Corn Snake Habitat: Welcome To The Humble Abode Of These Beauties!

In the wild, corn snakes are free to move around whenever and wherever. The ponds, lakes and streams, the grasslands, the hillsides are all owned by these wriggling critters. In the daytime, they share their golden hues with the sun, while at night they turn into star-covered ninjas!

However, once a corn snake is rescued, adopted or purchased, unless it is returned to the wild, it stays with humans and gets taken care of by them. Corn snake habitat then becomes an enclosure, not that the corn snake has any problem with it since they are highly adaptive snakes (plus they are getting free food!).

Humans spend a quality time decorating the enclosure so that the critter feels at ease and feels right at home. The enclosure means the world to them and the owner is willing to bring down the moon and the sun to his beloved pet. Let’s learn some techniques to welcome these beautiful creatures into their lovely home (wild or not)!

Corn Snake Habitat: Where Do Corn Snakes Live In The Wild?

Corn snakes are non-venomous serpents that belong to the large Colubridae family. They have three species and around a thousand different morphs created using inbreeding and hybrid- ization techniques. The common corn snakes look mostly orange with red saddle marks, whereas Slowinski’s corn snakes and the Great Plains rat snakes look more grayish.

Habitat is a place that animals call home– a place they can venture around freely with access to food and water, including communication with other living things. A wild corn snake’s habitat is of course in the wilderness, surrounded by varieties of plants and animals. The designer corn snake morphs, however, are captive-bred and spend most of their time with humans.

Natural Habitat

These beautiful red and orange hued snakes are most abundantly found in New Jersey, Florida, Virginia, Georgia, Louisiana, parts of Kentucky, and some other Southeastern states. Some corn snakes had been artificially introduced in the Bahamas, Caribbeans and the US Virgin Islands where they have seemed to thrive fortunately.

Corn Snake Wild Map

The wild-type corn snakes are highly adaptive and can be spotted almost everywhere. They can be found in wooded groves, meadows, forest openings, savannas, pine and oak forests, and outcrops. They love open spaces and bask in the sun, but they are also quite shy and secretive. If they ever encounter humans and predatory animals, they quickly wriggle beneath rock crevices and thickets to maintain a low profile. They avoid trouble as much as possible.

Common corn snakes can also be found in harsh, arid areas like shrublands and rocky hillsides. The Great Plains rat snakes, for instance, often frequent rocky, mountainous regions. Due to habitat loss, a large population of corn snakes are now found near human settlements like urban parks, dump-yards, barns, abandoned buildings, farms, and sheds.

Hunting And Feeding Habits

Corn snakes do not have fangs and venom sacs inside their mouth, so they use some other means to bring their prey within their control. At first, they use the small but pointed teeth in their mouth to get hold of the animal and then make tightening coils around their body to suffocate them to fatality. With the help of their super expandible jaws and ribs, they successfully swallow a prey larger than their own head.

Hunting And Feeding Habits

Hatchlings of corn snakes are formidable right after the moment they hatch. Using their innate skills, they hunt down small prey like lizards and little birds and ruthlessly feed on them. Larger corn snakes prey on rodents primarily, like mice, rats, and squirrels. The Great Plains rat snakes are excellent tree climbers, helping themselves to small birds and eggs without any hesitation.

Most corn snakes hunt at night and encounter another prey– the nocturnal bats. Bats may not be their favorite animal to snack on but harsh times compel them to do so. Corn snakes can hear low ground noises by picking up vibrations, a skill that helps them to locate the presence of a prey or predator. They mostly stay hidden within leaf litter and use ambush predation tech- niques to plunge on unsuspecting critters.

Self Defense

Corn snakes have an upper hand when it comes to saving themselves from predators like foxes and raccoons. They look a lot like the venomous coral and copperhead snakes mainly because of the red and orange colors that all three have in common. Predators often mistake corn snakes to be venomous and decide it is best to leave them alone.

