Cornsnakes and Ratsnakes

Cornsnake Caresheet at the end of page:


Pantherophis guttata guttata


Female: Purchased from JR

soleil again 020



Male:Wild caught rescue

cornsnakes and serena 019




Wildcaught male

From Tony Bell

Carl 009




Black Ratsnake

Pantherophis obsoleta

Wildcaught rescue

snakes with lloyd 034

Cornsnake Caresheet

Congratulations on purchasing your corn snake! It is recommended that you leave your new snake completely alone without handling for at least 3 days to allow it time to acclimate to it’s new home. Young hatchling cornsnakes can be housed in Rubbermaid plastic shoebox containers. Holes will need to be drilled into the sides to provide air. To heat, an under tank heater available from any pet supply shop that caters to reptiles can be placed under one end. This can be applied directly to the bottom, or it can be attached to a piece of tile or glass and then placed underneath. You will need a thermometer to make sure your temperature on the warm side at the substrate level is not too hot. 85 degrees is optimum with a cooler side of mid 70’s on the other end. Avoid the stick on type thermometers as they tend to read the temperature of the tank side. If the temperature at the substrate is too high, you can purchase a cheap thermostat to keep the temperature where you want it. Zoo Med makes a thermostat for about $15. Adult corns will need a tank or tub of about 30 gal. Do not use heat rocks!!!! You can line the bottom of your new viv with paper towel, newspaper, or any commercially available substrate such as shredded aspen, repti-bark, coconut husk, or carefresh. I personally prefer shredded aspen as it looks nice and makes it easy to spot poop for cleaning. Never use pine, eucalyptus, sand, or cedar as a bedding. Make sure to have a bowl of fresh water available at all times and at least two hides, one on the cool, and one on the warm side. Hides can be anything, from elaborate store bought reptile hider caves, to something as simple as a paper towel tube cut in half. My snakes love a Kleenex box with a hole cut in the side to enter. Ceramic planters with a hole made in them also work well. Watch for sharp edges! Hatchlings on pinkies should be fed every 5-7 days. If you have aspen, or other ingestible substrate, you should place your snake in a separate container to feed. I use a box lined with paper towel. Place the snake in, then give them the pinky. Once the snake has eaten the mouse and it’s well down in the body, gently return it to the viv. Do not handle for 48 hours to allow time for digestion. Once young snakes are on fuzzies, I usually go to a once a week feeding schedule. Adults can be fed every 2 weeks. It is recommended that you feed frozen/thawed to avoid injuries from teeth and the parasites that many rodents may have. F/T mice can be ordered online, or check with your local petstore. Follow the directions on the tub or paper that comes with them.
Young snakes shed more often than adults, usually about once a month. When and if you notice¬†your snake in “blue” you might want to increase the humidity slightly. A snake in Blue will look dull and the eyes will appear blue colored. After a few days, they will clear again, and then within 3-5 days, they will shed. I often mist the cage once a day from the time they appear ready to shed until they do. You can also make a humid hide by placing damp moss into a hider for them to hang out in. Once they shed, it’s important that you inspect the snake to be sure that it has shed completely. The tail tip often fails to lose the shed and if left on will cause the tail tip to die and come off. If you notice a bit of shed on there, you can take a piece of wet paper towel and soak the area and then gently help it off by rubbing it or working at the shed until it is removed. Now would be a good time for those pictures! Nothing is prettier than a freshly shed snake! I highly recommend the purchase of “Corn Snakes: The Comprehensive Owner’s Guide,” by Kathy Love. Also you can get to the Cornsnake forum at, both are excellent resources for anything corn snake and the forum is the perfect place to get quick answers for anything. Welcome to the addicting world of Cornsnakes!

Meg Francoeur

Francoeur Arboreals