Caring for Your New Corn Snake
The inside scoop from Aqualand on Elaphe guttata

 
Amphibians
Axolotls
Caecilian Worm
Chaco Toad
Mud Puppies

Newts General
Newts Eastern
Newts Golden

Newts Mandarin
Salamanders
Suriname Toad
Tadpoles
Terrarium I
Terrarium II
USA Toads
Water Dogs
Misc. Toads

Frogs
Bull
Clawed
Dumpy
Dwarf
Fire-Belly
Floating
Green Tree
Leopard
Pac Man
Pipa pipa
Pyxie
Red-Eyed Tree
Tomato
Misc Frogs 
Misc Frogs II
Misc Frogs III
Misc Frogs IV

Misc Frogs V

Animals
Bunnies
Bunnies II 

Cat-N-Around Cat Club
Cat-N-Around Cat Club 2007 Annual Show
Hawkeye Cat Club 2004
Hawkeye Cat Club 2005
Chinchillas
Degus
Ferrets
Ferrets by BOB
Gerbils
Ground Squirrels
Guinea Pig
Hamsters I
Hamsters II
Hamsters III
Hamsters IV
Hamsters V
Hedgehogs
Kittens
Kids & Kittens
Mice
Mice Pets II
Parasites
Rats I
Rats II
Rats III
Rats, Hairless
S-T Opossums
Siberian Chipmunks
Sugar Gliders
Sugar Gliders II
Water Bottles

Bugs
Crabby 500
Crab 04 Results
Centipedes
Cray/Lobsters
Crayfish II
Crayfish III
Cray, Yucatan
Fiddler Crabs
Shrimp, Algae
Shrimp, Aqua
Shrimp, Orange Bee
Shrimp, Red
Shrimp, Flower

Shrimp, Ghost
Shrimp, Rudolph
Hermit Crabs
Hermit Crabs II
Madagas Roach
Mantids
Mini-Clams
Mini-Crabs
Patriot Crabs
Giant Millipedes
Red Claw Crabs
Reiman Butterfly
Spider, Black Widow
Snail, Apple
Snail, Colombian
Snail, Land
Snail, Malaysian

Snail, Mystery
Snail, Trapdoor 
Scorpions
Tarantulas
Tarantulas II
Tarantula Night 2006
TarantulaWeen VII
TarantulaWeen 9
Walking Stick
Misc. Bugs
Misc Bugs II  

Birds
Breeding Tips

Button Quail
Canaries

Cockatiels
Dove, Diamond
Dove, Ringneck
Finches
Love Birds
Parakeets
Pelleted Foods
Quaker Parrots

Parrot Pictures
Parrot Pix II

Parrot Pix III
Dave's Parrots


Lizards
Alligators
Anoles
Bearded Dragon

Beardies II
Calotes
Chamel, Jackson
Chamel, Panther
Chamel, Veiled
Crested Geckos
Gecko, Golden

Gecko, House
Gecko, Leopard
Gecko, Tokay
Horned "Toads"
Iguana New
Iguana Dragons
Iguana Q&A I
Iguana Q&A II
Iguana Training
Iguana Update
Cool Iguana Pics
Knight Anoles
Monitors, Nile

Monitors, Savana
Monitors, Water

Salmonella
Skinks
Skinks Blue-Tongue
Tegus
Uromastyx maliensis
Water Dragon
Misc Lizards
Misc Lizards 2
Misc Lizards 3
Misc Lizards 4
Misc Lizards 5

Misc Lizards 6
Misc Lizards 7
Misc Lizards 8
Misc Lizards 9
Misc Lizards 10


Snakes
Anacondas
Boa, Rosy

Boa, Red-Tail
Corn Snake
Garter Snake
Green Snake
Kids/Corn Snakes
Kids/Red-Tail Boas

