekly feeding of one tasty rodent.
As low maintenance pets go, it’s hard to beat a corn snake.
No Special Temp Needed. Corn snakes thrive outdoors in Iowa, so you know they can stand your average normal room temperatures. Unlike the Boas and Pythons from tropical parts of the world, corn snakes prefer from 75o to 80o during the day and five or so degrees cooler at night -- a lot like your average Iowan.
The City of
Easy to Handle at
all times really applies to corn snakes.
Always wash your hands before and after handling any snake.
Most snakes have less than perfect vision.
They hone onto their food by smell, temperature, and motion.
Never go into any snake’s cage after handling rats or mice.
If you smell like a rodent, you are
a rodent to your hungry snake.
Humidity is a Necessity. Adult
corn snakes get plenty of moisture from their water bowl.
They can soak in it or drink from it at will.
Baby corn snakes need frequent mistings or they dry out.
If you keep yours in one of the tiny deli containers, it will need
an occasional misting. Those
kept in well ventilated cages need more frequent mistings.
Some keepers provide humidity via an additional hide box full of
damp peat moss. This lets them
utilize a higher humidity area at will.
Since corn snakes feed in the evenings and at night, be extra
cautious when handling them at these times.
If in doubt, place your hand over its head.
Support your snake carefully. They
will use their teeth to keep from falling.
If you are bitten, strive not to jerk back.
You can easily break off their teeth.
Corn snakes are no threat as biters -- maybe a little threat when
shedding. They can’t
see when their eyes cloud over.
Just be careful you don’t break their tiny teeth off.
Scharosch, February 24, 2006 LA LA
Scharosch, February 24, 2006
Best of all, corn snakes easily convert to frozen foods.
This means you can feed them cootie-free rodents.
(Mites are a constant and recurring problem in rodent colonies.)
G. Walter, January 10, 2007
Hello, As a corn snake owner who stumbled upon your site, I feel it's necessary to email you about the "factoids" on the corn snake page. There are several glaring errors that could mislead somebody looking at buying one of these animals.
This information is more accurate:
United States. All born in captivity. -- This is misleading, it suggests that there are no wild corn snakes. (Although you do mention wild ones later on, I know).
Averages 24 to 42 inches when full grown. -- Corn snakes can reach lengths of SEVENTY-TWO inches, or six feet. Males typically reach 4-5 feet and females 5-6.
75o to 80o days. A little cooler at night okay. -- Corn snakes need a "warm" side of their vivarium at about 84 and a cooler side at around 78. This can be dropped by 10F at night.
Not a people biter. Constricts rodents. -- They CAN and DO bite humans, although their bites are harmless.
Carpet easiest to clean. -- I have never heard of using carpet as a substrate. Kitchen towel is the easiest, aspen is preferred for adults.
They like a hide box. -- They need two hide boxes, one on their warm
side and one on the cool.
I hope you do a little more research and I think you'll find that my corrections make your "facts" more accurate.
Joan Kelley, December1, 2010
Hi: I was reading your corn snake care page and some of the responses you received. Sometimes people can be picky about their snakes and the info passed on, however, I totally agree with your statement that corns are not people biters. While they can of course bite, it is extremely rare and harmless even if your are bitten. A pet hamster is more likely to bite. As for substrate and the comments sent to you....I have two corns who I use reptile carpet with and they seem to be quite happy with their set ups. I have two pieces for each vivarium and rotate them weekly once the snake has "pooped" and I clean out their cage. It takes but a few minutes, is easy to keep clean and attractive to look at.
A: I'll add your report to my corn snake page. LA
Barbara Velthuysen, The Netherlands, December 5, 2011
Hi, I am Barbara from The Netherlands and happened to read your caresheet about cornsnakes on the Aqualand website. Great you took the time to compose one, but even when looking at the comments made already, there is still some stuff on it that is not correct or even possibly harmful to a cornsnake.
See this piece of text;
"Since corn snakes feed in the evenings and at night, be extra cautious when handling them at these times. If in doubt, place your hand over its head. Support your snake carefully. They will use their teeth to keep from falling. If you are bitten, strive not to jerk back. You can easily break off their teeth. Corn snakes are no threat as biters -- maybe a little threat when shedding. They can’t see when their eyes cloud over. Just be careful you don’t break their tiny teeth off. "
I have not ever heared about or experienced a corn using its teeth to hold on to something to prevent falling. I have 45 corns myself at the moment and have been chatting online with many cornsnake keepers for the last 6 years so I'm pretty sure it just does not happen if they have never mentioned it. And we do all mention many things about our beloved critters, since we all keep on learning about them. No idea where you got the information, but they only use their teeth to eat and to bite in defense in rare cases. The rest of the text is fine though.
About the hides issue; the breeders/keepers that don't use hides, most probably use racks with tub drawers as housing. Those are very low so it is considered one big hide with diffferent temperature zones. They feel secure in it. If you want a cornsnake to feel secure in a regular, higher vivarium, you'd better give him a hide, and even better two hides, one at the coolest side and another on the warmest side so the snake does not have to choose between desired temperature or the need to stay hidden. I guess that must make sense? I'm 100% sure no serious breeder/keeper will deny that.
Further, cornsnakes do well with a level of humidity in between 40 - 60%, so you don't need to keep them humid, it can even cause scale rot on their bellies, which is not a good thing. A little misting now and than when the level is on the lower side, is ok though. When they are going to shed it's a good idea to mist to keep the humidity level above 40% if necessary. Babies don't need a higher humidity and do drink from and bathe in their water bowl like adults do. I have never heard of babies drying out without misting nor did I ever mist them myself. These tiny cups are more humid than a viv to start with. I have hatched, and succesfully brought up to being a stable eater and grower, about 300 of them myself I think by now, but I have also been able to see and hear about the bringing up of thousands, if not tens of thousands of them on a forum, owned by the largest (now retired) cornsnake breeder ever and visited by many other iconic ones (as well as hobbyist breeders like myself). Misting the ones in tiny cups is only useful when they are in a very low humidity area. Even than a tiny moist hide is way better since that would dry out less quickly and prevent the whole cup from getting wet. All cornsnakes need a dry spot available at all times, both with a cooler and a warmer temperature. Keeping them in anything with a wet 'floor' is surely gonna get a cornsnake in trouble!
About the temperature needs; cornsnakes won't get ill from being kept a bit too cold for a while or maybe even longer but they will grow slower and might lose appetite, and they are more prone to airway infections. If too low or too long, their digestion gets messed up which can lead to mortal problems in the end.
Why would you not educate what the ideal temps are to start with? If people are not strict with them, at least their temps come close. If the advice is not accurate to begin with, any deviation from it might turn into quite a difference from what is ideal, hence cause problems.
Lastly, younger corns are wrigglier than adults ones, most adults are not wiggly at all. Only quite young hatchlings are really wriggly. When held often the majority of them get calmer very soon.
I hope you are willing to believe me or at least to see if you can find confirmation of what I am saying, for example at www.cornsnakes.com . A few hours reading the sticky threads in the starters forum and you're done, I promise! Kind regards,
A: Good letter. Very informative. I'm adding your info to my cornsnake page. Thanks. LA
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