One of the reasons why snakes are so less visible in nature is because of their secretive nature. They stay hidden under leaf litter and crevices most of the time which also acts as a defense tool for them to survive longer in the wild.

Also, when attacked, they can easily climb trees, hiss and bite, and can swim too. The bright colors of the Carolina corn snake somewhat give them away, but the other two species (Great Plains and Slowinski’s) are better at camouflage owing to their black and gray appearance.

Corn Snake Enclosure: Captivity Vs Wilderness

Preparing Corn Snake Enclosure

Before you consider bringing a hatchling or an adult corn snake home or to your breeding center, you need to have an enclosure ready. A well-equipped terrarium is critical when it comes to the health and fitness of a corn snake. An enclosure with proper maintenance of humidity and temperature could prove to be perfect haven for a corn snake.

Failure to provide an appropriate habitat to a corn snake in captivity may lead to a plethora of diseases and discomfort. Dehydration, stress, breathing issues, mouth and scale rot, and skin infections are some of the most common health issues that captive corn snakes may experi- ence. A domestic corn snake, like a lavender or a Palmetto corn snake, can live for longer than 20 years if you are committed to taking good care of it.


Corn snakes in human supervision feed on more or less the same thing as they do in the wild, rodents being their absolute favorite. However, offering live or wild mice is discouraged, instead frozen thawed pinky and fuzzy mice, that are available in pet stores, are fed to captive corn snakes. Scaleless corn snakes must never be fed live rats because these snakes have few scales on their body that make them highly susceptible to bites and scratches.

The size of the feeder mice that are fed to corn snakes should be equal to the largest width of the snake’s body, ie, the area of the body which is the widest. To add variety to the diet of the snake, items like quail chicks, their eggs, chicken eggs, anoles, lizards, and geckos could also be added from time to time. Hatchlings are fed more frequently than the adults.

Enclosure Type And Size

A corn snake enclosure should be spacious enough for the snake to stretch and move around in. Since they have ophiophagous tendencies, adult corn snakes cannot be kept together. However, two or three hatchlings could be kept even inside a shoebox since they are really tiny, between 5 to 12 inches long and do not harm one another.

Enclosures for corn snakes are made with either plastic, glass or wood. Plastic ones are very sturdy and much cheaper. They are also lighter and insulate heat more efficiently. Plastic corn snake enclosures sometimes come with an in-built heat bulb mounted or attached at the top.

Glass Enclosure

Glass enclosures, on the other hand, cannot hold heat inside as efficiently, and may even get overheated if there is a bulb at the top or a heat mat at the bottom. Wooden ones look beautiful but are quite heavy. However, one of the biggest advantages of getting a wooden enclosure for your pet corn snake is that it provides maximum privacy to your shy snake.

Steel enclosures with bars or mesh (like a bird’s cage) should better be avoided, except for transporting or shifting purposes. This is mainly because snakes could abrade their body against the rough surface while moving around. Wooden, plastic or glass, make sure the encl- osure has a ventilation system and the walls are clamped tightly.

Now let’s discuss the size of the tank. For hatchlings, a 10-20 gallon tank is good enough. For adults, a tank of a 30-40 gallon capacity should be available since they could be as long as 6 feet at times! Though corn snakes are highly adaptive and can live in tiny terrariums too, small enclosures should be reserved for shifting, breeding or feeding purposes only.


Reptiles are ectothermic creatures. They regulate their core body temperature based on the changes of the surrounding temperature. The pet keeper needs to ensure a temperature gradient within the corn snake enclosure. Generally the gradient should be between 75 and 85°F, with a warm side at 80-85°F, and a cool side of 75 to 80°F.

Corns Snake Ideal Temperature

Warm side could be easily maintained using under-tank heaters, ceramic heat emitters, or halogen flood bulbs. Keep half the enclosure warm and the other half cool. A digital thermo- meter could be used to measure heat by dipping it into the substrate. At night, the temperature naturally falls to 68°F and it should be kept that way.

