Corn Snake Size: Factors That Affect Size And Ways To Take Care Of Them!

Corn snakes are some phenomenal looking snakes that frequent the wilderness of the south- eastern parts of the United States. The wild-types have the hues of the sun– yellow, orange and red that glow in the darkness. They have been bred and hybridized in controlled conditions for decades now which has led to a huge collection of different colors of corn snake morphs.

Because of their looks and docile personality, they are highly sought-after as pets. But before one adopts a corn snake, he must know about corn snake size, what they eat at different stages of their life, and what health issues they may encounter. This article will touch up on all these areas and will also enlighten you about how to take proper care of them.

Corn Snake Size: At-A-Glance Chart

Below is a chart that will help you to understand the different sizes that corn snakes meta- morph into throughout their life, from the hatchling stage to seniorhood.

State Of Growth Age                  (months and years) Body Length (Inch) Weight                    (gm)
Hatchling less than 6 months 8 to 20 4 to 23
Juvenile 6-12 months 20 to 35 25 to 50
Juvenile 12 to 18 months 35 to 45 50 to100
Sub-Adult 1-2 years old 35 to 50 100 to 500
Adult 2-4 years and older 35 to 65 500 to 800
Senior 18 years and older no significant change in body length 500 to 800

Corn Snake Size: Why Is It Important To Know The Size?

It is important to know the size of corn snakes at different stages of their lives because it will help you to adopt or purchase one, feed it properly, make them breed, and give them adequate medical attention. You should definitely know the difference between the size of a hatchling and a juvenile before you get one for yourself, or else you might end up with an adult corn snake when you actually wanted a baby corn snake.

Knowing The Size of Corn Snakes

  • Feeding: Knowing the size of a corn snake will help you to provide it with the best food sources that will optimize its growth and immunity. For example, a hatchling corn snake can only feed on a small pinky mouse, whereas juveniles, who do not look very different from the hatchlings except by their size, will feed on medium sized pinky mice. If a juvenile is provided with a smaller food portion, it will not obtain the necessary amount of nutrients.
  • Breeding: The size of a corn snake becomes a very important aspect when you are looking to breed them or aiming to purchase a vivarium for them. Corn snakes are considered for breeding when they reach a certain size. In corn snake families, their size gets a greater priority than their age to indicate sexual maturity.
    They usually show an interest to mate by the time they are 16 to 18 months old, but the best time to breed them is when they are 3 years of age. But unless they have reached a standard level of body length and weight, breeders do not make them mate.
  • Vivarium Size: Another thing is the vivarium size. To determine vivarium size also, you would need to know the size of the corn snake. Hatchlings can fit inside a shoe-box, but will adults fit into a baby-sized 10-gallon terrarium? And, juveniles and adults should be given enough space to stretch and explore. The vivarium should be spacious enough for them to feel comfortable.

How To Measure The Size Of A Corn Snake?

For all these questions and more, you should better know the size of your corn snake. A simple tape measure will do the trick, and getting another person to help you will be great. Find a soft, cloth-made tape measure instead of the metallic one since the latter has sharp edges and may hurt the snake.

Tape Measurement

  • Tape Measure: Hold one end of the tape at the tip of the corn snake’s snout, and tap at different length points on the body of the snake and take measurements, gradually leading toward the tip of the tail. Refrain from straightening the snake out since this may cause pain to the critter. Instead, go slow and dainty. Take your time to measure the beautiful snake.
  • String: Some individuals would simply use a string to measure the length of a corn snake’s body. They place one end of the string at the point where the snake’s snout is, and then slide their hands along the body of the snake being careful not to drop or displace the string. The idea is to keep the string (and the snake) as still as possible.
    Once you have reached the tail-tip, place the snake in its tank, and simply measure the string. The size of the string should be approximately equal to the body-length of the corn snake.

Scale Measurement

  • Scale: In order to weigh the snake, you can use a simple kitchen scale. First, place the container the snake will be in, on top of the weighing scale. The scale will obviously show a reading which should be changed to zero since you do not want the final number to contain the weight of the container. After that, put the snake inside the container and place a perforated lid on top of it. Finally, take the reading which will represent the weight of your pet corn snake.

