What should be considered when keeping corn snakes? Are they suitable for beginners, how big should the terrarium be? What are the costs for the owner?
There are a few things to consider when it comes to keeping them appropriately. You can find everything about keeping a corn snake here.
The corn snake is a medium-sized North American climbing snake, and it is also non-toxic.
The average size is 80 to 130 cm, but adult animals can also be 180 cm in length. The corn snake has a life expectancy of 20 years.
As a rule, the corn snake has a white belly and reddish to brownish markings on a brown to deep red background. The colour of the corn snake is very variable.
In principle, the animals have slim bodies and relatively small heads.
The corn snake is crepuscular and nocturnal and feeds on small reptiles, amphibians and mammals. Birds are also on their menu.
How to keep the corn snake – also for beginners?
The corn snake is the most common snake kept in terrariums. Due to its comparatively uncomplicated posture, it is extremely popular with beginners in particular.
Only the king snake enjoys similar popularity. Of course, there is a lot to consider, but the corn snake can be absolutely recommended for beginners in terrorists.
In their essence, corn snakes are extremely peaceful, balanced and easy to care for.
Further information can be found in the text Buying a snake – what you should pay attention to. Further information can be found in the article Buying reptiles for beginners.
Keeping corn snakes in pairs – is that possible?
It is possible to keep two male or female corn snakes in one terrarium.
However, this does not correspond to the natural behaviour of the corn snake, since it is a solitary animal.
Experts, therefore, recommend keeping a corn snake.
Demands on the terrarium
There are a few things to consider in the terrarium for the corn snake. This concerns the size, the equipment, light and temperature, the humidity and the substrate.
Corn snake attitude – the size of the terrarium
Young animals can still be kept in a plastic container. A box with a footprint of 30 × 20 cm would be sufficient. With a juvenile corn snake, the terrarium should already have a size of 60x40x40 cm.
For adult corn snakes, the recommended terrarium size depends on the length and number of animals. For an adult animal, the terrarium should have at least the following dimensions: 100x50x50-80 cm.
If two corn snakes are kept or an animal measures longer than 100 cm, this should also be taken into account when choosing the terrarium. In this case, a pool with a size of 100-120x50x60-100 cm is recommended.
Corn snake keeping – equipment of the terrarium
The terrarium should be able to keep a corn snake species-appropriate. The lighting of the terrarium is very important, you shouldn’t skimp on this.
The basic lighting can be provided by fluorescent tubes. There is also a heat spot, here power of 100 W is recommended.
The duration of the lighting can be regulated with a timer, so the natural adjustment to the seasons is no problem.
It is very important that the animals in the terrarium have opportunities to climb. It is important to fasten the branches so that the animals do not get injured by falling.
Vines or cork oak branches, for example, are very popular. A water vessel is required for this and corn snakes also need several options for hiding.
The hiding place should be dark so that the animals do not feel observed. We recommend one hiding place in the cool and another in the warm.
The warm hiding place should be close to the sunspot. A good option is bark bark.
Keeping corn snake: light and temperature in the terrarium
The day temperature in the terrarium should be at 24-27 ° C. It is important that there is a temperature gradient in the terrarium. Outside of hibernation, the temperature should be 18-20 ° C at night.
Sometimes corn snakes like to retreat to a cooler place. First and foremost, the temperatures should be achieved by radiators, the floor can be heated to 26 ° C by means of floor mats, controlled by a thermostat.
The lighting should also simulate the day-to-night rhythm. In summer 14-16 his recommended, in autumn and winter, the lighting is clearly lowered.
The humidity in the terrarium
Corn snakes prefer a rather dry terrain. Therefore it is sufficient to spray the terrarium with water 2-3 times a week. The animals themselves should not be sprayed with water.
The soil should also be kept dry because permanently moist soil can lead to skin problems in the corn snake.
The terrarium can be sprayed more frequently before moulting. A wet box can also be used. It is a container adapted to the size of the animal with a moist substrate and a loophole.
