Corn Snake Care Guide

The Corn Snake – sometimes called the red rat snake – Pantherophis guttatus (formerly Elaphe guttata guttata) is one of the easiest snake species to maintain in captivity. Adult corns generally average lengths between 3.5 and 4.5 feet, and no other snake species in their size class rivals the variety of colors and patterns found in corns.

They are arguably the most human-tolerant snake in captivity today and are considered the number one choice for new snake owners.



We suggest reviewing the latest written data resources (Books/Internet) regarding the keeping of corn snakes before acquiring one, but keep in mind that anyone can publish anything on the World Wide Web, and much of what you find on the subject of corn snake care is not peer-approved by professional corn snake breeders and keepers.

For many obvious reasons, I recommend a captive-hatched snake over a wild one. Captive-bred corns are generally parasite and disease free, and by discouraging the sale of wild-caught corn snakes, we help reduce the wild habitat damage inflicted by snake catchers.

If you are shopping for a pet snake, and want unbiased opinions about which species a first-time snake owner should consider, contact your local zoo for their recommendations. I doubt that any of them will suggest a species other than the corn snake for first-time snake owners.

This care sheet is not intended to be a definitive corn snake information resource. Before purchasing any pet, research as much data as possible, and solicit the advice of experienced snake keepers. In addition to the books offered on this web site, the Internet offers a virtual wealth of good information, but use caution in disseminating those data.  In the absence of peer review and scientific scrutiny of Internet content, anyone can say anything about any subject.  Therefore, blend the information gathered before taking actions that could ultimately endanger the health and safety of your pets.  Question the credentials of Internet publishers, and don’t be shy to ask questions in popular (and the most active) corn snake chat forums on the web.  Remember also that veterinarians cannot diagnose and recommend treatment for your pets without a direct, hands-on examination. If you suspect your snake may be ill, solicit the services of a qualified reptile vet, since not all vets have sufficient experience with cold-blooded pets. Anyone on the Internet offering guesses as to what may be wrong with your snake is not a vet, and you, therefore, endanger the health of your snake by following their non-professional advice. Prevention is the best medicine.  Through common-sense snake husbandry practices, thousands of my customers can say they never took their snakes to a vet, and their snakes were never ill.

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Don Soderberg 
South Mountain Reptiles
Canyon Lake, TX