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How Do I Set up a Corn Snake Terrarium?

By Jack Magnus
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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A corn snake terrarium should be large enough for the snake to move around freely and have a locking cover. It is necessary to provide ground cover, heat and lighting. Corn snakes also need a plant branch on which to climb and at least one safe place to hide.

This species of snake is found across most of North America and is easily kept in the proper environment. A corn snake terrarium can be set up using an appropriately sized fish tank. There should be enough room in the tank for the snake to move around freely.

Pesticide-free commercial ground cover, or substrate, products are available and can be a natural-looking addition to the environment. Bedding products sold for other animals may contain cedar shavings, pine shavings or corncobs that are harmful to snakes. Other ideas for substrate include unbleached paper towels, mulch and dirt.

A snake is cold-blooded, which means it regulates its body temperature by moving to and away from sources of heat. A corn snake terrarium should have a basking area that is kept around 83 degrees Fahrenheit (28.3 degrees Celsius). A range of temperatures from about 62 degrees Fahrenheit (16.6 degrees Celsius) to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (23.8 degrees Celsius) is optimal for the other areas in the corn snake terrarium.

Temperature control is accomplished through the use of lights and heaters. Ultraviolet (UV) lighting, though beneficial for corn snakes, is not essential, and an incandescent light fixture is sufficient for heating. The basking area is best kept heated via heater pads that attach to the bottom of the terrarium.

Live plants are not recommended for a corn snake terrarium, because the plants may harbor mites or other parasites. Using plastic plants can help make the environment look natural. Corn snakes are climbers in the wild and a sterilized plant branch or small tree branch is an important part of a corn snake terrarium.

As with many other snakes, the corn snake needs a hiding place to feel less threatened. The best hiding places will be large enough for the snake to curl its entire body within and can be as simple as a cardboard box or a plant pot. Commercial products intended for this use also are available in pet stores.

A good water bowl will be flat and large enough to allow the snake to coil its entire body within. Snakes frequently take baths, especially when they are molting. It is recommended that the water be changed regularly, because snakes often eliminate waste while bathing.

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Discussion Comments
By Spotiche5 — On Dec 03, 2014

I have a pet corn snake, and it is important to plan for power outages for these cold blooded pets. Without the proper temperature being maintained at all times in their terrariums, pet snakes cannot survive. A battery-operated light that puts off heat or another type of battery-operated heat source is necessary to keep your pet snake alive if your home ever loses power in cold weather.

By Rundocuri — On Dec 03, 2014

@heavanet- Yes, you can put rocks in a corn snake terrarium, but there are some tips that you should follow first.

You shouldn't use rocks that are too big or heavy, because they can be difficult to clean. In addition, the weight of large rocks can cause damage to a glass terrarium over time. Medium-sized rocks will work just fine for your pet snake's surroundings.

If you decide to use rocks that you find in nature, be sure to wash them thoroughly first. This precaution will prevent dirt and germs from affecting your corn snake's environment.

You can also find nice, authentic and faux rocks at pet stores. Usually they can be found in the isle where all of the aquarium supplies are located. These products have already been cleaned and proven safe for use in snakes' and other pets' environments.

By Heavanet — On Dec 02, 2014

Is it a good idea to put large rocks in a corn snake terrarium? I have a friend who keeps snakes as pets, and places rocks throughout their environments for climbing and hiding.

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