Corn Snakes are one of the most commonly bred snakes in captivity. There are over 60 different colour and pattern morphs available. Corn Snakes are often a snake lovers first pet snake and are usually purchased as babies. This article discusses the care of baby corn snakes.
Find a Healthy Hatchling
Hatchling Corn Snakes are 23-25cm in length and are quite slender. Purchase the biggest hatchling the pet shop or breeder has for sale. You should not be able to feel the snakes spine or ribs. The hatchling should not have loose skin and the belly should be firm. The snake should be active and alert when you handle it. The snout and mouth should be clean and free of discharge. The vent area should not have any fecal matter caked around it. Make sure the snake is feeding on pinkies before you consider buying it.
Your new Corn Snake will need to spend at least a week in its new home before getting fed. Give your hatchling Corn Snake two weeks to get used to its environment before handling it.
Once your baby Corn Snake has acclimatized to its new home and is eating on a weekly basis, you can start handling it. At first handle your new Corn Snake twice a week for 15-20 minutes to prevent stress. You can handle your Corn Snake more often as it gets older.
The best cage for a hatchling Corn Snake is a plastic terrarium measuring 45cm x 25cm x 25cm. These terrariums are secure, easy to clean and look nice. Your Corn Snake can live in this cage for about six months.
Heat your hatchling Corn Snake using a low wattage heat pad that is placed directly underneath the cage. The heat pad should cover no more than half the cage, in order to provide a thermal gradient. The temperature of the spot above the heat pad should measure 30 degrees Celsius. Heat pads are perfect for providing the belly heat needed for your baby Corn Snake to digest its food.
Corn cob makes a good substrate as it is absorbent, remains dry, retains heat and is easy to clean. Hatchling Corn Snakes also enjoy burrowing under the corn cob.
A hide box will make your tiny baby Corn Snake feel safe. Without a hide box your baby Corn Snake will become stressed and will refuse to eat. The hide box can be a resin cave, coconut half cave or a small margarine tub with an entrance hole cut out. Your baby Corn Snake will spend most of it’s time in the hide box, this is completely normal behavior. Place the hide box on the warm side as baby snakes will sometimes prefer to hide than bask in the open.
Plastic plants and logs not only make the cage look attractive but provide extra hiding places and stimulation for the snake.
Provide fresh water in a small water bowl. Do not allow the substrate to get wet, as this can cause scale rot. Lightly mist the cage with water just before your snake sheds.
Feed your baby Corn Snake one pinky once a a week. Feed frozen rodents which you buy prepacked and defrost it in warm water not boiling water.