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Corn Snake

 (other names: Pantherophis guttatus, Pantherophis obsoletus)

Corn Snake
origin:United States of America
life expectancy:15 to 20 years (rarely 25-30)
scientific name:Elaphe guttata
family:Colubridae
dimensions:3 to 6 cm
temperature:22 to 28 °C
conservation: secure
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General Appearance [ edit ]

Corn Snakes come in a variety of colours. They are one of the most versatile snakes for producing various morphs. Dark blood red, snow corns, banded are some examples.
editing: General Appearance [ close ]
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Temperament [ edit ]

Very docile, however hatchlings can be easily agitated. They shake their tales as juveniles to let you know they are unhappy. 

They may bite fingers when feeding if the smell of the food has come in contact with you.

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Hatchlings and juveniles [ edit ]

A hatchling will need only a very small, basic set up. a shoe box, heat mat. water bowl, 2 hides (one on hot end and one on cool end) will normally suffice. try to keep hatchlings separate, as they may try to kill each other.

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Adults [ edit ]

Adult corn snakes can grow on average to about 5ft, but there are some examples of corn snakes growing to a staggering 6.1ft. However some people believe that these larger corn snakes have been cross bred with a larger but similar species.
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Housing [ edit ]

Hatchlings and juveniles

The next step up in housing a hatchling is the terrarium. It should be about 1ft x 1ft x 1/2ft roughly. Keep it set up in roughly the same way as the hatchling. The best way to know if the hatchling is ready to be upgraded is when the body is about one and a half times the length of the container.

Adults

An adult corn snake requires a vivarium between the sizes of 36" x 18" x 18" and 48" x 24" x 24". If you’re planning on housing two together (2 x female or 1 x male 1 x female, never 2 x male) then you should go for the larger side.

To heat the vivarium you should place a large heat mat at one end to create a gradient, covering about 1/3 of the floor space, you can also combine this with an overhead ceramic heat lamp. If you do choose to use a heat lamp you will need to put a guard around it to prevent burns. You should get a variable thermostat to control the temperature, and always lower it to about 24 degrees at night.

You can move a juvenile snake to one of these vivariums at about 10months of age, however they will still have a lot of growing room.

In the vivarium you will need (especially with a larger one) lots of hiding areas, you can use sand blasted grape vines, plastic plants, up turned flower pots etc... Anything you think would look good in there. If you’re planning on using something not purchased from a reputable reptile shop, you should always disinfect, by using a 10% bleach solution in a bath tub for several hours. Then rinse out thoroughly because bleach fumes are deadly.

You should always place a large water bowl in the cooler end of the vivarium, large enough for the snake to bathe in. replace the water every 2-3 days, and thoroughly clean the water bowl once a week to prevent bacteria build ups.

Substrate

Types of substrate or bedding that you can use are aspen chips, sand (not recommended) repti-carpet, newspaper and kitchen rolls. If your using kitchen roll you should replace a few days after feeding as it is very absorbent and bacteria grows rapidly, if you check regularly for faeces in the vivarium and remove it on sight, then you can use wood chippings or sand, replacing once every month or so. 
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Diet [ edit ]

Hatchlings and juveniles

Feed them on pinkie mice that have been brought frozen and defrosted (do not use a microwave)
If they refuse to eat at first, wait a few days and try again, if they are still refusing to eat then you can try making a small slit along the head or body of the pinkie using a knife, using the scent to entice the snake. If this doesn’t work, then (in your opinion) after a worrying length of time, try and offer them a live pinkie. This is the only circumstance you can legally feed a live mouse to a snake in the UK. Only use this method as a last resort, since a live mouse can defend himself and harm the snake.

Once the hatchling has eaten several times it will shed its skin, do not handle or feed for a few days prior to this, you will know when it is coming up because the eyes become a dull greyish blue colour, its skin becomes very dull and loses its shine, and it becomes very docile.  
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