Corn snakes are easy to take care of.
But you do need to provide them the essentials.
Top of the list is a good enclosure.
After all, that is where your pet will spend almost all of its time.
Above all, you need to make sure the enclosure is large enough for your snake.
What is the ideal corn snake tank size?
Keep reading to learn the minimum sized tank a corn snake needs. We will also address the common misconception that a cage that is too large causes your snake stress.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Size Tank Does A Corn Snake Need?
- 1.1 How To Choose And Set Up A Corn Snake Enclosure
- 1.2 How Long Can A Baby Corn Snake Live In A 10-Gallon Tank?
- 1.3 Can A Corn Snake Tank Be Too Big?
- 1.4 Do Corn Snakes Need A Lot Of Room?
- 1.5 Do Corn Snakes Escape Easily?
- 1.6 Do Corn Snakes Like To Climb?
- 2 Corn Snake Tank Size: Final Thoughts
What Size Tank Does A Corn Snake Need?
You can house a single hatchling or juvenile corn snake in a 10-gallon enclosure. Once your snake reaches maturity, you will need a corn snake tank size of at least 20 to 30 gallons.
Corn snakes generally reach maturity around the age of 1½ to 2 years. They can double in size by that point, which is why they need an enclosure at least twice the size of a juvenile snake.
This article on the best snake enclosures will help you find the right enclosure for your pet. Use it in conjunction with the rest of this article, which will help you choose and set up a tank for your corn snake.
How To Choose And Set Up A Corn Snake Enclosure
Corn snakes are one of the most popular pet snakes in the United States. Taking care of corn snakes is fairly easy. But you want to make sure you start with the right setup.
Here are some of the main factors to consider when selecting a tank for your corn snake.
As mentioned above, a young hatching or juvenile corn snake can live in a 10-gallon tank. However, after the age of 2 years, your adult corn snake should have a tank large enough for it to stretch fully.
If your corn snake measures 3 feet long, then the tank should be at least 3 feet long and 2 feet wide. In general, a 20 or 30 gallon tank is sufficient for a fully-grown corn snake. Larger is always better.
You can get a tank made of glass or sturdy plastic. It should have a lid. Corn snakes are masters of escape and may get out even with a lid. Without one, you will constantly find your snake escaped from cage.
Plastic tanks are sturdy and you can easily drill some holes in them for ventilation. But the downside to using plastic tubs is that they aren’t attractive.
If you want to watch your snake or you plan on displaying it, a glass tank makes much more sense.
Accessories To Add To The Enclosure
There are a number of accessories you should add to your corn snake enclosure to make your snake as comfortable as possible and to ensure it is happy and healthy. This article has much more on accessories for corn snakes.
Once you have selected the tank, you need to add a heat source to keep your pet warm. You can choose from heat mats, ceramic bulbs, or heat lamps.
Since corn snakes are “sun-baskers”, they prefer heat lamps. Add one to one side of the cage, making sure to leave the other side cooler, so your snake has a place to cool down when it gets too hot.
Corn snakes need a relative humidity of 40 to 50%. Both excess and low humidity can cause health issues in your corn snake. Therefore, you need a hygrometer to constantly monitor the relative humidity in the enclosure.
You can place a large water dish in the tank to add moisture to the environment. Conversely, add some ventilation if the humidity is too high.
Corn snakes need substrate, because it encourages digging, just as they do in their natural habitats. A good substrate for corn snakes is aspen bedding. This article covers the best substrates.
Your snake will also need hiding areas like rocks, branches, caves, etc. to hide when it feels stressed. This article discusses snake hides.
Also, add a large water bowl for your snake to bathe and drink water. A basking rock under the heat lamp can help your pet snake maintain its body heat. You snake will be fine without it, but it is a nice addition. Just make sure the rock does not get too hot.
How Long Can A Baby Corn Snake Live In A 10-Gallon Tank?
Baby corn snakes can live in a 10-gallon tank up to the age of 1½ to 2 years. After that, they need a larger tank, so that they have plenty of space to stretch and be active.
You may have read that too large a tank can stress your baby corn snake out, so you should start with a 10 gallon tank, and then upgrade when your snake gets older.
This is not necessary. It is true that too much open space can stress a snake, but the key is the word “open”. If you provide your snake plenty of places it can hide in the enclosure, it does not matter how large it is.
An adult corn snake generally does well in a 20 to 30 gallon tank, but it can be larger, if you like. The larger the better for your snake. It will love the extra space to really stretch out and roam about.
Of course, you need to make sure to add plenty of hiding areas, basking rocks, and plants to keep your snake more comfortable in its terrarium. It is large open spaces that stress snakes, because they feel vulnerable. So make sure your always has places it can hide away and feel secure.
