Corn snake housing

Corn snakes kept as pets live most happily in a glass-fronted vivarium with ventilation panels and a meshed, escape-proof roof. Ventilation is important in order to avoid the build up of bacteria. Corn snakes are nocturnal so ensure the vivarium is in a quiet place where they will not be disturbed during the day.

Juvenile corn snakes require a small vivarium that helps them feel safe and enclosed. It is important that you don’t place a juvenile corn snake into a vivarium that is too large for him as this can be stressful and cause him to stop eating.

As your corn snake grows, his vivarium will need to grow as well in order to accommodate him. For a pair of snakes the RSPCA recommends a vivarium that is as long as the largest snake and measures at least 50cm wide by 50cm high.

Corn snakes have an inner ear, which is capable of picking up sound vibrations. The vivarium should be placed in a quiet environment away from loud noises, which could make your snake feel threatened and anxious. Anxiety in corn snakes can cause them to stop eating and is not good for their long-term health.

Will a corn snake's vivarium need heating? 

Yes. The temperature in the vivarium during daylight hours should be 24°C to 27°C, with a basking area that is 30°C. This can be provided using a basking light or heat mat near to a large flat rock that can be used to transfer the heat. Ensure that you use a thermostat controlled heat source to avoid over heating.

It is important to have both cooler and warmer areas in the vivarium in order to allow your corn snake to regulate his own temperature by moving from area to area.

Will a corn snake need UV Lighting?

Corn snakes do not have a specific requirement for sunlight, but having a UV light on during the day is good practice in order to mimic the normal daylight hours. The light should be on for around 12 hours in the summer, gradually reduced down to 8 hours in the winter to reflect seasonal changes.

What substrate should you use for a corn snake?

Pam Mansfield, founder of the Exotic Pet Refuge in Market Deeping, Cambridgeshire, recommends using calci sand or a good-quality dried bark chip. Cage carpet, aspen bedding or even kitchen towel can also be used.

Do corn snakes drink water?

Yes. A heavy-bottomed shallow dish with water should be provided in the cooler area of the vivarium at all times for both drinking and bathing. This is especially important when your snake is shedding his skin.

What other items should you include in a vivarium?

Corn snakes will enjoy places where they can hide both in the warmer and cooler areas of the vivarium, and also a moist hide to help during shedding periods. Artificial plants, branches (cleaned, with the bark removed) and rocks can also be added to make the environment more stimulating.

Do corn snakes need to be kept in pairs? 

Corn snakes live solitary lives in the wild. Similar-sized, same sex snakes can live in small groups together in captivity, provided that they are given plenty of space and are fed separately to avoid confrontation. Do not keep a male or female together as mating will be inevitable.

Pet care advice