On this website we have talked a lot about the pros and cons of snake ownership, but how does this apply to a specific breed of snake like the corn snake? I did a little research on Corn Snakes and compiled a list of 10 pros and cons for owning a Corn Snake.
Advantages of a corn snake
1. Corn Snakes are very docile
One of the first pros I encountered when researching Corn Snakes was the fact that they are docile snakes that do not have temperamental tendencies.
Corn snakes often do not attract attention and can tolerate human attention for long periods of time. So if you are a snake fanatic and enjoy interacting with your snake, a corn snake makes a good pet. Here is an article we wrote that gives more details about the temperament of a corn snake.
With Corn Snakes, you don't have to worry as much about getting bitten. It takes a lot of time to provoke a corn snake to bite you, and with at least weekly handling, your corn snake will quickly become familiar with you handling it frequently.
Like any other snake, corn snakes can also become irritable or fearful and attack you. In this case, you are unlikely to suffer any serious injuries, although the bite can be somewhat painful .
If you are bitten, put the snake back in its habitat and give it time to calm down. In the meantime, clean your wound to avoid infection. If you want to learn more about what to do if a snake bites you, click on this link to read an article we wrote about snake bites, including what to do if your bitten and other facts about snake bites.
2. Corn Snakes stay small
Another pro I saw frequently on various snake websites was the small size of a corn snake. Corn Snakes only grow to be about three to six feet long. Like human size, this can vary, but three to six feet long is the typical size of a corn snake.
Most snake owners consider this an ideal size, as smaller snakes provide easy care. Corn Snakes will still be large enough to handle comfortably, however (you won't have to worry about mishandling or squishing them).
The small size of a corn snake also means that it does not require a large snake terrarium as some other snake breeds do. A comfortably sized terrarium would be a 20 gallon glass tank with enough room to accommodate other habitat items such as fur boxes, a water dish and the substrate. Corn snakes are small, so make sure you secure the tank to prevent escape.
Here is an article we wrote about how big corn snakes get and how long they take to reach their maximum size.
3. Corn Snakes make attractive pets
The typical pattern of a Corn Snake consists of large spots or red-orange bands surrounded by a black band, followed by smaller dull yellow bands. However, Corn Snakes can come in a variety of morphs (colors and patterns) that make them extremely attractive. Typically, there are three morph types to choose from: Color variation, pattern variation, and compound morphs.
Color morphs are exactly what they sound like, Corn Snakes with different colors ranging from bright reds and golds to snow white. While some of these colors occur naturally in the wild, you often need to go to a breeder who has taken care to produce specific color morphs.
Pattern morphs can also have a variety of colors, but often it is a variation of the typical Corn Snake pattern found in these morphs. Some of the pattern variations can be variegated, diffuse, and striped.
Compound morphs are a mix of color and pattern morphs and can come in thousands of different variations.
4. Corn snakes tolerate being kept for long periods of time
Corn snakes are great snakes to keep if you want to keep your snake instead of just viewing them through the glass of their terrarium. Their docile temperament makes them easy to handle, as long as you handle them right. However, as with all other snakes, this confidence in handling must be built over time.
When you bring your new corn snake home, it may not be used to being handled and you may not feel comfortable picking it up. Don't worry. As I mentioned above, over time you can help your snake feel comfortable being handled. This is especially true for young, newly hatched corn snakes.
Baby Corn Snakes often do not like to be handled. Letting them adjust to their new habitat for a few days first after you bring them home will prevent your corn snake from attacking you when you get into the habitat to try to deal with it.
After giving your snake time to adjust (this applies to a baby or adult corn snake), start handling your snake for ten to fifteen minutes at a time. You can do this at several points throughout the day, but make sure your snake doesn't seem overwhelmed or frightened.
To successfully establish a relationship of trust between you and your corn snake, you will need to maintain this for a few weeks. Never let more than a week go by without handling your snake, or he or she may lose confidence and become nervous again.
5. Corn Snakes live well for a few years
Unlike hamsters or other small pets, corn snakes can live for more than six to eight years. Although they don't live as long as other snakes like Ball Pythons, which sometimes live thirty years, they do live several years in captivity.
In some cases, corn snakes have been known to live past twelve years of age. So if you want a snake that will be your companion for several years, but are afraid to commit to a snake like a ball python , Corn Snakes are ideal for you. Read this article we wrote to learn about other things that will affect how long your corn snake will live.
Disadvantages of a corn snake
1. Corn snakes are susceptible to fungal, respiratory, and other diseases and infections
Corn snakes, like all other snake species, are subject to fungal and respiratory diseases that can affect the health and longevity of your snake. You may not want to lose your pet, but you also may not want to invest in medication or in extreme cases, a vet bill.
Fungal infections can potentially contract in your corn snake. These infections can either be superficial or deep within your snake's skin.
To prevent your snake from contracting fungal infections, you must ensure that your corn snake's cage is thoroughly cleaned. This requires a reasonable amount of effort. Attention from your side. Corn snakes that become infected with a fungal infection often need to be examined by a veterinarian to receive effective treatment .
Corn snakes can also become infected with respiratory infections, leaving them weak. Respiratory infections can also be caused by oral thrush, another common snake disease. Another common cause of respiratory infections is stress. If a corn snake is feeling stressed, this can cause them to feel ill.
Similarly, poor cage care can also be the cause of a respiratory infection in a corn snake. In some cases, a respiratory infection can further damage your snake internally. In most cases of snake illness, veterinary care is required and can result in medical bills that outweigh your snake's costs.
