How Do I Care for Corn Snake Babies?
Corn snakes are one of the most common types kept in captivity. Their popularity is due in part to their adaptability to captivity, their ease of care, and their wide range of colorations. Baby corn snakes, like their adult counterparts, have specific care requirements that should be met in order for them to thrive. They need appropriate size housing with varied temperature zones and hiding places. Proper nutrition and clean water need to be provided as well.
Newly hatched corn snakes range from 9 to 14 inches (22 to 36 cm) long. They can be kept temporarily in something as small as a shoe box, but they need a larger enclosure for long-term care. Corn snake babies should be kept in at least a 10-gallon (40-liter) container. The container should have plenty of ventilation, and access points or lids must be secure to prevent the young snakes from escaping.
Corn snake babies, whether newly hatched or just acquired, may be skittish when first exposed to people. Their enclosure should contain at least one hiding place where they can retreat and feel less vulnerable. The hiding place can be as simple as an empty paper towel roll or an upside down box with an opening cut into the side. The bottom of the enclosure should be covered in a disposable substrate. Reptile bark or paper towels both serve to absorb waste matter and are easily removed when soiled and replaced.
The enclosure needs temperature zones where the corn snake babies can move to either warm themselves or cool down. A heat lamp positioned outside an end of the enclosure will work as a heat source as will under-tank heating pads. Reptile “hot rocks” are not recommended as they can cause thermal burns to the young snake's skin. The other end of the enclosure should be left at room temperature so the young snakes can move to the cooler side if needed. Finally, a low, sturdy container should be placed into the enclosure and filled with water.
It may take several days for corn snake babies to become acclimated to their new enclosure. During this time, the young snakes may refuse to eat. Once they relax, most young corn snakes will begin readily accepting food. Baby corn snakes should be fed one or two pinky mice a week. Frozen pinky mice should be thawed and heated to room temperature before being offered to the snakes.
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