Corn snakes are some of the most popular pet snakes thanks to their manageable size, docile nature, and minimal care requirements. They’re also a favorite because they’re pretty easy to care for, whether you’re a new or experienced reptile enthusiast!
In this article, we’ll give you a comprehensive corn snake care sheet to help your new baby corn snake thrive in its new home.
Understanding Baby Corn Snakes
Before we jump into the specifics of care, you should get to know the basics about baby corn snakes.
Hatchling corn snakes are the offspring of adult corn snakes, which are usually found in the wilds of the southeastern United States.
Pantherophis guttatus, their scientific name, comes from the unique spotting on their belly that resembles “corn!”
When born in captivity, baby corn snakes can come in a variety of colors due to selective breeding.
Some of the most common colors of captive-bred corn snakes include reds, browns, and yellows, though blacks and grays are becoming more popular with time.
Baby Corn Snake Characteristics
Corn Snake Personality
Corn snakes are one of the most docile snake species, which is why they make a perfect fur-less pet.
Though docile, baby corn snakes tend to scare more easily than adult snakes, so you always want to be gentle with them.
Corn Snakes Temperament
They’re also more likely to get stressed, so having the right enclosure setup and care routine is very important.
Stress can lead to illness quickly in corn snakes, so a comfortable environment is essential to keep them healthy.
If you take care of your new pet corn snake well, they can live anywhere between 10 and 15 years!
Will a Baby Corn Snake Bite You?
Yes, any snake can bite you but a baby Corn Snake bite probably won’t cause damage. It is still best to take care when handling any snake to avoid them having the opportunity to bite you.
Generally, a baby Corn Snake won’t be aggressive but you never know for sure so be careful! Of course, the larger the snake the worse a bite could be!
Are Baby Corn Snakes Poisonous?
No, baby Corn Snakes do not possess any dangerous venom to humans.
Baby Corn Snake Size
Baby corn snakes grow pretty quickly and usually reach adult size within just a few years. Once fully grown, the size of your snake can reach between 3 and 5 feet in maximum length!
This means it’s a good idea to upgrade the size of their enclosure as they grow. Adjusting their food items is important, too.
Baby Corn Snake Environment
Keep in mind that reptiles like corn snakes are ectotherms. That means they need an external heat source to regulate their body temperature.
In the wild, this source is often the sun, but in your home, it’ll be a heat lamp or tank heat pad.
Believe it or not, baby corn snakes don’t require large enclosures. Usually, a 10-gallon tank is sufficient for young corn snakes.
However, you do need to make sure the tank has a secure lid, as this common snake species is known to be filled with escape artists!
If you’re worried the 10-gallon tank isn’t big enough, don’t, smaller enclosures for snakes actually help prevent stress and make it easier for them to find their prey during feeding.
Your corn snake’s tank should mimic its natural habitat as much as possible. The closer you can get to these conditions, the healthier and happier your snake will be.
Consider these aspects of setting up a snake tank to give your corn snake the home it deserves.
In their home, you should create a temperature gradient by putting a heat source, such as a heat mat or heat tape, under one end of your snake’s tank.
The warm end should ideally be around 85 degrees Fahrenheit, while the cool side remains around room temperature.
Make sure the cool end of the tank doesn’t drop below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. A tank that is too cold can result in your snake getting sick.
This gradient gives your snake a range of temperatures to slither between to maintain a comfortable body temperature.
They need this belly heat to help with digestion, as well as comfort. However, we do warn against using hot rocks, as these have been known to cause burns on snakes.
Does a Baby Corn Snake Need Light?
Your snake will also need a UVB light to regulate vitamin D production and to help them absorb calcium.
In some cases, putting your tank in direct sunlight can offer some of this through natural light, but isn’t always recommended as temperatures can quickly become inconsistent.
Decorations and Hiding Spots
Regular rocks are fine to give your corn snake an enriching home, especially as they tend to use these to help with shedding.
Just make sure they aren’t directly under the heat lamp and aren’t heated internally.
Any hiding places you offer your corn snake should represent this temperature gradient as well.
Consider a hide box filled with sphagnum moss, cypress mulch, plastic plants, or reptile carpet to offer security. These materials can also help with shedding when the time comes.
As a substrate, paper towels and aspen shavings are the safest and easiest to clean. They’re also pretty cheap, which makes caring for your baby corn snake affordable.
Your snake’s tank should maintain humidity levels between 40-50% to keep their skin hydrated properly.
A shallow water dish with fresh water not only lets them drink as needed but also helps maintain this humidity level in the tank.
Depending on the humidity in the room, you may need to mist the tank a bit.
Keep a close eye on the humidity as it can change greatly depending on the time of year and if the air is running in your house.
Corn Snake Shedding
You probably already know snakes shed, but do you actually know all the details about shedding?
Shedding is a natural process for snakes but it is also an incredibly important part of their growth and development.
As snakes grow, they outgrow and discard their old skin. Aren’t you glad humans don’t do that?
You may wake up one day to find a shed skin in your snake’s enclosure to be disposed of. Other times, you may notice the beginnings of shedding on parts of your snake’s body.
Baby corn snakes will shed more often due to their rapid growth, so you’ll want to learn to monitor the shedding process.
How to Deal With the Shedding Process
Before your baby corn snake starts to shed, you may notice their eyes becoming cloudy. Snakes have an “eye cap,” a special scale that covers their eyes.
This cloudiness means it’s getting ready to shed off, too, so your snake may have trouble seeing for a bit. Limit regular handling during this time so you don’t stress them out too much!
To help with the shedding process, your snake may rub against rough surfaces like rocks or hides to “scrape” the old skin off.
