Cornsnakes are by far the most common first pet snake. They are incredibly easy to care for and have a docile temperament that makes handling quite easy as well. These snakes have been selectively bred to produce a variety of color morph variations, including, but not limited to, those pictured to the right. A Cornsnake habitat can be set up beginning with a 10-gallon size, but these snakes will need to be moved into a larger habitat as they grow larger. Adults should be housed in a 40-gallon or similar size habitat. Aspen bedding is the most commonly used substrate for these snakes, though other options are available. They enjoy burrowing underneath the bedding, so a thicker layer is suggested. A water bowl large enough for soaking should be provided and at least one hiding place. Many Cornsnakes enjoy climbing and hiding in elevated areas, especially as babies. Providing a basking area between 85-90 degrees during the daytime can help encourage the snake to come out of hiding. Natural Habitat:
Corn snakes are commonly found in the southeastern part of the United States. Their range begins in New Jersey and goes as far south as the Keys in Florida; it then extends as far west as Texas. They are found in forests from Sea level to 6,000 feet. They are most commonly found in abandoned farmhouses, where rats and mice are found corn snakes can be found. Enclosure Requirements:
It is easy and pretty affordable to provide enclosures for corn snakes. Babies (8 to 10 inches) to juveniles (10"-20") can be housed in Kritter Keepers or in 5_g aquariums (16"x8"x10"). When herpetoculturists start amassing large amounts of corn snakes they obtain racks and keep their small corns in shoe-sized plastic containers. I would always house them in their own cage; cannibalism, though rare, does happen at times. It is also dangerous to feed multiple snakes in the same cage. Adults are just as easy to house. The specimens from 20" to 36" inches, or even the rare 4 feet some will get can be housed in 10g aquariums (20"x10"x12"), individually of course. The commercial keepers tend to use racks with adults as well, just using larger sweaterboxes. Other Enclosure Necessities:
It is important that you provide your corn snake with a place to hide, whether its cork-bark, a half-log or even a cardboard box, because it likes places to hide when it's stressed out or even to go to sleep. It's a better idea to have two, one on the warm side of the cage and the other on the cool side. You can also add plastic plants and wooden branches. Not only will it add to the enclosure's display, but will provide the snake with climbing and hiding spots. The branches will also help your snake shed when it comes time for it. You should also place a large water dish in the cage; a dog's dish is a good size. It will add to the overall humidity, which will help with the snake's day-to-day survival but will also help the snake when it sheds. In addition, it provides the snake with the water it needs to survive. Misting the cage occasionally, about 3 times a week will add to overall humidity as well. You should mist the cage once a day when your snake is getting ready to shed which is pretty easy to tell. You will notice that when a snake is getting ready to shed, its eyes will become bluish and cloudy. Substrate:
Substrate is always a topic up for debate. No substrate is truly the right one. If you're looking for cheap and easy, go with newspapers or paper towels. If you're looking to setup a display for your corn snakes, use some kind of wood chips. I use cypress mulch for most of my reptiles but you can use repti-bark or even wood shavings, so long as the wood shavings aren't fir, pine or cedar. All of those wood shavings have chemicals that are poisonous to animals. If you want to use wood shavings, your safest bet is to go with aspen. Heating Requirements:
The optimal temperature, on the hot end of the cage for corn snakes should be about 85Á-88Á Fahrenheit. The cooler end of the cage should be 5-10Á cooler. To reach these temperatures, it is suggested to either use an under-tank (hereafter referred to as a UTH), basking lights or even ceramic heat emitters. If you use a UTH or a ceramic heat emitter it is suggested that a thermostat or a rheostat regulate them. It is always wise to have the temperatures in the cage gauged by some kind of thermometer. Food:
Corn snakes eat rodents, primarily rats and mice. The size of the food item is dependent upon the girth of the snake; it is not recommended you feed your corn snake anything bigger then the thickest part of its body. The food item should live a noticable lump in the snake; if there is no lump then the prey item was too small. This is recommended for ALL snakes. If your snake is a hatchling it should be fed every 5-6 days, but as it gets older its not really needed to feed as much since their fat stores have built up during the year. Every 10-12 days is good feeding for an adult corn snake is what some herpetoculturists do while others feed once a week.