Keeping corn snake – the substrate in the terrarium
The choice of the substrate is of great importance and is often neglected by beginners. The soil substrate should have the following properties:
- Low in germs
- Free from fertilizers
- Good thermal conductivity
- The corn snake must be able to excrete the soil substrate
A substrate made from beech shavings is not recommended as it can cause an intestinal obstruction if swallowed. The following concentrates can be recommended:
- Fine-grained bark litter
- Bark mulch
- Animal welfare great
- Moss and pressed terrarium soil
The care of the terrarium and the care of the corn snake
The terrarium should be cleaned daily for excrement, leftover food and moulting. The water container should be cleaned daily and filled with fresh water.
It is also recommended to check the health of the animals daily. Are there difficulties with moulting or have you experienced feeding disorders?
Have the faeces or mucous membranes changed? If necessary, the animal should be examined by a veterinarian. In addition, a faecal examination for endoparasites should be carried out once a year.
Corn snakes can transmit Salmonella to the keeper. For this reason, hands should be washed thoroughly after cleaning.
The hibernation of corn snakes
What does hibernation look like in corn snakes? What do you have to watch out for? Corn snakes hibernate for around 3 months.
In winter, the lighting is 6-8 hours per day, the temperature in the terrarium should be between 7 and 12 ° C.
The animals must be provided with fresh water, but feeding should not take place during hibernation.
Corn snake husbandry – what are the costs?
The biggest cost point in keeping the corn snake is the terrarium with the associated equipment. Some accessories are required for species-appropriate husbandry.
Here is an overview of the top 5 terrariums.
The acquisition costs for the animal are approximately between 30 and 100 EUR. The costs for the terrarium with the associated equipment can quickly amount to between 500 and 1000 EUR.
In addition, there are occasional visits to the vet, the monthly lighting and also the feeding. Here you should calculate with 20-40 EUR per month.
Feeding corn snakes
Young corn snakes should be fed weekly. For adult animals, feeding every 2 weeks is appropriate.
Corn snakes feed primarily on small vertebrates (mice). Frost mice, which are brought to a body temperature of 35-40 ° C before feeding, are very popular.
It is advisable to weigh the animals from time to time. In this way, it can be checked whether the animals have received sufficient feed.
When keeping several animals, it is possible to feed individual specimens in a box during feeding. After eating, the animals need several days of rest and, above all, freshwater.
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The corn snake attitude in rental apartments
Is it allowed to keep corn snakes in rented apartments – yes or no? This point should be clarified in advance with the landlord in order to avoid legal consequences.
A detailed discussion with the landlord is recommended. It should be ensured that the position of the snake does not affect the roommates and the apartment.
Adders do not pose a threat, nor do they cause any odour or noise pollution. Theoretically, keeping corn snakes in an apartment is not a problem.
In the beginning, however, there is a clarifying discussion with the landlord and also the roommates.
Corn snake keeping – mandatory registration in Austria and Germany?
The corn snake is not listed in current protection agreements. This means that it is not a protected species and is not threatened with extinction. Therefore, the keeping of this animal is not notifiable.
If you want to buy a corn snake, you should still think about keeping it appropriately. Even animals that are not under official protection deserve and need appropriate treatment.
FAQ: Frequently asked questions
How often should you feed the corn snake?
A healthy, fully grown corn snake is usually fed every 2 to 3 weeks, with young animals a weekly interval is recommended.
How old does a corn snake get?
She will be 6 to 8 years old.
How long can a corn snake go without eating?
Snakes can go without food for up to a year.
How poisonous is a corn snake?
The corn snake is not poisonous.
How much does a corn snake cost?
Between 30 and 100 euros.
How big should the terrarium be for a corn snake?
For a single animal, you should have a terrarium with at least the dimensions 100 X 50 X 50-80 cm.
How old does a corn snake get in the terrarium?
15 to 20 years.
What do I need to hold a corn snake?
Radiant heaters with UV component for heating to approx. 25 to 30 ° C (10-12 hours during the day)
spots, local floor heating, heating plates or heatable stones for “sunbathing” (during the day)
If necessary, cooling systems for cooling to 20 ° C (at night ) or for winter rest
thermometer and hygrometer at least two locations, as well as timers
air humidifier or at least one spray bottle for manual humidification to approx. 50 – 60% humidity (never spray the animals directly!)