Kids at Pet Expo 1

Kids at Pet Expo 2

Kids at Pet Expo 3

Kids at Pet Expo 4

Kids at Pet Expo 5
King & Milk
Python, Ball
Python, Burmese

Snakes Alive
Snakesgiving
Snakesgiving II

Misc Snake Pix
Misc Snakes II

Misc Snakes III  

Turtles/Tortoises
Box, Asian
Box, USA
Races
Snapping

Spiny

Sulcata
Water

Western Painted

Live Foods
Blackworms
Blood Worms
Br Shrimp I
Br
Shrimp II
Crayfish 1
Crayfish 2
Crayfish 3 
Crickets
Dandelions
Daphnia
Earthworms
Feeder Goldfish
Fruit Flies
Ghost Shrimp

Glass Worms

Grindal Worms
Infusoria
Mealworms
Microworms
Rosy Reds

Super Worms

Wax Worms
White Clouds

 

Decorating
Bubbles
Driftwood
Gravel
Plastic Plants
Rocks
Slow Growing Plants

Miscellaneous
Bob's Acclimation

How to Start
How to Add New Fish
How to Keep Healthy
Which Fish Get Along?
10 Questions to Ask
What is Ich?
Under Gravel Filters

Sponge Filters
Cloudy Water

Cool Water Tanks
Gravel Vacuums
Preventing Disease
Feeding to the Max
Frozen Foods
Green Water
Nasty Chemicals
Overfeeding
Power Filters
Rift Lake Salts
Quarantine Tank
Mini-Tank
2nd Av Bait

Pet World Visit
Dandelions

Aquatic Plants
Amazon Swords
More Swords
Sword Plants III

Anubias
Anacharis
Aponogetons
A. boivinianus
A. fenestralis
A. ulvaceous
Aquarium/Bog
Banana Plant
Bolbitis
Bunch
Bunch Plants II
Cryptocorynes
Crystalwort
Dwarf Lily
Grassy
Grassy II
Hornwort
Hygrophila
Lace
Java Fern I
Java Fern II
Java Fern III
Java Fern IV
Java Moss
Moss Balls
Onion
Vermiculite

Watersprite

Different Watersprite

Corn Snake Factoids

Origin

United States.  All born in captivity.

Size

Averages 24 to 42 inches when full grown.

Sexual Differences

Males not quite as large.

Temperature

75o to 80o days. A little cooler at night okay.

Attitude

Not a people biter.  Constricts rodents.

Schedule

Eats late evening or night.

Substrate

Carpet easiest to clean.

Humidity

Keep humid.  Mist occasionally.

Security

They like a hide box.

Foods

Rodents preferred.

Supplements

None needed.

Cleaning Schedule

Weekly usually suffices.

LA
Corn snakes make a great pet for anyone.


Corn Snake Name.  Corn snakes earned their name because they hang around corn cribs.  They eat the rats that eat the corn thats stored in the crib that Jack built.  Corn snakes now come in a veritable rainbow of colors plus a variety of striking patterns.  Rarer corns cost more than the common ones.  Many corn snakes contain the genetics of several strains -- heterozygous for one of the fancier varieties.

LA
Lotsa variations in corn snake colors.  All are pretty.

LA
Similar but different.

LA
Colorado corn snake.  Somewhat darker.

Really 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.

 

LA
Buncha baby snow corn snakes

Wild Snakes Protected by Iowa DNR.  Corn snakes grow wild across some 2/3 of the U.S. -- including Iowa.  They are a protected species here, but the ones you see for sale have never been in the wild (nor their parents for several generations back). 

LA
One baby corn snake

Hardy Critters.  Corn 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.

LA
Adult corn snake constricting a mouse.

LA
His weekly ration.  No vitamins or supplements needed.

LA
He thinks he's an Amazon tree boa.

LA
Very good eaters.

Easy 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.

LA
Corn snakes are very pretty.

Des Moines Ordinance.  The City of Des Moines prohibits the possession of constrictor snakes in excess of six feet in length.  

LA
You need not worry about corn snakes exceeding Des Moines regulations.

Street legal even in Des Moines – corn snakes never exceed the six-foot Des Moines limit on constrictors.  Theoretically, they can grow to six feet.  Few attain four feet.  Most max out at three feet.

LA
Corn snakes are easy to handle but hard to hold -- very wiggly and trying to shed.

LA
Corn snakes wiggle like night crawlers but rarely bite their handlers.

