Corn Snakes

Family: Colubridae Picture of Corn SnakesElaphe guttataPhoto Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
Latest Reader Comment - See More
Hi, I REALLY want a corn snake, but I can't seem to get over a tiny fear. I am afraid that it will bite me... would it? I mean, my brother has one, and it... (more)  Aubrey

   Some of the most beautiful snakes are Corn Snakes!

   An excellent pet for the advanced beginner, the colorful Corn Snake will tame down in a short time. They become very docile, even tempered, and tolerant of frequent handling. Corn Snakes are very hardy and easy to maintain.

For more Information on keeping Snakes see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Herptile


Geographic Distribution
Elaphe guttata
See All Data at Google Maps
Data provided by GBIF.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Genus: Elaphe
  • Species: guttata

Distribution:    Corn Snakes are found in North America. Specifically they are found in the southern and southeastern parts of the United States.

Description:   The Corn Snake will grow to a good size, between three and five feet. They can reach up six feet in the wild. They are a heavier bodied snake than the garter snake or the kingsnake, though their length is about the same. Their natural color is dark red blotches outlined in black on a deep orange background, with a black and white checkerboard pattern on the belly. Their scales are lightly keeled.

Feeding:   They are a constrictor and their diet consists of mice and other rodents, chicks, and lizards. Feed once or twice a week, depending on the size of the food and the size of the snake. As you get to know your snake, you'll learn what its feeding needs are. Fresh water in a shallow dish should always be available.

Environment:    They do not eat other snakes, and so they can be housed alone or in groups with other snakes of similar size and habits.
   You can set up their terrarium as either a woodland type, a desert type, or a combination of the two and you provide moderate humidity. See the terrarium types described under Basic Reptile and Amphibian Care for more information.
   This snake needs a hiding place and a small water dish. It also likes to climb, so a vertical or semi-vertical tree limb with some plant vining is great.

Temperature and Lighting requirements:    They do well at 75° to 85° F in the daytime, and 65° to 72° F at night. Full spectrum lighting is important for your snakes well being and its long-term maintenance. You can use a substrate heating device for basic heating. For additional heat, you can add a full spectrum incandescent daytime bulb and a blacklight bulb or red incandescent bulb for nighttime heating. Be sure you use a thermometer so you don't let the terrarium become overheated!
   For more detailed information see the Basic Reptile and Amphibian Care: Housing.

Breeding/Reproduction:
   These snakes, if not babies, need to be probe sexed for positive sex identification, and they are egg layers. They breed readily in captivity and are reproduced in many color variations.

Availability:   The naturally colored Corn Snake as well at the many colored varieties of corn snake are generally available as pets due successful captive breeding.

Author: Clarice Brough, CRS
Lastest Animal Stories on Corn Snake

Aubrey - 2010-07-01
Hi, I REALLY want a corn snake, but I can't seem to get over a tiny fear. I am afraid that it will bite me... would it? I mean, my brother has one, and it seems so nice. But I'm afraid that if I get one, it will be mean and bite me. Has anyone ever had this fear? Will a corn snake bite me, and if it does, will it hurt?

  • Anonymous - 2010-12-17
    Corn snakes are considered to be one of the most docile snakes you can own, it all depends on how you raise them though. I have owned 2 for 3 years and never been bitten. A key thing to remember though is to feed them in a different tank that what you normally keep them in, this is so they don't associate their tank with food.
  • JC - 2011-02-08
    No reason to be scared. I've only been bitten three times and that wuz when it was a hatchling and I wuz actually the one who provoked it....
  • cress - 2013-09-08
    24 yrs of cornsnake care under my belt. Never have they eaten each other. always had multiples in the same cage. even sometimes had a very small one with a large one! I very often feed them in the cage they are in unless housed with another, then i will take one out. you do not have to do anything special for them to mate. if there is a male and a female in the same cage, when they are old enough you will get eggs! ( just incubated and hatched 12 very healthy baby corns) T
  • Niki - 2013-10-21
    I have an adult that I got when he was 3 years old. Never bit me. I just got a baby born this July who hasn't yet but his sister bit me. Seriously that small didn't feel even as bad as a mosquito bite. No one likes to get bit by anything but really not that bad and cornsnakes tame very easy. That's why they are the perfect beginner snake :)
Reply
S Smith - 2007-06-21
Actually, corn snakes will eat other corn snakes, though there are many other reasons for not housing them together. They are solitary animals, and the presence of other corn snakes will stress them out, and may lead to eating problems. If you happen to get a male and a female in the same tank, they will mate and make lots of little snakes that you may not know what to do with. If they mate while they are still fairly small, the female could have egg binding problems and could die. Don't house corn snakes together.

