Cornsnake Captive Care
see for detailed care sheets

 "Corn and Rat snakes both belong to the genus Elaphe; Corns belong to the species Elaphe guttata. The Latin word elaphe means deerskin; guttata means speckled or spotted.

Both terms apply to corns and rats: in most species, their skin feels like finely tanned deerskin, while the patterns on their back create spots or speckles. Some people see the patterning of the belly scales as resembling maize, a colorful ancestor of our modern day corn.

Another theory relating to how corn snakes got their name comes from the early Europeans settlers. They frequently found these snakes in their corn fields and corn cribs, and thought they were eating the corn! In fact, the corn snakes were, and remain, very helpful to farmers as they help keep down the rodent population. Amelanistic corns (those lacking the black and brown skin coloring) are sometimes called "red rat snakes" because of their red-to-orange coloring."

taken from the site of  Melissa Kaplan

Basic Requirements
  1. Heating
    • Temperature gradient ranging from 76F (low end) to 86F (high end), nighttime drops into the low 70's.
    • Use thermometers to accurately gauge the temps.
    • NEVER use a hot rock
  2. Water
    • Provide clean water at all times. This will usually provide enough humidity, and you might often see your snake bathing in it.
    • I use a Rubbermaid container with a hole cut in the top to provide the snake a sense of security.
  3. Hide Boxes
    • Your snake will need somewhere it can "hide" in order to feel secure and lead a stress free life. The absence of stress is vital to its health.
    • A plastic flower pot base with an appropriate sized opening cut into one side works very well.
    • If you choose to make a "natural" looking vivarium for your snake, make sure that you research the snake's place of origin in order to make a natural vivarium that mimics the snake's natural surroundings.
  4. Substrate
    • I use newspaper on my larger snakes, and plain paper towels on my smaller ones. I find it easy to clean, and messes are very easy to notice at a glance.
    • If you prefer to use a "natural" type substrate, again research the serpentís natural local for the appropriate type.
    • If you cannot AVOID BARK or any other types of SHAVINGS, them you need to feed the snake in a SEPARATE enclosure. Bark and wood chips can easily be ingested by the snake during feeding, causing serious or FATAL problems. (Use only untainted aspen shavings as cedar, redwood, and possibly pine are toxic)
  5. Handling
    • One of the first things people naturally want to do with their new snake is to handle it. Ideally, the snake shouldn't be messed with in any sort for a week or two. This gives the snake plenty of time to accommodate to it's new surroundings and begin to feel secure. Try and give it as much time as possible to make the adjustment. Most serpents can live in excess of 10 years, so there'll be plenty of time for handling in the future.
    • You also need to watch for parasites and/or worms in the stool of the herp. And be sure to Quarantine any new acquisitions for 90 days to avoid the spread of disease.
  6. Feeding
    • I feed my snakes pre-killed whenever possible. Corns will readily take thawed rodents of the appropriate size, which makes keeping them that much easier and enjoyable.
    • These guys are also great to have around if you have another, finicky snake. You can feed them last, just in case anyone else decides they aren't hungry.
I've covered the basics here. Snakes are very easy to keep as well as being very enjoyable. If you need more detailed information you can email me, or visit