Corn Snake

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Corn Snake

Common Name: Corn Snake
Scientific Name: Pantherophis guttatus
Lifespan: 15-25+ years
Size: 4-5ft


The Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus) is a North American species of rat snakes. This non-venomous constrictor is native to the southeastern and central United States. They are known as “Corn Snakes” due to their regular appearance near grain stores, where they feed on the mice and rats. Corn Snakes are one of the most popular pet snakes as their care is fairly easy, they generally have a calm disposition, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.









Most Active



15-25 years


Corn Snakes hatch out at approximately 10 inches in length. Adults range from 4 to 5 feet, though some can get up to 6 feet.


In captivity, with proper care, corn snakes can live 15-25 years or more. There have been records of corn snakes even living over 30 years old.


When designing your Corn Snake’s enclosure make sure to remember that they are commonly found in rural, temperate climates. Hatchlings can be kept in a rack system or 10 gallon tank. Adults can be housed in 32 quart racks or 30”L x 12”W x 12”H tanks, but larger is ideal.

Temperature & Humidity:

Providing a heat gradient with lows in the mid 70s and a basking spot of 85 degrees Fahrenheit is very important as reptiles are cold blooded and must be able to regulate their body temperature. Humidity should be kept around 40-50 percent and increased during shedding. 

A great way to help control and maintain humidity and make your corn snake’s enclosure more natural is with Mosses. Golden Sphagnum Moss, Green Sphagnum Moss, Sheet Moss, Pillow Moss, and Royal Pillow Moss are all excellent at storing and maintaining humidity and work well with Hides to create humidity hides during shedding.


Newspaper and paper towels are the least expensive bedding, but be sure to keep a close eye on temperature and humidity as these options don’t hold up as well as other substrates. Corn Snakes love to burrow which is why Aspen is the most popular substrate for this species. Cypress Mulch, Orchid/Fir Bark, and Coco Husk are also great naturalistic substrate options that help maintain and control humidity. Lastly, Coconut Soil is another option that is very good at holding moisture. No matter what substrate you decide to use, make sure to keep an eye on humidity as too much or too little can cause problems.


Providing a safe hiding place for your Corn Snake is extremely important to the overall health of your reptile. Corn Snakes need a secure, dark cave or hide that they can retreat to in order to reduce stress and feel safe. It is best to have two hides in the enclosure with one placed on the hot side and one on the cold side. This is so the Corn Snake can properly control its temperature and feel safe no matter which side they choose. There are a variety of hides available on the market (Sapa and Moss Domes are popular naturalistic options).


Lighting is not necessary but can be used if desired. However, only use lightning up to 12 hours a day as too much lighting can be stressful.


You will want to feed your Corn Snake an appropriate sized rodent every 7 days when they are hatchlings or juveniles. “Appropriate sized” meaning the same size as the largest girth of the snake, normally the mid section. Do not handle the Corn Snake for at least a day after feeding so it can properly digest the meal. 

Feed adult Corn Snakes every 1-2 weeks. Corn Snakes are known for going off feed during winter months so do not be alarmed if your Corn Snake stops feeding for a month or two. Simply keep an eye on the snake’s overall condition and weight. Snakes generally do not eat during shed cycles.


Always provide fresh, clean water for your Corn Snake. Make sure to check water daily as snakes will occasionally defecate in their water dish. The size and style of the water dish is up to you.


After the necessities, Corn Snake enclosures can have any variety of decor that help to add enrichment. Spider Wood, Grapevine, and Driftwood are popular climbing implements that provide a different texture and aid in shedding. Natural Stones, Perches and Vines are also a great addition for general stimulation and enrichment with the added benefit of a naturalistic look.

Interesting Facts:

  • Some people maintain that corn snakes get their name from the distinctive, checkered pattern of the snake’s belly that resembles kernels of variegated corn.  
  • Corn Snakes play an extremely important role in the ecosystem by preying on rodents, which destroy crops and carry diseases.
  • There are hundreds of “morphs” available as pets. Morphs refer to the various colors and pattern mutations such as: albino, leucistic, and anerythristic. 
  • The Corn Snake is often mistaken as the venomous Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) and often killed as a result. However, corn snakes are harmless to humans and provide benefits such as controlling rodent populations. 
  • Corn Snakes are primarily terrestrial but love to burrow and climb when given the opportunity.