Also, it goes without saying that the corn snake enclosure should be kept away from any place that can affect the tank’s temperature. This includes keeping the tank at a safe distance from air conditioners, heaters, freezers and vents, among other things. If temperature is not maintained properly, the snake may become lethargic and may have respiratory issues.

Humidity: Humidity content inside the enclosure must be maintained between 65 and 75%

and can be measured by a hygrometer. It could easily be maintained by using automatic misters, a water bowl or wet sphagnum moss. The latter two will add moisture to the tank’s atmosphere as the water from them evaporates. Designer morphs such as red, white and yellow corn snakes may not be able to shed properly if a proper humidity level is not provided.

Some beginner snake enthusiasts use tap water to fill up the water bowl within the corn snake enclosure. If the water in your house does not have chemicals like chlorine or fluorine mixed with it, you can go ahead, otherwise refrain from doing so. Try to provide fresh-water or bottled water to your pet snake. Keep the water bowl clean and disinfected at all times.

Light And Dark

Try to provide 12 hours of light-time and 12 hours of dark-time to your pet corn snake in order to mimic their innate body clock. Usually UVB or LED bulbs are used for this purpose and they also contribute to heating purposes.

Light And Dark Effect

It is not absolutely necessary to install lights within a corn snake enclosure. The natural indirect light that enters your corn snake’s tank is more than enough. However, make sure that the tank is not placed directly beside or underneath an open window where direct sunlight streams through. Certain amelanistic corn snakes are sensitive to bright lights.


Also known as bedding, is a mixture of soil and sand. Make sure that the soil content in the substrate is organic and additive free. You can place leaf litter on top that helps to retain moisture. A layer of leaf litter will also allow the snake to play hide and seek. The top layer of the substrate should be cleaned daily, and replaced every 3 to 4 months.

Beddings often consist of aspen shavings or cypress mulch. Some use crumpled up newspapers also to create a texture on the top layer where the snake can wriggle about. Many experienced snake keepers advise not to use cedar and pine shavings to create beddings as they release oil that may prove to be toxic to your pet corn snake. Corn cobs and aquarium beddings materials are considered a choking hazard, so must be avoided.


One of the best ways to make a pet corn snake feel at ease in its new enclosure is to make it look as close to its natural habitat as possible. Many snake lovers will make their pet corn snake’s vivarium mimic a forest or a farm, with plenty of cool looking hiding spots and bathing places. Corn snakes are shy and timid and love to hide within these spots.

Ideal Decorations of Corn Snake

Trays or tubes to hold water could be placed at the cool side of the tank so that the snake considers the shaded part of the tank as a place to retreat whenever it feels uncomfortable or stressed out. Caves, bridges, climbing plants, rocks, sphagnum moss, logs of wood with branches, leafed vines, and you name it, could be placed inside a snake tank to bring a piece of the natural world within the limited space of a terrarium.


A corn snake habitat consists of grasslands, cleanings and edges of forests, different types of freshwater bodies and a large population of flora and fauna that come with it, all communicating with the beautiful, sunny-hued corn snakes.

People who are interested in bringing a corn snake home and are eager to take care of it, try to make the enclosure resemble a corn snake’s natural habitat. Their heartfelt attempt to make the enclosure as warm and welcoming as possible for their pet corn snake really pays off.

Hello snake lovers! I’m David Mifsud and Snake Insider is my latest project with a vision of spreading reptile awareness to every single netizen. I’ll be introducing some of the most unexplored territories in the world of snakes to broaden the horizon of knowledge for the readers. My personal motto is to get as close to the snakes in nature without disrupting the balance and gather information as well as habitation patterns. It can be later on utilized in order to build a safe and healthy environment for every species of snakes. So stick around with us and I’m sure we won’t disappoint you!

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