Caresheets

With over 50 years collective experience in the reptile trade we have a wealth of knowledge on offer to help with any reptile related problems you may have.
These care sheets are written by the staff at Reptiles Plus and are how we would suggest caring for and keeping each of the following animals.

Adult Corn Snake and Similar Snakes

Minimum Vivarium Size

Adult Corn SnakeAdult Corn snakes, Milk snakes, King snakes and Rat snakes under 1.5 meters require a wooden vivarium approx. 1m x 40 cm x 40 cm. Snakes larger than 1.5 meters require a wooden vivarium that is large enough that when the measurements of length and width are added together it is greater than the length of your snake.

 

Vivarium Set-Up

Infra Red BulbYour snake requires either an incandescent spot bulb and a heat mat roughly 1/3 the size of the floor area or ceramic/infra-red heating and no heat mat for vivarium’s larger than 1m x 60cm x 60cm. All heating should be positioned at one end of your vivarium to create a basking area. It is strongly suggested that the primary heating Corn Snake Set Upssource (bulb) is controlled by a thermostat. Your thermostat sensor and/or thermometer should be placed in the middle of the vivarium and be reading 82of / 28oc and kept running 24 hours a day. It is highly recommended that you cage any heating from your animal and cover your heat mat with a piece of thin card to prevent your animal from burning or becoming trapped underneath the mat.

Substrate, Cleaning And Tank Furniture

Orchid BarkOrchid bark is the suggested substrate (floor covering), but beech chip and aspen bedding are equally effective. Spread the substrate evenly across the bottom of the vivarium at a depth of approx. 3cm. Substrate should be spot cleaned weekly and fully replaced every 6 weeks. Do not use household cleaning fluids as many are toxic, use disinfectants designed specifically for your reptile/s.
Provide your animal with a minimum of 2 hiding places and a water bowl big enough to fit your snake inside. Normal tap water is fine and you should only 25% fill your bowl.

Only use substrate and tank furniture from a reputable source. All heavy tank furniture should be securely positioned so it does not fall and crush your animal.

Feeding

Only use defrosted rodents from a safe source and make sure it is always thoroughly thawed before feeding. Give your snake one rodent every 7 days that is big enough to create a lump in your snake’s belly. Use an item of food with a girth of roughly 1.5 times that of that the girth of your snake.

If your snake becomes over weight and begins to show fatty lumps under the skin start to feed your animal every 14-21 days. If your snake chooses not to feed, throw the left-over food away, do not re-freeze, then feed at the normal time again the following week.

Never defrost your snakes food in warm water it will raise bacteria levels in and on the food item. Also never defrost the food in a microwave, as it will explode the food item.

Health And Handling

Reptile HealthIf you are ever in doubt about the health of your snake call your supplier and if you are still in doubt go and see a recommended specialist veterinarian. Below will be listed a brief guide to help you help you know what to look for in a sick snake.

  • Prolonged lack of appetite
  • The skin giving a wrinkled or dehydrated appearance
  • Mouth not closing properly
  • Dull or unclear eyes (when not shedding)
  • Inability to right its self or a dizzy appearance.

During shedding your snakes eyes will glaze over and its body colour will appear duller, this appearance will last up to a week, before it sheds. Always check your snake after it sheds to make sure all of the skin has come off. If your snake does not shed completely call your supplier or a vet for advice on how to remove the un-shed skin. Around the time of your snake shedding it is quite common for them to stop feeding and / or become aggressive. Minimise the time spent with your animal to prevent stress or injury.

When first getting or moving your snake to a new enclosure. Be sure not to handle your snake for at least 4 consecutive feeds. This will give you a good indication that it has settled into its new home. When approaching your snake in its tank, never go towards its head, and always let it know you are there before you touch it. This does not mean you have to poke it or hold your hand in front of it, this will inevitably end in getting bitten. It just means check it is awake. As they don’t have eye lids and sleep with their eyes open it is hard to tell. Look for movement or its tongue flicking. With more keen to feed or aggressive snakes push the head away with a snake stick and bring the middle of the body towards you before handling. Most snakes are very sensitive to their surroundings, especially the smell of food and body warmth, I.e. hands and fingers being waved around your snakes head.

Some more snakes that can be kept in very similar conditions. The Bull, Pine and Gopher snake, Racers and Garters.

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