There are several other diseases that can affect your snake if you do not take care of your snake. Ultimately, you have to decide if the bills are worth the life of your corn snake, and that can be a difficult decision that no pet owner wants to make.
2. Corn snakes require certain habitats
Corn Snakes, like most other snakes, require complex habitats. Corn snakes require special bedding , temperatures and humidity to thrive in their environment. If these needs are not met, your snake may become ill and even die.
In addition, all of the items needed to set up a corn snake's habitat can become expensive. Bedding needs to be changed at least once a week. Be checked regularly on site. Although you can opt for cheaper bedding like newspapers, you will have to deal with the ugliness of the material (if this bothers you).
Read this article we wrote to get more suggestions for bedding that are perfect for your corn snake .
While Corn Snakes themselves do not smell, their habitat can become very smelly over time due to feces and urine. If you want to avoid bad odors, you need to clean your corn snake's cage regularly.
Temperature control can also be difficult. The temperature needs to stay between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit to keep your snake comfortable and happy. Humidity is also something to consider if you are thinking of owning a corn snake.
Will you be able to control this moisture in the air? If the air becomes too dry for a corn snake, this can cause your snake to have shedding ies. Problems with the shed can then lead to other major problems that can lead to a vet bill that you have to pay for.
Here is an article we wrote that talks about the recommended terrarium size for corn snakes.
3. Corn Snakes carry Salmonella
Most snakes, including the corn snake, can carry salmonella, a bacteria that can be deadly to humans. Salmonella can be contracted through direct contact with your snake. In some cases, also be spread by indirect contact.
Salmonella is a bacteria that attacks the bloodstream and intestines of humans. Signs of salmonella infection can include mild to severe diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps and vomiting.
Children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to salmonella and can die from exposure to it. Signs of salmonella infection can manifest one to three days after exposure to the bacteria .
It is often recommended by health organizations such as the Department of Health that a person take many precautions when handling reptiles. It is also recommended that children under the age of five not be allowed to handle reptiles. Corn snakes, like all other snakes, pose the risk of very unpleasant. Sometimes recover deadly bacterial infection.
4. Feeding a corn snake can be tedious
Feeding a snake can require a lot of preparation on your part. A snake's food often needs to be frozen when stored and then and for feeding.
Corn snakes usually eat pre-killed mice. So if you are not willing to kill some mice yourself, you will need to buy pre-killed mice and store them in your freezer. This can be difficult because mice come with their own diseases that you do not want to contaminate.
Baby Corn Snakes can really only eat a single newborn pinkie mouse, and you must be careful not to startle the snake when placing the food in its habitat . However, this one meal should be satisfied for at least five to seven days.
In some cases, your baby snake may not be interested in eating frozen or thawed pinkie mice. You therefore need to feed them a live pinkie mouse to get them interested in the food. This can be problematic if you don't enjoy tracking down live small mice and then making them a meal for your snake.
Occasionally, you may have to go out of your way to feed your adult corn snake. Corn Snakes like to wrap and constrict their prey, so offering them frozen foods may not be a good idea. They warm the rodent to room temperature. Then dangle it in front of your corn snake. This should tempt the snake to strike at it.
You may also be able to leave the rodent in the cage at room temperature so your snake can wrap itself around it and then eat the meal. However, adult corn snakes only need to eat a rodent once a week (sometimes even one rodent every two weeks).
Regardless of your corn snake's propensity for eating, there's a lot of work and care that goes into a snake meal. You must be careful when preparing your snake meal, as both mice and snakes carry bacteria that can be harmful to humans. Do not prepare your corn snake's food on a surface where you prepare your own food.
5. You can't play with a corn snake like you can other pets
Unlike other pets, snakes require a lot of attention and do not contribute much to the relationship between owner and pet. Dogs, for example, are often energetic and can engage in playtime and show affection to their owners. Usually, a Corn Snake does not show affection to its owner and cannot play games.
However, this may appeal to some potential pet owners who are looking for a pet but don't want to commit to a walking or playing routine. Corn Snakes, however, like to be held (as long as they are properly adapted to human contact) and do not often bite their owners.
Unlike dogs or cats, Corn Snakes cannot be taught to respond to their name or perform tricks. So, if you are looking for an animal you can train with and bond with, a corn – snake is not the best option. In this article I have written about five pre-. Five disadvantages of owning a pet corn snake talked about. However, there is so much more to owning a snake than the things I have listed.
You need to know your circumstances before committing to owning a snake because, as mentioned above, Corn Snakes can live for several years and require careful care. Before you buy your corn snake, you should learn more about the ies I talked about above.
There are several other articles on this website that can help you learn more about snake care and the details of raising a healthy and happy snake. If you are particularly interested in the corn snake, read "Can Corn Snakes be Trained?". And " How big do corn snakes grow (and how long does it take them to grow)?"
Which snakes have good temperaments? Some captive snake breeds have docile temperaments, making them easy to train and care for. Some of these snakes include garter snakes, ball pythons, California kingsnakes, milk snakes and gopher snakes. Although there are several other species that are kept in captivity, these snakes are generally known to have good temperaments.
Are Corn Snakes dangerous pets? Corn snakes are docile by nature, so they don't often strike out and bite their owners. They can also tolerate being handled for extended periods of time. However, like all other snake species, corn snakes can carry salmonella, which can be deadly to humans. Even if their bite does not cause serious damage, it can be painful.
What other snakes make good pets? Ball pythons are known for being gentle and easy to handle. They have an extremely docile nature. Do not often bite their owners. Garter snakes, while not as attractive as other snake species, make good pets because they are small and docile. However, as with all snakes, temperaments can vary between individual snakes of the same species.