And unlike other reptiles, corn snakes don't need full-spectrum lighting. A little filtered light from the window is all they need.


  • Francesco - 2010-05-14
    Yes that's perfectly correct I have had my corn snake for about 7 years and he has never required a light of any kind except for the window his tank sits next to, he is a fully grown male and very happy.
  • Mike - 2010-12-17
    Not entirely true, I've had 2 corn snakes for 3 years and they have always been in the same tank. I have a male and a female but if you actually want to breed them, it's kind of a drawn out process that isn't likely going to happen unless you provide the proper conditions. As for the light, that's mostly true, it all depends on where you live. I've Never had issues with my snakes wanting to hurt each other, they were from the same clutch of eggs, so they are very close to each other in size.
  • Call me Jane - 2011-01-28
    I've been told that cannibalism is rare in corn snakes, especially adults. Mine often seek out the company of their cage-mates as they are housed together in a large tank and will cram together in the same hide box rather than use the multiple (and identical) hides provided. They are healthy and eat like piglets so don't think I would say they are particularly stressed. Snakes in the wild often den together and don't seem terribly perturbed by their neighbors. None of my corn-snake owning acquaintances have ever had any trouble with co-habitating corns - aside from the obvious potential for promiscuous breeding so I would think that empiric evidence supports co-habitation.
  • sarah - 2012-02-19
    Mike is right. It is not true for one corn snakes wanting to eat another corn snakes can easly be put in a tank together. I mean if they really wanted to eat each other there would be no baby corn snakes would there and you can't just sit a corn snake by a window they need heat. I mean your house might be 85 degrees but mine is not. Sure a corn snake can survive with out proper heating and yes I agree they don't need heat bulbs but if you really care about your corn snake you sould give it all you can to keep your snake healthy. I mean almost every thing you said was wrong because I have checked every website every book wrote down so many notes and have corn snakes of my own to know your wrong
Reply
john gamble - 2010-02-27
I have an Albino corn that is now 16. My daughters friend purchased it when pencil size. I am a retired Biology teacher and had it in class until I retired. It loves being handled and only bit me once when I stupidly handled it after changing my mice bedding. He is housebroken and every few days I let him drik from the sink then place into the shower and it goes withing 5 minutes. Sanitize the floor and away you go.He loves being handled. Great snake pet.

Reply
Anonymous - 2010-11-27
I have 2 corn snakes, one is almost 1 year old and the other turned 2 today and I've been hearing you can and you can't have them together so I'm really confused.

  • TONY - 2013-07-07
    Hi, i have a red albino corn snake and a great plains rat snake together. I put the rat snake in with the corn snake as adults to see if they would get along. I did this about 2 years ago and they are still together with no problems whatsoever. Just don't feed them together, put 1 snake in another container and feed it in that container and then put it back with the other snake. King snakes and milk snakes must be kept separetly as they will eat one another.
Reply
Anonymous - 2012-02-21
Hi, just wondering if this was a good starter reptile as I have never owned one before(unless you count taking care of my cousins ball python as owning) and would really like a few. P.S.: can they be kept in a watery enviorment?

  • Clarice Brough - 2012-02-26
    There are a number of great starter reptiles that are hardy and easy to handle. First you have to decide what kind of reptile you want, a snake, a lizard or a turtle. A number of turtles can be kept in water, like the Red-earred Sliders and Painted Turtles. Some great snakes are Garter Snakes, Milk Snakes or King Snakes, and of course the Ball Python that you are already familiar with. One of the best beginner lizards is the Leopard Gecko, as well as the Bearded Dragon.

    To help you decide, here's some links: Pet Lizards: Choosing a Lizard and Lizard Care, Pet Snakes: Choosing a Snake and Snake Care, Selecting & Caring for Your Turtle or Tortoise.
Reply

Copyright © [Animal-World] 1998-2012. All rights reserved.