The corn snake, also known as the red rat snake, is found in North America. The corn snake is a species of rat snakes that subdue their prey through constriction. The corn snakes are beautiful creatures that come in an array of bright colors and vibrant patterns. The corn snake gets its name due to the maize like patterns on its body and as it is found in corn fields. In this article we shall learn something related to pet corn snake care.
Scientific Classification of Corn Snakes
The corn snake or Elaphe guttata is divided into two subspecies; the common corn snake and the Emory's rat snake (Great Plains rat snake). The common rat snake (Elaphe guttata guttata) is found in the southeastern United States. It has brownish orange skin with red/orange saddles. The saddles have black borders that are either black with white underbelly. The Great Plains rat snake is found in the states of America ranging from Nebraska to Texas and also in northern Mexico.
Corn Snake Habitat
The corn snakes in wild like to live in overgrown fields, forest openings, trees, abandoned buildings, farms and are even found about 6,000 feet above sea level. These snakes prefer to live on ground but can climb trees, cliffs and other elevations. The corn snakes living in cold regions hibernate during winter. In other temperate regions, they hide under logs or crevices during winter. These snakes come out of their hiding place on warm days and soak up the sun's heat. This process is called as brumation. The corn snakes become less active during winter.
Pet Corn Snake Care Guide
Corn snakes make excellent pets as they are non-venomous, docile and easy to care snakes. These snakes do not grow very big in size and thus easy to handle. However, one needs to take good corn snake care related to their housing as these reptiles are master escapees.
Corn snakes are popular pets for many first timers and experienced snake keepers. This is because of their beautiful color and patterns that are produced through selective breeding. The corn snakes can grow about 3 to 5 feet or sometimes about 6 feet in length. These snakes are inexpensive to buy but the owner has to incur significant expense for pet corn snake care. The corn snakes do not need elaborate cages, but enclosures that are escape proof. When you are choosing a snake, be sure you choose a captive bred snake. The corn snake should have clear eyes, without any cuts or scrapes over the body. The snake should have a clear vent, with no ticks or mites, that is alert and flicking its tongue. Let us now go into the details of pet corn snake care guide.
Corn Snake Housing
You need to choose about 20 gallon tank that is longer and shallower for housing a corn snake. Make sure the tank has a well fitting lid that can be clamped down and has holes for ventilation. These snakes are very good escape artists and will push the lid with their noses to find a weak spot for escaping to freedom.
Corn Snake Substrate
You can choose many substrate material for corn snake housing. The best, easiest and the cheapest choice is newspaper. It is easily available and can be cleaned as and when needed. You can even go in for pine bark chips as substrate or even Aspen shaving can be used. If the chips are soiled with feces then just scoop out the ones that need to be cleaned. But, while feeding the snake it will wise to move the snake to a different area or container to avoid the snake ingesting the shavings. Or you an use a indoor or outdoor carpet as substrate. Make sure you have two pieces of carpets in hand as you can replace the soiled carpet with the clean one. The substrate that should be avoid is use of soil, pine shavings, cedar shavings, sand or corncob.
Corn Snake Hiding Spots
You should provide your pet corn snake with good hiding spots to make the snake feel secure and give some personal space to the reptile. You should keep some cardboard boxes that are large enough for the snake to curl up. In case you are using a substrate like shavings or chips, you can place a piece of bark. This will allow the snake to burrow under the bark and hide. The hiding place should be kept in cooler and warm regions of the cage and a branch for climbing over.
Corn Snake Water Requirements
You need to provide your pet corn snake with a clean water dish at all times. The snake may defecate in the water and therefore needs to be cleaned immediately. You can even provide a soaking dish to the snake especially before shedding.
Corn Snake Temperature Requirements
The temperature gradient is one of the most important parameters in caring for a reptile. You need to maintain the cage temperature at about 70 to 85º F in daytime and 65 to 72º F at night. You can use heat pads or heat tape under the enclosure. The heat pad should be kept only in half the tank area to maintain warm and cool gradient in the enclosure. You can provide a heat gradient through an overhead incandescent light that will also serve as a basking spot. The corn snake does not require any specific lighting requirements.
Corn Snake Diet
Corn snakes are carnivores and therefore need to be fed with rodents. You can feed them pre-killed mice or small rats, if the snake is larger. Baby corn snakes or hatchlings should be given pinkie mice and the size of the prey should increase with the increase in size of the reptile. The young snakes should be fed about 2 or 3 times a week and adults need to be fed one appropriate sized prey once every week or 10 days.
Baby Corn Snake Care
Baby corn snake care requires special attention similar to other baby pets. You need to provide a baby corn snake with multiple hides than the adult corn snakes. The reason begin the baby may be fearful of the new environment. Till it gets accustomed to its new home, it will require hiding areas to feel secure. You can place one hiding place in the warmer side of the tank and one in the cooler side of the tank. You can use a simple cardboard box or paper towel roll as hide.
You may also find your baby corn snake not eating well. This is normal and once the baby snake gets accustomed and comfortable with its new home t will start eating normally. You should give the baby corn snake about 4 to 5 days to settle down. Do not begin handling it right away, allow it to get used to you and the new home. You should feed the baby corn snakes with a prey that is smaller in size. You should begin with one pinkie mouse per meal. As your pet begins to grow in size increase the meal size accordingly. The enclosure temperature should not be too hot or too cold. The cage should be about 70º on the cooler side and 80º to the warmer side.
Albino Corn Snake Care
The albino corn snake is also known as the 'red albino' or 'amelanistic' corn snake. They have striking ruby red eyes and a pattern of dark red blotches with a deep orange background with white belly. They too feed on mice and other rodents. They do well in 70 to 85º F temperature in daytime and 65 to 72º F at night. They need hiding place and water bowl at all times. You should provide them with a vertical tree climb or branch.
Snow Corn Snake Care
The snow corn snake or complete albino corn snake also makes a wonderful pet. It is same in size as the common corn snake and albino corn snake. They have ruby red eyes, pale pinkish white belly, no black or colored pigmentation or pattern. They only have a ghost hint of a pattern and the pink coloration is due to their blood. They too need to be fed with mice and rodents according to their size. They need similar cage temperature like the other corn snakes of about 70 to 85º F in daytime and 65 to 72º F at night. You can give them branches for climbing and a clean water dish. You can read more on yellow rat snake.
This was some information related to the corn snake care. These are very easy to keep snakes as pets and are not harmful in any way. With a little care and affection, you will find your snake to be a healthy and satisfied pet. You should look into the laws regarding exotic pets in your area before getting home a corn snake. You should do thorough research and study regarding pet corn snake care before getting home one. I hope this article has provided you with sufficient information related to pet corn snakes care.
By Batul Nafisa Baxamusa