Corn Snake - Corn Snakes as Pets
A corn snake is an excellent beginner snake because they have a docile temperament. In addition, the corn snake are great ambassadors to introduce to people that are afraid of snakes. Snakes are probably one of the most misconstrue living things on earth. Their bad reputation goes back to biblical times to the stories of Adam and Eve. That is a heck of a long time to try to get rid of a bad reputation.
Even if you don't have an interest in having a snake for a pet you might want to find a pet store that will allow you ask questions, touch and hold a snake. You will have a pleasant surprise. I strongly encourage parents to introduce children to a variety of animals, especially the most misunderstood ones so that they can gain a respect for all life.
Ahh..Baby Corn Snakes
Corn snakes come in a variety of different colors and patterns. They are a member of the Elaphe Gutatta Gutatta species. The corn snake ranges from the newly hatched infant to four to five feet for a full-grown adult. They reach sexual maturity at the end of their second year to the beginning of their third year.
With all exotic pets, make sure you purchase a captive bred snake. Though corn snakes are not endangered, it is wise to leave what belongs in nature to their natural habitat. Too often, man’s greed has led to endangerment or extinction of thousands of species.
All exotic pets should be housed as close to their own natural environment as possible. Snakes are strong and can easily push open their enclosure lid and escape. It is your responsibility as an exotic pet owner to learn as much as you can about the potential pet as possible before making a purchase. Always, have their new habitat ready for them before bringing them home. Have the enclosure ready with substrate, water, hidey places, a place to climb,tank heat pad,thermometer, and a secure lid.
For a full-grown adult the smallest enclosure should be no less than 25 gallons. A glass terrarium with unyielding locking devices works fine. New hatchlings can escape through the tiniest of holes, for example the size of the hole in the straw from your soda pop at the local drive in, you got it, plug those holes up! If you have children or children visit, keep the enclosure locked. Make sure there is good ventilation.
Snakes are reptiles and reptiles are ectotherms the simple meaning is that their surrounding environment determines their temperature. They need heat to be active and to digest food. Place a tank heat pad under one-half of the tank, this keeps one side cooler so that your snake can regulate its body temperature. The range from one side of the enclosure to the other should be approximately 82-88 degrees at the warm end to 70 to 82 degrees. A snake can get a nasty burn from heat rocks please do not use them. A thermometer is a necessary piece of equipment to keep your snake healthy.
The enclosure needs substrate to closely resemble their natural environment as possible. Do not use sand, cedar nor pine shavings. Cedar has volatile oils than will kill your snake; this is a substrate that should never be used with any animal. Pine also has harmful oils, not nearly as much as cedar but I personally don’t approve of it for a corn snakes especially in a glass terrarium where there is less airflow.
There are commercial substrates, or use aspen shavings, Astroturf, paper towels, reptibark, the point being the substrates needs to be changed or cleaned frequently but it also needs to be a safe choice for your corn snake. So choose something affordable so that you can afford to change it frequently.
Snakes will spend a great deal of time hiding. It is best to put his hidey place in the cooler end of the enclosure. Two is better; one can be at the warmer end. As all animals and people each have its own personality, some will hide far less than others will. Hollow logs and other commercial hideys are available or a simple paper towel tube can be used but changed frequently. A climbing branch should be placed toward the middle they love to climb, but remember how strong the snake is and how easily it can escape. In the wild, corn snakes are superb climbers, often found high in trees.
Corn snakes like to immerse themselves in water, choose a container to fit the size of the snake. I have a cupboard full of plastic containers, one of those things husbands never understand. He often asks why do you need so many containers and why will the lids never fit the containers? That can only be answered on the same scale as missing socks in the dryer, perhaps sock gods. Who knows, but the right size for a 30-inch juvenile would be similar to an eight-ounce Cool Whip container, change sizes according to size of snake. Do not use chlorinated tap water. I have well water, but with reptiles, hermit crabs and many other exotic pets I still don’t trust the possibility of impurities so I use bottled water, but not distilled water. (I nolonger have well water and now use a Brita filter).
In the corn snakes natural environment they will coil around their live prey until they suffocate it. They swallow their food whole. In an enclosed area, live food could injure your snake. They will eat, and should only be fed killed food. An active snake will eat every week to 10 days or so.
New hatchlings will eat the smallest pinkie mouse obtainable. In the wild, they eat small lizards and a variety of other small food prey. A live mouse can be prekilled. Frozen mice in a variety of sizes can be purchased quite reasonably. Of course, thaw the mouse before feeding. Thaw it completely in warm water before feeding so that the mouse is warmed through. Throw away any uneaten food promptly. Do not refreeze. Fed too large of a size of a mouse may cause the snake to vomit. Fed too small of a mouse will cause stunted growth. Rule of thumb feed a mouse about the size of the widest girth of the snake. A snake will
regurgitate a mouse if the snake is too cold or is shedding or it can be a sign of illness. Take your snake to a veterinarian that specializes in reptiles. Snakes need special care during shedding. Because of the critical nature of shedding, it is best to ask the advice of a veterinarian.
The cost of the care of any pet should be taken into consideration before purchase. This includes the cost of medical care. Veterinarians are becoming very expensive. When I lived in the mid west, at least they were affordable. Since living in California the cost of vets are outrageous. This has curbed the number of pets that I have. Nor, am I still able to take pets I find injured to the vet. (Side note, thank goodness I no longer liver in sunny Cal)
With any pet, it takes time to properly take care of them. Above all else, enjoy your pet!
My Reptiles Articles - Reptile Care Articles
***Gecko - Snake - Rats - Reader's Personal Stories
***Snakes - How to Care for Snakes
Corn Snakes: The Comprehensive Owner's Guide (Herpetocultural Library, The)
EBook PDF format Ferrets: A Complete Guide
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