Can A Corn Snake Tank Be Too Big?
Again, the advice to not get a tank that is too large is common. There are reasons for this, but none of the issues raised with a large tank are actually problems with a larger tank itself. They are problems with how you set it up.
Here are the main reasons some people advise against larger tanks. We have already mentioned the first one. And the last one is really just more of an inconvenience to you and has nothing to do with the snake. However, that actually makes it the most valid argument against a larger tank.
Snakes feel stressed when they are out in the open and exposed. This can happen in a large tank, if it does not contain plenty of places to hide. So make sure you provide those hiding places.
Difficulty In Regulating Body Heat
Snakes are cold-blooded creatures. They need warmer and cooler areas they can use to regulate their body temperature.
A large tank could make it difficult for your corn snake to find cool and warm areas in the tank and that can make thermoregulation tedious for your pet.
You can probably already see the problem with this argument. A larger tank actually makes it easier to provide a separate hot spot and cool spot. How big would the tank have to be for your snake to have difficulty finding these spots?
Difficulty In Finding Food
If you hide your corn snake’s food to mentally stimulate it, a large tank could mean the food’s scent is so weak that it makes it tough for your snake to find the food.
Like the previous argument, this one does not hold water either. If the tank is really so big that your snake can’t find the food (it would have to be huge), you can always just move the food closer to your snake.
More Work To Maintain
Yes, a large tank is more work for you to maintain. If you want to make things as easy as possible on yourself, get a smaller tank. They also take up less space, if your home is on the small side.
Just make sure the tank still meets the mini mum size requirements for a corn snake (20 gallons minimum). If you can’t give your snake a tank that large, you should not get a corn snake.
Do Corn Snakes Need A Lot Of Room?
Corn snakes are native to dry scrublands and forests in the USA. Naturally, their enclosures or tanks should reflect their natural habitats as much as possible.
Corn snakes need plenty of space to stretch and move about. The enclosure should also have space to accommodate items like a basking area, water bowl, etc.
Based on this, you should allow at least a third of the snake’s length for the width and height of the enclosure. The length, as mentioned, should be at least as long as the snake itself.
For example, a 150 cm long (or about 5 feet) corn snake should have a terrarium that is 150 cm (L) x 50 cm (W) x 50 cm (D).
Do Corn Snakes Escape Easily?
Corn snakes can be escape artists and the reasons for escaping can vary from snake to snake.
- Unfamiliar environment: A corn snake transferred to a new terrarium might try to escape the new, unknown environment. Please secure the new terrarium with a lid and block all escape routes to keep your pet safe.
- Unfavorable conditions: If the enclosure has high humidity or, conversely, the enclosure is too cold, then too your pet corn snake may attempt to escape.
- Stress: A corn snake could get stressed due to other reptiles, over-handling by humans, bright lights, and loud noises, due to which, it may attempt to escape.
- Overly small tank or too much empty space: Young hatchlings could get stressed out by too much empty space with no place to hide. Tanks that are too small do not allow for enough room to stretch out and move around.
- Hunger: This can also motivate your snake to attempt to escape.
- Unhygienic conditions: Every corn snake enclosure needs daily, weekly, and annual (deep) cleaning. Uneaten food, mold, and stinky conditions could also trigger corn snakes to attempt to escape.
Do Corn Snakes Like To Climb?
Corn snakes are mainly terrestrial, which means they spend most of their time on land. However, some corn snakes do display semi-arboreal behavior. This means that, although they don’t live in trees, they like to climb.
In their natural habitats, corn snakes have been also known to climb in search of meals. Also, in thick forests, if the trees do not let the sun’s rays reach the ground, corn snakes may climb to bask in the sun and seek warmth from the sun’s rays.
Therefore, it may be a good idea to provide your pet corn snake with various accessories that help encourage climbing.
Climbing is a great exercise for your corn snake. It can provide a change of scenery for your pet which may stimulate your snake mentally and prevent boredom.
Corn Snake Tank Size: Final Thoughts
Adult corn snakes need a tank that holds at least 20 gallons. 30 gallons is better. More is better still.
Younger corn snakes are fine with a 10-gallon tank, but you might as well buy a larger tank right from the start. It does not make much sense to buy two tanks.
Of course, you need to make sure to give your young snake plenty of places to hide, so that is does not feel exposed and suffer stress. Older snakes need hiding places too.
Since snakes like a hideout that is snug, this is the one thing you’ll want to get two of. A small one for the young snake and a bigger one your snake can enjoy when it matures.