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.  

LA
Corn snakes do not believe in glass.  He thinks he can get out.  Keep him well covered.

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.

Additional Cautions.  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.  


LA
Just a "taste" of the corn snake colors available from time to time.  Babies cost less.

LA
You will want to feed each corn snake separately.

LA
Baby corn snake captured and released at Des Moines Water Works Park.

Jim Scharosch, February 24, 2006
That isn't a corn snake. It is a Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon). Corn snakes are not native to Iowa. The nominate species (Elaphe guttata) ranges from the New Jersey pine barrens to the tip of the Florida keys and as far west as Kentucky and eastern Louisiana. The western species (Elaphe guttata emoryi) ranges from extreme southern Nebraska south to northern Queretaro, Mexico. It ranges from the vicinity of St. Louis, Missouri in the east to near Albuquerque, New Mexico in the west.. If you are ever in need of info on which reptiles and amphibians are native to Iowa, you can look here:
http://www.herpnet.net/Iowa-Herpetology/

LA
Snow corn snake about four feet long.

LA
Corn snake about four feet long.

Frozen Food.  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.)  LA 

LA
3-foot "candy cane" corn snake.

LA
Close up of same "candy cane" dude.

 

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:
Origin
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).
Size
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.
Temperature
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.
Attitude
Not a people biter.  Constricts rodents. -- They CAN and DO bite humans, although their bites are harmless.
Substrate
Carpet easiest to clean. -- I have never heard of using carpet as a substrate. Kitchen towel is the easiest, aspen is preferred for adults.
Security
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.

A:  Thanks for taking the time to write.  I'll include your comments on my corn snake page along with my comments.
Origin.  Of course there are wild ones.  But the corn snakes on the market are all captive born.
Size:  Average corn snakes do not reach six feet in length.
Temperature.  Corn snakes are very flexible in their temperature needs.
Attitude.  Anacondas and tree boas are people biters.  You should still handle corn snakes carefully.
Substrate.  Carpet, towel, newspaper, aspen -- all make adequate and easy-to-clean substrates.  Are you sure you've never heard of Astro-Turf?
Security.  Some corn snake iconoclasts don't even provide one hide box. 
Every "expert" has their own bible.  Corn snakes rarely refer to these "bibles."  Lighten up, dude.  LA
 

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,
Barbara
snakearound.com

A:  Good letter.  Very informative.  I'm adding your info to my cornsnake page.  Thanks.  LA

 

© 1998, © 2003, © 2004, © 2005, © 2006, © 2009, © 2010, © 2011  LA Productions

3600 Sixth Avenue

Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues

Des Moines, IA 50313

515 283-0300

Home

Fish

Other Stuff

Anabantids
Betta Leaf 
Betta Breed 1
Betta Breed II
Betta Info
Betta  Housing
Betta Pla Kat
Choc Gourami
Climbing Perch
Gourami Pix
Kiss. Gourami
Osphronemus
Pearl Gourami
More Pearls
Paradise Fish  
Snakehead
Spawn Gourami
T. trichopterus

Catfish  
Banjo
Bullheads
Bull Sharks
Channel  
Corydoras
Cory Pics
Electric
Glass
Hoplos
Otocinclus
Pangassius
Pictus
Plecostomus
Pleco Bristle
Pleco Costly I
Pleco Costly II
Pleco Costly III
Pleco Costly IV
Pleco Costly V
Pleco Costly VI

Raphael
Red-Tail
Shovelnose
Sun
Synodontis
Synodontis petricola
Turushuki Catfish
Upside-down
Misc Catfish
Misc Catfish II
Misc Catfish III

Misc Catfish IV
Misc Catfish V

Cichlids
African I
African II
African III
African IV

Amer. Small
Amer.  Med 
Amer. Large
Angelfish I
Angelfish II
Angelfish III
Angelfish IV
More Angels
Buttikoferi

Chocolate
Chocolate Spawning
Cichlid Decor
Cichlid Food
Convicts
Convicts 2
Convicts 3
Convicts 4
Dempseys
More Dempseys
Jack Dempsey Spawn
Discus
Dither Fish
Flower Horn
Green Terror
Jaguar
More Jaguars
Jaguar Spawning

