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When feeding a corn snake, it’s healthiest to feed it defrosted frozen mice. Most corn snakes will readily accept mice from the time they are hatchlings, although some may need encouragement. A mouse diet will meet all its nutritional needs without needing external supplementation.
Most corn snakes will accept the smallest mice, one-day old hairless mice called pinkies, from the time they are hatchlings. It’s best to wait until after the first shedding before feeding a corn snake. This happens around a week to 10 days after hatching. They should not be eating before then.
Hatchlings and growing snakes should be fed regularly, about every three days for a newly hatched snake and every four or five days when it is older. As the corn snake grows, it should graduate from pinkie mice to fuzzies and then finally to adult mice. By the time it is fully grown, feeding a corn snake frozen adult mice every 7 to 10 days will suffice and keep the snake from getting overweight.
Frozen mice that are fully defrosted are the healthiest and most convenient method for feeding a corn snake. A mouse should be allowed to come to room temperature for an hour or so before feeding. A snake should never be fed a mouse that is still frozen. Live mice are acceptable for feeding a corn snake, but can be more difficult to store beforehand, as they need food and water and can easily escape. There is also a slight danger that the corn snake can injure itself or get scratched or bitten by the mouse while hunting it.
Occasionally, corn snakes will develop feeding issues, like refusing to eat or eating only live mice. Young corn snakes need to eat more frequently than adult mice, so refusing food can be a serious issue. Older corn snakes sometimes eat less than at other times depending on the time of year. It’s normal for a corn snake to refuse food at times, yet if a corn snakes begins to lose weight, its owner should take it to see a herpetological veterinarian for advice.
Some snakes eat better if the mouse is wiggled a little in front of it. Using tweezers to hold the mouse, the owner should move it in front of the snake until it pounces. Corn snakes are attracted to prey by motion, and sometimes this is enough to coax a reluctant corn snake into eating a dead mouse. It can also be helpful to move the snake into a smaller, shoebox-sized enclosure with the mouse so it is forced to see the mouse and is more likely to eat it.