A ~ C ~ S~N~A~K~E~S

Snake Breeders Based in Leicestershire, England, UK      


Pantherophis guttatus


The Corn Snake, also known as Red Rat Snake, is a moderately sized snake that comes in a variety of colours and patterns. It is among the easiest to maintain in captivity which is probably why it is the most commonly kept captive snake. The name "corn snake" was given by the farmers who commonly found them in their cornfields and corn storage barns believing they were feeding on the corn. Whilst they were looking for food, it was however in the form of the rodents that were feeding on the corn and not the corn itself. They are primarily a terrestrial (ground dwelling) species which is active mainly at dawn and dusk (crepuscular). Cornsnakes are constrictors and a member of the largest family of snakes, colubrids.

In the wild cornsnakes would normally live not much more than 10 years however in captivity they could easily be expected to reach 20 years.

Experience Level Beginner

Generally most specimens are very placid however their temperament is different with each individual and can vary considerably from docile to defensive. Sunkisseds, for example, are considered to be the most feisty of all corn snakes.

Hatchlings can be nervous and may nip in an attempt to flee, but usually tame down with gentle and regular handling.

Genetic mutations

Amelanistic, Anerythristic A, Bloodred/Diffused, Caramel, Charcoal, Cinder, Dilute, Hypomelanistic A, Kastanie, Lava/Hypo C, Lavender, Motley, Stripe, Sunkissed/Hypo B, Terrazzo, Tessera, Ultra/Hypo D, Ultramel

Any/all of these genetic mutations can be combined to produce various colour and/or pattern morphs

Expected Adult Length Normally 100 to 140cm although larger specimens are not uncommon
Recommended Housing

Vivarium or plastic tubs

We prefer to use tubs as we found them to be much better to keep clean.

Other requirements:

-Suitably large water bowl for them to drink and bathe

-A minimum of 2 hides (1 in the cool end and 1 in the warm end)

-Climbing branches are advantageous but not essential

Suggested Housing Sizes
Housing sizes are a matter of personal preference (for you and your snake) and you should choose what best suits you but we generally use the Really Useful Products plastic tubs and move up in size as the snake grows.

Some of our tub size recommendations are listed below.


- 155mm x 100mm x 40mm

- Ideal for small freshly hatched and unestablished feeders


- 245mm x 180mm x 70mm

- Hatchlings

5 Litre

- 340mm x 200mm x 125mm

- Large Hatchlings

9 Litre

- 395mm x 255mm x 155mm

- Small Yearlings

12 Litre

- 465mm x 270mm x 150mm

- Small/Medium Yearlings

18 Litre

- 480mm x 390mm x 200mm

- Yearlings, increased height is particularly good those who enjoy climbing


- 600mm x 400mm x 150mm

- Large Yearlings, Sub Adults

50 Litre

- 710mm x 440mm x 230mm

- Adults

64 Litre

- 710mm x 440mm x 310mm

- Large Adults, increased height is particularly good those who enjoy climbing

When moving snakes into a larger enclosure, particularly if the snake is a little nervous or has a tendency to go off their food easily, we fill the enclosure with extra greenery to ensure they feel secure.  As they begin to settle we remove pieces of greenery to allow them more space to move around in.  It is also a good idea to put an unwashed item of furniture or greenery from their old enclosure into their new enclosure for the first few days as we find that something familiar helps them acclimatise to their new surroundings much more quickly. 

Temperature Range 22C (72F) to 30C (86F)
Recommended Heating

Viv - Guarded Ceramic heater or heat mat

Tub - Heat mat

Whichever method is used, the temperature should be controlled by a suitable thermostat and monitored using a digital thermometer

Origin United States of America
Natural Environment

Agricultural/farm land, grasslands, shrublands, woods, rocky crevices, caves, around swamps and rivers.

Recommended Substrate

We prefer to use Aspen and provide a moist hide of vermiculite and/ or moss. Small hatchlings are placed on plain white kitchen roll until feeding regularly.

Natural Diet Rodents, Bats, Birds, Lizards
Primary Captive DietRodents. We prefer to feed our snakes mice rather than rats as have found rats to be a little too fatty.
Feeding Frequency

The recommended feeding schedule for hatchlings is every 5 to 7 days, we prefer to feed hatchlings every 7 days.

Yearlings and young/small adults should normally be fed every 1 to 2 weeks. We feed weekly until around 18 months to 2 years old and extend this to every other week for most adults. For particularly active and slender adult females we keep them on a weekly feeding regime whereas adult males are normally only fed every 2 to 4 weeks.

Our older adults are usually fed every other week but we often extend this to a 4-weekly feeding schedule for some of our larger corns especially if they have a tendency to be lazy and/or put on weight easily.

Recommended links



This care guide has been written by us at AC Snakes for your information and guidance.
It will be updated and expanded as regularly as we are able, however it should not be used as your only source of care information.
Prior to purchasing any animal it is strongly recommended that you research extensively to ensure that you can provide the correct care for your pet.
Last updated May 2012

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