Jaguar Spawning II
Jewel Fish
Keo's Flowerhorns
Keo's Flowerhorns II
Kribensis

Oscars 1
Oscars 2
Oscars 3
Oscars 4
Oscars 5
More Oscar
More Oscar II
More Oscars III
More Oscars 2007
Peacock Bass
Red Devils
More Red Devil
 
Red Parrots

Red Parrots Spawn
Pikes
Pink Tilapia
Rams
Red Bay Snooks
Roger Stephen's Cichlids
Severums
More Severums
Severums III

Tanganyikans
Texas Cichlid
Texas Spawning

Texas Spawn II
Uarus
Misc Cichlids I
Misc Cichlids II
Misc Cichlids III
Misc Cichlids IV
Misc Cichlids V
Misc Cichlids VI
Misc Cichlids VII
Misc Cichlids VIII

Livebearer  
Guppies
Half-Beak
Mollies
Moons/Platys
Swordtails

Minnows/Tetra 
Barbs
Barbs, Black
Barbs, Gold

Barbs, Rosy
Barbs, Tiger
Barbs, Tinfoil

Danios

Distochodus
Fathead Minnows
Headstanders
Killies, Econ.
Killies, Golden
Killies, Peat
Killies, Plant
Misc Mini-Fish
Pacús 

Piranha, Black
Piranha, Red
Rainbowfish

Rainbowfish, Dwarf Neon
Rainbowfish, Irian

Silver Dollar
Tetras, Larger
Tetras, Smaller
Tetras, Spawn
Tetra, Vampire
White Clouds

Pond Fish
Carp
Channel Cat
Gold. Comets
Gold. Fantails
More Fantails
Gold. Oriental  
Gold Oriental II 
Gold. Spawn
Kloubec Koi Farm
Koi
Koi II

Koi III
Plecostomus
Shubunkins

Oddballs  
Af. Butterfly
Af. Lungfish
Af. Mudskippr
American Eel
Archer Fish

Arowana
Bichirs
Borneo Suckers
Brackish I
Brackish II
Brackish III
Brackish IV
Brackish V
Michael Troung's Pix
Butterfly/Wasp
Chameleon Fish
Chromides

Chin Alg Eater
Crazy Fish
Crocodile Fish

Datnioides

Dojo
Electric Cat
Electric Eels

Elephant Nose
Exodon paradoxus
Flounder
Gars
 
Glassfish
Goby Bumble
Goby Butterfly
Goby Dragon
Goby Misc.
Half-Beak
Knife African
Knife Clown
Knife Ghost
Loach Botias
Loach Clown
Loach Kuhli
Loach Weather
Moray Eel  
Peacock Gudgeons
Polypterids
Puffers

Ropefish
Scats
Siam Algae Eater
 
Spiny Eels 
Snakehead
Stingray
Stonefish
Wasp Fish
Wolffish
Wrest Half-Beak
Misc Mini-Fishes
Misc Odd
Misc Odd II
Misc Odd III
Misc Odd  IV

Misc Odd V

Sharks  
Bala
Black
Bull
Chinese Hi-Fin Banded
Iridescent
Red-Tail
Siam Algae Eater

Pond Info 
Blank Park Zoo
Bob Humphrey's Ponds
Cattails
Maffett Reservoir
DMACC's Pond
D.M. Botanical Center
D.M. Water Works
Dr. Ervanian's Garden
Duckweed

Dwarf Lily
Ewing Park "Pond"
Jan & Chris's Water Garden
John McDonald's Pond
Hall's Four Acres
Klines' Water Garden
Landscaper Effects
Mini-Pond Pics
Pioneer Corn's Pond
Pond Fish Predators
Pond on 38th Street 
Pond Pics
Pond Plants
More Pond Plants
Pond Plants III
Reiman Ponds
River Scenes
Riverview Island
Selin's Water Gardens
Selin's Japanese Garden
Tom's Used Cars Pond
Urbandale Duck Pond
Water Hyacinth
Water Lettuce
Wild Ponds