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Newbie, Doing Some Research!

Discussion in 'Corn Snakes' started by gatsbythegerbil, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. gatsbythegerbil

    gatsbythegerbil New Member

    Hey there! My roommate and I are hoping to get two corn snakes come September - there's a reptile expo in our area, and I think we'll be able to find a reliable breeder and healthy snakes. I'm looking for general care tips - I'm just trying to make sure I do my research and go into this well-prepared.

    Subjects I'm not sure about:
    • Substrate
      • I've heard aspen is good, but avoid pine and other aromatic woods.
    • Tank/habitat size
      • Sometimes people say smaller is better, sometimes people say larger is better; what works for your snakes?
    • Tank/habitat setup
      • Mesh lid, hide, substrate, water dish, light - am I missing anything there?
    • Feeding
      • Especially feeding times. I know there's different schools of thought on how often to feed snakes, and I want to hear how that applies in terms of corn snakes.
    Right now I'm just looking for advice and trying my best to gain general knowledge. I have a brother in law who breeds boas and I'll definitely go to him with a lot of general questions as well, but I'm hoping to hear specific to corn snakes, too. So whatever you do for your corn snakes, please speak up! I'd love to hear different methods and how well they work for everybody.
  2. Buggy0123

    Buggy0123 Established Member

    Substrate - aspen will work fine, if not the best. Tank size - I personally believe bugger is better, especially for corn snakes who are active. I'd go with at least a 20 or 30 gallon. (30"x13"x13"). Tank setup - Make sure that there is more than one hide, at least one for each side of the tank so your snake can chill in different temperature gradients, and you didn't mention anything heating wise. I'm pretty sure for corn snakes you use an under tank heater, I've never heard of any one using a basking bulb. Make sure the lid locks. Feeding - Juvenile corn snakes you can probably feed every 5 days, once it gets a little older/bigger that can be bumped up to every 7-10 days. I personally think 10 is a bit much but I guess it's what ever your animal gets used to. The food size can be determined by a noticeable lump after your snake eats. If you can't tell your snake ate anything, I'd bump up to the next size. (this is based off of personal experience, there are other ways and better ways to tell what sized food you'll need for your snake and hopefully someone else will chime in about that). Also, you mentioned at the beginning that you wanted to get two snakes. Just be aware that this means two setups, you shouldn't house them together. Best of luck.
  3. Qwerty3159

    Qwerty3159 Elite Member

    I'm quite certain a basking bulb would do equally well as a undertank heater, and the site's caresheet didn't say otherwise.
    Whatever you do, make sure you have proper equipment for monitoring surface and ambient temperatures (an infrared temperature gun is ideal for surface temperatures) and stay away from the crap gauges they sell at pet stores.

    It wouldn't hurt to look this over either.
    Corn Snake | Reptile Forums - Information
  4. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Well-Known Member

    That's awesome, Corn Snakes are a great choice for anyone.

    When you get your Corn Snakes fro the expo choose wisely, just because some are healthier then others. We got a great snake from the expo, but I'm still not certain the dealer was honest when he said she was a female. He also over-priced her majorly (I'm pretty sure he made us pay for the pair of snakes when we were only buying one).

    Substrate: There are great choices out there. Aspen is cheap and easy, but we've also used coconut husk, bark chips, soil from our yard, dry grass (our snakes loved this), and leaves with success. Our snakes favorite by far was the grass, because they could bury in it, but make sure it doesn't get moist or it will grow fungus. Same with the leaves, those got really smelly because they were wet.

    I'm certainly for larger because our Corns love to explore and though Jack (our albino) has a 55 gallon tank sometimes he still gets frustrated with it being small and paces and rubs his snout for hours looking for a girl. That is why we got Jill, to try to make him happy. He starves himself for weeks and paces all night trying to get out and it just isn't fun to watch. It is, however, fun to see him get to choose which hide, branch, or place in the cage he wants to rest in, so bigger is better.

    The enclosure should have two hides, one near the heat light and one on the cool side. Ours actually has three because one of them is a moist box, which all snakes love and has been shown to make healthier, more content snakes with less problems. It also assists in shedding, so a moist hide is a great choice for the cage. Also, snakes love to have a sturdy branch to live, particularly Corn Snakes.

    Most people suggest feeding frozen, thawed pre-killed mice. This is a great way to feed your snakes, though you don't know what those mice ate and if they truly are as nutritious as a mouse you kept and fed yourself. Two smaller mice is always better then one big mouse and once your snake learns that they get two each feeding they will look forward to it. More frequent, smaller meals are better then less frequent, large meals, which can lead to digestion issues and regurgitation.

    I hope this works. Best of luck with your new snakes! : )

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