Oftentimes, it looks like an inside-out sock when it fully comes off. Other times, it may tear and come off in multiple pieces.
Helping Your Baby Corn Snake Shed
If you notice any issues with your snake shedding, it may be a sign of improper humidity. Dry environments make shedding much harder.
Try to keep your corn snake especially hydrated around shedding time.
If you notice any other issues with an incomplete shed, giving your new corn snake a warm bath in a lukewarm water bowl may help soften the skin.
Gently rubbing at the skin with a soft, damp cloth can also help, but you should never pull the skin directly! This can hurt your corn snake and even lead to infection.
When in doubt, reach out to your local reptile vet to ask more questions about the snake-shedding process.
They may be able to offer further advice to help your snake have a stress-free shedding experience.
How to Feed Your Baby Corn Snake
Feeding juvenile corn snakes is a pretty straightforward process as long as you’re prepared. These snakes mostly feed on pinky mice, also known as day-old mice.
These prey items shouldn’t be any bigger than the widest part of your snake’s body, as they won’t be able to eat it safely otherwise.
Once your corn snake is an adult, it can eat adult mice. Always make sure you feed your snake the appropriate size of the prey to prevent any health issues.
While feeding live prey is an option, frozen-thawed pinkie mice are much safer as they eliminate the chance of injuries to your snake from live rodents.
Generally, you should feed your baby corn snake every 5-7 days.
Young snakes can sometimes be shy eaters, so you may want to consider giving them a separate enclosure just for feeding to encourage them.
You should also always watch your snake when eating to make sure it is eating properly.
Baby Corn Snake Health Issues
Even as babies, corn snakes are pretty hardy creatures. However, improper temperatures, diet, or living conditions can lead to many health issues including:
- Respiratory infections
- Fungal infections
- Mouth rot
Each of these conditions can become serious quickly, so contact a vet immediately if you suspect any illness in your snake. Here’s some more information on these conditions.
Please note that we are not veterinarians, and are only providing this information for educational purposes.
Respiratory Infections in Baby Corn Snakes
Respiratory infections often occur due to a lack of correct temperature and humidity in your snake’s enclosure.
If these aren’t regulated and maintained, snakes can become sick quickly. This is especially true for baby snakes, whose immune systems aren’t fully developed yet.
When enclosures are too cold or humid, bacteria can build up in your snake’s lungs to cause this infection. You’ll want to keep an eye out for:
- Difficulty breathing
- Wheezing sounds
- Excess mucus around the mouth or nose
- Lack of appetite
- Regurgitation of food
If you notice these symptoms, bring your snake to a vet for antibiotics and modify your tank for the proper care immediately. Medication won’t help much if you don’t fix the root of the problem!
Fungal Infections in Baby Corn Snakes
Though not as common, fungal infections can cause serious issues for snakes. Dirty enclosures or too-damp substrate can lead to fungal growth that can get pretty nasty.
These infections often affect your snake’s skin and respiratory system the most.
Common symptoms of a fungal infection include:
- Discolored skin or scales
- Mucus around the mouth or on the skin
- Abnormal shedding
- Respiratory issues
Again, a clean tank is key to preventing fungal infections. You’ll need to clean the tank regularly and make sure your snake has a dry substrate.
If you think your corn snake has a fungal infection, bring them to a vet for antifungal medication and clean your tank immediately.
Mouth Rot in Baby Corn Snakes
Mouth rot is more common, but is one of the most serious conditions a snake can get.
This serious disease is often caused by stress, which can happen easily if you aren’t caring for your corn snake properly.
An injury to your baby snake’s mouth can also start mouth rot, so keep an eye on them during feeding to make sure live food doesn’t injure them by accident.
Common symptoms of mouth rot include:
- Inflammation of the mouth
- Pus around the mouth
- Red oral tissue
- Difficulty eating
- Loss of appetite
- Foul breath
Because mouth rot can advance and become lethal so quickly, fast veterinary attention is important. Your vet may give antibiotics or even clean your snake’s mouth in surgery.
To prevent mouth rot, always make sure your pet snake has a comfortable enclosure to live in to reduce stress, and try to feed only frozen foods.
Popular Names For a Baby Corn Snake
Yes, even snake owners love to name their pets! So here is a short list of possible names for your baby Corn Snake!
Baby Corn Snake Related Questions
Where do I get a baby Corn Snake?
There are several ways to get your hands on a baby corn snake, but the most common include:
- Reptile expos
- Reptile specialty stores
- Pet shops or pet stores
- Online reptile breeders
- Local reptile communities
- Reptile rescue centers
Though any of these places may have baby corn snakes, we highly recommend going with a rescue center whenever possible.
By supporting these places, you support other reptiles and pets in need of homes!
How much does a baby Corn Snake cost?
The price of a baby corn snake can vary greatly depending on where you buy it, the color of the snake, its size as well as age, and who you purchase it from.
Generally, a typical baby Corn Snake can cost you between $25 and $45. If you want a specific color or size you could pay anywhere from $75 to several hundred.
There are even breeders that offer special ‘designer’ snakes but you will pay more.
Baby Corns Snakes Are Fun Pets
Baby corn snakes make great pets thanks to their ease of care requirements and gentle nature.
As long as you set up a proper environment with the right size, ambient temperature, humidity, and cleanliness, you’ll be setting up your corn snake for success.
The best way to raise your baby corn snake into a healthy adult is by keeping them stress-free and understanding their needs deeply.
As your baby corn snake grows, enjoy watching it explore and become a loving part of your pet family. With the right care, you can have your corn snake for years to come.