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Cornsnake / Ratsnake

corn snake    ratsnake



Common Names: Cornsnake, Red Ratsnake

Scientific Name: Elaphe guttata

Distribution: Southern and Southeastern USA

Size: Cornsnakes grow up to 6 feet long. Cornsnakes average size is from 3 feet to 5 feet.

Temperament: Cornsnakes are very docile and even-tempered. Cornsnakes tolerate frequent handling.

Hardiness: Cornsnakes are very hardy and easy to maintain in captivity.

Sexing: Cornsnakes should be probe sexed, can evert the hemipenes in baby males.

Food:Cornsnakes / ratsnakes eat live or pre-killed nutrient fed mice. It is recommended that the cornsnake be fed 1-2 mice every 7 days. Baby cornsnakes / ratsnakes can be started on house geckos, anoles or pink mice. The size of the prey offered should not be much greater than the girth of the snake.

Housing: Adult cornsnakes / ratsnakes can be housed in a 15 or 20 gallon terrarium with either aspen, pine shavings, potting soil, reptile turf, or orchid bark as a substrate. Never use redwood or cedar shavings. Cornsnakes can be set up with just a hide box and a small water crock or landscaped with select rocks, driftwood, hollow logs, and cork bark slabs. Baby cornsnakes / ratsnakes can be housed in correspondingly smaller containers.

Water: Provide a small heavy crock of fresh water for drinking and soaking. The water crock should be cleaned frequently as the cornsnake will defecate in the container of water. About once per month, cornsnakes should be allowed to soak in a tub of tepid water for about 20 minutes, to aid in proper skin shedding.

Temperature/Humidity: Cornsnakes / ratsnakes like day temperatures between 75 degrees F to 85 degrees F. They like night temperatures between 65 degrees F and 72 degrees F. Cornsnakes like low to moderate humidity.

Lighting: Full spectrum lighting / U.V. radiation is recommended, although not required for maintaining cornsnakes / ratsnakes.

Heating: Under tank reptile heating pads will provide 24 hour bottom surface heat, and should be placed under 1/2 to 2/3 of the enclosure. Supplemental daytime heat can be provided by placing an incandescent light bulb with reflector over one side of the enclosure.

Notes: Cornsnakes / ratsnakes now come in a wide variety of color mutations and strains. Most other species of North American Ratsnakes (Elaphe) can be set up and maintained under similar conditions.


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Revised December 2008