Do you own a corn snake? Or are you looking for more information about corn snakes? As their nature, corn snakes can be a person’s favorite pet, and it would only be natural to know just how long you can live with your pet. It also gives you an insight into how you can increase their quality of life so that they can live for longer.
Generally, corn snakes live for about 6-8 years in the wild. It's a decent lifespan considering it doesn’t grow for more than 180cm. However, corn snakes living in captivity will have a longer life span and average expectancy of 15-20 years.
So depending on their habitat, corn snakes can live for a long time, and if you take care of them well, they’ll live even for longer. Giving your snake the right food and providing a conducive environment can add a couple of years to your pet. In this piece, I’ll break down how long a corn snake can live, keeping in mind ways you can do to make it live longer.
Life Expectancy Of A Corn Snake In Captivity
As mentioned, corn snakes can get really big. The oldest recorded corn snake lived for about 32 years. But most corn snakes in captivity don’t get that much of a lifespan. That’s because taking care of your snake directly affects their lifespan.
It all starts at the pet shop. Most pet shops have little information about corn snakes, so they’ll give you basic details on taking care of the snake. Unfortunately, most end up in a hospital or even die. That’s the sad truth!
Luckily, there’s something you can do to ensure your snake lives a long, healthy life. I came up with a couple of tips that would definitely increase the lifespan of your snake.
Give Your Corn Snake A Long Life
The general idea of a corn snake’s habitat is always penned on a plastic box with newspaper. While this works most of the time, it's not the most appropriate place for a corn snake. There are other things as well that you have to do to make sure your snake gets a happy life.
Get The Right Temperature
One of the trickiest parts of keeping a corn snake is finding the optimum living temperature. Generally, the wrong temperature can’t affect your corn snake that much - it's quite hardy and can tolerate a lot.
Of course, you still need to get the right temperatures if you really want your snake to live longer. Corn snakes are cold-blooded, and their body heat is dependent on the room temperature. A perfect environment for a corn snake should have the following temperatures:
- Cool zone: 75°F
- Ambient (air temp): 77°F-82°F
- Basking Surface: 90°F
Get A Good Hand Thermometer
I’m sure you’re wondering how on earth will you be able to keep up on all these readings? Well, it is quite easy: just get an excellent infrared thermometer, and you’ll be fine. I usually recommend this <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Etekcity-Lasergrip-1080-Non-Contact-Thermometer/dp/B00DMI632G/">handy lasergrip gun</a> for such purposes. It will cost you less than $30.
Find A Good Substrate
Corn snakes love to burrow their way in the ground, and it's crucial to find a good substrate. While newspapers are great, you can also find other substrates by doing a quick search online. I like aspen bedding as it is enough to make the snake burrow and you can use it for both teen and adult snakes. Younger corn snakes love burrowing more than adults by the way!
Get The Best Humidity
Most folks have issues with getting the right humidity for corn snakes. When it's too low, your snake will have shedding problems, whereas too high humidity can lead to respiratory illnesses.
The ideal humidity for corn snakes is 50% and above. For you to get this kind of moisture, you’ll need a moist enclosure/hide. The easiest way to do this is to create a layer of moist peat or sphagnum in a humidity box inside the snake’s habitat.
Moist paper towels are okay but will dry up quickly. A deli cup can also act as an excellent humidity enclosure, especially for baby corn snakes. Of course, there are other ways to create a humid environment for your snake, and you can use the one which seems fit.
Corn snakes aren’t picky eaters, and feeding them is not that hard. On average, feeding your snake every 10-15 days is enough. You can do it every 7 days if they are huge adult corn snakes.
Since snakes are carnivores, feeding them insects or crickets is totally a wrong idea. The ideal food for snakes is mice and rats - Just make sure they are pre-killed. If you don’t know how to portion your food, make sure the size of the food does not exceed the snake’s head.
Wild Corn Snakes Hunt, Tamed Ones Eat Dead Food
Corn snakes living in the wild get their food by hunting while those in captivity prefer dead food. If you’ve just acquired your corn snake and are in the process of taming your snakes, it would be ideal giving them a live mouse every once in a while. It eases the stress of wanting to hunt.
Snakes also need clean water to drink. Most of the time you will encounter faeces on the water and replace it as quickly as possible. The trick to a longer living snake is not ingesting its own waste and living in a clean environment.
Getting The Right Enclosure
A small snake only needs to be kept in a small plastic vivarium for starters mainly due to the snake’s length. In a couple of months, you’ll need to replace this with a bigger compartment and make sure your container is strong enough.
An aquarium is usually the best fit and easiest to find. Keeping in mind that adult snakes can range from 4-6 feet in length, you want an aquarium that is at least 20 gallons. For snakes to live longer, their bones and muscles need to be healthy which is maintained through movement.
So, you can imagine the kind of space a snake as tall as 6 feet needs to stretch and move around. Also, make sure the aquarium is cleaned regularly and removing faeces and urine is a must!
Health Problems To Watch Out For In Corn Snakes
Corn snakes are prone to several diseases and infections. Common ones include fungal infections, respiratory infections, inflammation, and others. They can also get bacterial infections such as “mouth rot” which causes inflammation of the mouth and can easily extend to the bone.
In case it does extend, a snake can easily lose it's teeth. Dermatitis is also another infection that causes peeling of the skin and blistering. It's often caused by an overly humid environment or dirt in its enclosure. So, keeping the right humid conditions is very important.
All these illnesses need medical care and you should take your snake to a reptile vet if you notice any signs and symptoms on your corn snake. Such signs include bumps on the skin, white substance in the mouth, trouble breathing, or irregular shedding.
Just like you and I, snakes also need regular/yearly checkups to assess their overall health and well-being. The best way is to have a specific reptile vet who will do a constant follow up on your snake and would be the person to talk to when you feel your snake is in distress.
How Can You Tell The Age Of Your Snake?
Now that you know how to take care of corn snakes and probably give a quality life, the other question is, “can you tell the age of your snake by it's size?”
It's only natural that snakes get longer as they age. If you take care of your corn snake well, it will grow at a faster rate. At birth, snakes are born between 8-14 inches in length. They reach adulthood once a year passes and later attain their full length at the end of the second year.
Here’s a breakdown showing the average expectation of a well-fed snake’s size in relation to its age.
- Newborn - 8” - 12” Inches (Length)
- 6 months - 20” - 30”
- 1 year - 35” - 40”
- Above 2 years - 3 - 4 feet
What I like most about corn snakes is that they have the potential to live a very long life. All it takes is great caring and following the above. Of course, I haven’t covered every section in detail, but what I’ve mentioned will give you an idea on areas to focus on.
15-20 years may seem like a long time for a corn snake to live, but will also give you an excellent chance to know about snakes and a chance to love. Corn snakes are not very picky. In fact, with proper diet, habitat, and temperature, these cute pets can stay with your family for many years to come.