How Big Does A Corn Snake Get: Size Of Species And Morphs

While hatchlings could be between 5 and 12 inches, adults could reach to a body length of about 6 feet! In the wilderness, they can live for 6 to 10 years, while in captivity they can thrive for longer than 20 years. This is mainly because they do not have to compete for food or battle with predators while captive-bred. Their humans take care of these issues for them.

Corn snakes are beautiful and slender when fed and groomed well. The Carolina or wild-type corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) look spectacular with their orange and red hues dancing on their body as they twist and turn like a ballerina across the vivarium.

These snakes belong to a genus called “Pantherophis” which literally means “panther-like snake” referring to the maroon saddles and blotches that are present on a corn snake’s body that will remind you of a panther’s skin. What do the species and morphs of corn snakes look like? Let’s take a look at them before we proceed to the next segments.

Pantherophis Emoryi

This is the second species of corn snakes, alternatively known as the Great Plains rat snakes. They are usually found in the central parts of the United States, inclu- ding the dry plains of Texas and Mexico. They can grow anywhere between 3 and 5 feet.

They look quite different from the wildtypes. They have a largely gray appearance with purple to dark gray saddled markings. They even have diamond shapes on their sides that look very attractive. Rocky areas and forested habitats are frequented by these purple-gay critters.

Pantherophis Slowinskii

This is the remaining of the three species of corn snakes. As far as looks are concerned, they resemble the above-mentioned rat snakes more closely than the wild- types. These beauties possess maroon saddle markings on a mostly gray body.

Slowinskii’s corn snakes could be as short as 3.5 feet, while some specimens could be as long as 5 feet. They are mostly found in the wilderness of Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas. They are quite secretive and are mostly found on trees since they are highly arboreal.

Corn Snake Morphs

There are over 800 morphs of corn snakes that have been produced by hybridization, inbreeding, and crossbreeding. They have mesmerizing colors, like red, pink, blue, black and purple, with patterns like motley and tessera that will take your breath away.

Genetic conditions like amelanism and anerythristic cause these snakes to not produce dark colors, or bright colors like orange and red. This is mainly caused by a recessive gene mutation. Completely white corn snakes also can be produced by modern reproductive techniques.

Morphs grow up to be the same size as the other species of corn snakes, i.e. between 2.5 and 6 feet. As the morphs are designer snakes and stay mostly within enclosures, they may grow a little bulky over time. However, a good diet can solve all these issues.

Factors That Affect The Size Of A Corn Snake

Factors That Affect The Size Of A Corn Snake

Corn snake morphs that are captive-bred are at the risk of gaining excess weight since they mostly stay indoors within an enclosure. When they gain weight, they naturally look larger too. There are several other factors that may affect corn snake size. Let’s take a look at them.

Improper Habitat And Mishandling

Temperature and humidity levels are crucial for reptiles to thermoregulate. Too cold or too moist are conditions that snakes loath since these conditions make them lethargic and sickly. If these conditions persist around the corn snake, it affects their behavior and feeding habits. You might find them coiled in a corner and stay hidden most of the time. They may even refuse to eat for long periods of time. This may lead to drastic loss of weight and malnutrition.

Mishandling makes snakes stressed and may make them demonstrate the same patterns of behavior as mentioned above. Mishandling may include poking and prodding them, picking them up from the tank too frequently, or showcasing them in front of a large group of people like a school classroom. Some beginner pet-keepers may make the mistake of leaving snakes in places where toxic fumes are emitting, which includes candle smoke and deodorants.


Sometimes corn snakes may eat something that was too large to swallow causing a mouth injury. Feeding live prey to corn snakes is always a no-no since the live animal may scratch or bite at the skin of the snake. Mouth and skin injuries may lead to infections that, if neglected or overlooked, may cause mental stress in the snake, further leading to a lack of appetite. If not treated by the correct time, these injuries could prove to be fatal.

Parasite infestations both inside and outside their body may also make the corn snakes suffer a loss of appetite. They may regurgitate food and defecate abnormally. All these diseases and discomforts may affect the size and shape of the corn snake. The corn snake may look leaner and triangular shaped over time, and will of course weigh less.

Improper Feeding Schedule

Improper Feeding Schedule

Feeding corn snakes the right amount of food at the right time is paramount. Hatchlings are usually fed one small pinky every week, juveniles a medium sized pinky every week, whereas adults are fed one adult mouse or rat every two weeks. Sticking to a corn snake feeding chart is a wise decision. