Around 90 million U.S. households have some sort of pet. Many of those families have cats or dogs. But if you have a fur allergy, you might be more interested in something scalier.
That’s where adopting a corn snake can be a good idea.
But keeping your corn snake at the right temperature can be tricky.
Read on to find out what is the best temperature for a corn snake. And how else should you care for these animals?
Corn Snake Temperature
While corn snakes are one of the easiest snakes for beginners to manage, there are still a lot of factors to consider when caring for them.
Corn snakes, like many reptiles, are ectothermic. That means they need external help to regulate their body temperature.
Corn snakes require a basking area with a temperature between 85°F and 90°F (29°C – 32°C). This area should simulate the warmth of the sun and allow the snake to thermoregulate by moving closer or further away from the heat source.
The opposite side of the enclosure should be cooler, with a temperature of around 70°F to 75°F (21°C – 24°C). This allows the snake to cool down when needed.
It’s natural for temperatures to drop at night, so you can allow the temperature in the enclosure to drop a bit. It shouldn’t go below 65°F (18°C) at night.
Achieving The Right Temperature
To achieve and maintain these temperature ranges, you can use heating elements like under-tank heating pads, heat tape, ceramic heat emitters, or radiant heat panels.
Snake heat lamps are generally not recommended for corn snakes because they can be too drying and bright.
Always use thermostats with your heating elements to regulate and maintain the temperatures accurately. This prevents overheating and ensures a stable environment for your snake.
Corn Snake Humidity
Corn snakes also need a specific humidity range to stay healthy.
The humidity in a corn snake enclosure should typically be kept in the range of 40% to 60%. This range mimics the natural conditions they would encounter in their native habitat.
Adequate humidity is especially important during the shedding process. An increase in humidity (around 60% to 70%) during this time can help the snake shed its skin more easily and reduce the chances of retained shed, which can lead to health issues.
You can improve humidity by misting inside the enclosure with water. Lightly mist the substrate, decor, and walls of the enclosure.
Be sure not to make the enclosure too wet, as excessive moisture can lead to mold or bacterial growth.
The choice of substrate can also influence humidity. Substrates like cypress mulch, coconut coir, or sphagnum moss can help retain moisture and contribute to maintaining proper humidity levels.
Use a reliable hygrometer to monitor humidity levels in the enclosure. This device will help you ensure that the humidity remains within the appropriate range.
Lighting for Corn Snake Pets
Lighting is another factor to consider when you’re adopting a pet snake.
Corn snakes do not require special UVB lighting like some other reptile species, such as bearded dragons or turtles. However, they do benefit from a natural day-night light cycle for their overall well-being and to help regulate their behavior.
Use a regular day-night light cycle with a standard white light bulb or room lighting. A timer can help ensure a consistent cycle.
Ideally, you should be aiming for 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness each day. This mimics the natural light cycle and helps your corn snake establish a regular routine.
Corn snakes are primarily nocturnal or crepuscular. They’re most active during dawn and dusk. Avoid bright or strobe lights, as they can stress your snake and disrupt its natural behavior.
If you need to provide nighttime lighting for observation purposes or to check on your snake, consider using a red or blue night bulb. These bulbs emit dim light that is less likely to disturb your snake’s sleep.
Choosing The Right Tank
Just like when you’re choosing a fish tank, you need to do your research before buying a terrarium.
The size of the tank or enclosure depends on the age and size of your corn snake. For a hatchling or juvenile corn snake, a smaller enclosure like a 10-20-gallon tank is suitable.
As your snake grows, you’ll need to upgrade to a larger enclosure. For an adult corn snake, a 30-gallon or larger tank is often recommended.
Glass terrariums with secure, well-ventilated lids are a common choice for corn snakes. Alternatively, you can use plastic or PVC reptile enclosures, which are lightweight and provide good insulation.
Proper ventilation is crucial to maintain airflow and prevent stagnant air. Ensure the enclosure has ventilation holes or mesh on the sides or top. However, make sure the holes are small enough to prevent escape.
Corn snakes are known for their escape artist abilities. Ensure the enclosure has a secure, lockable lid to prevent your snake from escaping.
Corn snakes need at least two hiding spots: one on the warm side and one on the cool side of the enclosure. These spots should be snug-fitting and provide security for your snake.
Keep in mind that corn snakes can live for many years and continue to grow. Choose an enclosure that will accommodate your snake’s potential size as it matures.
Feeding a Corn Snake
Feeding a corn snake is a crucial aspect of its care, and it’s essential to provide appropriate prey items and maintain a proper feeding schedule.
Corn snakes primarily eat rodents. Frozen and thawed rodents are the safest and most convenient option for feeding. These include pinky mice, fuzzies, hoppers, and adult mice, depending on your snake’s size.
Choose prey items that are appropriately sized for your corn snake. Generally, the size of the prey should be about the same width as the snake’s widest point. For hatchlings, start with pinky mice and gradually increase the size of the prey as the snake grows.
Hatchlings and juvenile corn snakes typically require more frequent feeding than adults. Feed hatchlings every 5-7 days. As they grow, you can gradually decrease the frequency to every 7-10 days. Adult corn snakes can be fed around every two weeks.
Use feeding tongs or forceps to present the warmed prey item to your snake. Offer it from the front, allowing the snake to strike and constrict the prey.
Some snakes may prefer to eat without striking, so you can gently wiggle the prey item to mimic movement to stimulate the snake’s hunting instincts.
Once the snake has successfully captured the prey, allow it to eat without disturbance. Snakes are known for their regurgitation response if they are stressed during or after feeding.
After the snake has consumed the prey item, do not handle it for at least 24-48 hours to allow for digestion.
Keep records of your snake’s feeding schedule, including the date, prey size, and any other relevant observations. This helps track your snake’s health and behavior.
Handling a Corn Snake
Handling a corn snake can be a rewarding experience for both you and your snake. These snakes are generally docile and can become quite comfortable with human interaction if handled correctly.
Before handling your corn snake, wash your hands with mild soap and warm water. This helps remove any scents or residues that might be on your hands, which can be important to minimize stress for the snake.
Approach your snake’s enclosure calmly. Make sure your snake is aware of your presence before attempting to handle it. You can gently tap on the enclosure to alert the snake.
When you’re ready to handle your snake, use a gentle and slow approach. Use one hand to support the front third of the snake’s body and the other hand to support the middle or back third. Avoid squeezing or gripping the snake too tightly.
If your snake is new to handling or seems nervous, start with short handling sessions, perhaps just a few minutes at a time. Gradually increase the duration as the snake becomes more comfortable with being handled.
Always provide support for your snake’s entire body, especially when lifting it off the ground. This helps your snake feel secure and reduces injury risk.
Move slowly and avoid sudden movements. Corn snakes can be sensitive to rapid motions and may become stressed if you move too quickly.
Keep the handling environment calm and quiet. Loud noises and strong smells can stress your snake.
While handling your snake, pay attention to its behavior. Signs of stress can include hissing, rapid tongue-flicking, trying to escape, or musking. If your snake exhibits these signs, return it to its enclosure.
Handling your snake regularly can help it become more accustomed to being handled and less prone to stress.
What Is the Best Temperature for a Corn Snake? Now You Know
Now that you’re aware of the right temperature for a corn snake and how else to care for it, you’ll have some idea of whether or not these pets are right for your lifestyle.
Do you need more snake care advice? Do you need to know what snake supplies to pick up? Check out some of the other posts on PetMarvelous today.