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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Corn King Snake

Corn & King Snake

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Traits & behavior

Carnivores
This means they are strictly meat eaters. Rodents comprise most of their diet.

Nocturnal or Crepuscular
This means they are active primarily during the night or twilight hours and usually sleep during the day.

Solitary
Although corn snakes can be housed communally, king snakes are snake eaters and must be housed singly. Snakes should always be fed singularly.

Terrestrial
Corn snakes and king snakes are ground dwellers. Some species are fossorial, which means they burrow.
 

Things to remember

Supervision
Always supervise children when they are interacting with a snake of any size.

Handling
Give your snake 3-4 days to adjust to his new home, then try holding him for brief periods of time. Hold your snake gently but firmly trying not to constrict his movement, but rather allow him to move between your two hands (using the hand over hand handling method). Most corn and king snakes will calm down and move more slowly when allowed some initial free movement. Corn snakes and king snakes rarely bite, but don't handle your snake during feeding time or when he is shedding.

Food safety
All PetSmart corn and king snakes are raised on a strictly frozen/thawed diet of rodents. There is no need to feed them live prey items. Uneaten food items should be removed after a few hours.

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember, that while uncommon, snakes may bite and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home.
 

Nutrition

Frozen mice
Corn snakes and king snakes will obtain all of the nutrition they need from the laboratory-grown frozen/thawed mice available in the PetSmart fish department freezer. Choosing the right size of frozen rodent is easy; choose the one with a body circumference closest to the size of the thickest part of your snake's body.

Feeding amounts & frequency
Feed young snakes 2-3 times a week. Offer adults food once a week.

Water
Provide a water dish large enough for the snake to submerge itself in. Change water daily.

Habitat

Housing
Use a 20-gallon or larger glass terrarium with a lockable screen lid. Corn and king snakes are exceptional escape artists-even the smallest openings can be exploited, so look for an enclosure designed with this in mind.

Hiding place
Provide a natural or artificial rock, wood or plastic hiding area.

Humidity
Keep the humidity level at or above 30%. A hygrometer (humidity gauge) can help you keep track. When your snake is shedding higher humidity levels are acceptable.

Temperatures
Day - maintain a daytime temperature of between 70-85 degrees F (21-29 degrees C)

Basking - use an under-tank heater, heat rock or spot light to create basking area of 90-95 degrees F (32-35 degrees C).

 

Night - maintain a nighttime temperature of between 60-75 degrees F (16-24 degrees C)

It is important to provide a good temperature gradient. Snakes should be able to move away from basking temperatures to an area with daytime temperatures. Place a thermometer at each end of the enclosure to ensure a proper heat gradient.

Lighting
Most animals benefit from a photoperiod (the time that there is daylight) of 10-12 hours per day. UVA/UVB lighting is not necessary for corn and king snakes, but may accent their coloration and provide more viewing enjoyment.

Bedding
Line the terrarium floor with 2-3" (3-8 cm) of Bed a Beast, bark bedding or other snake approved bedding. Shredded coconut bark substrates help to maintain higher humidity levels. Clean out waste weekly and change all bedding at least once a month.

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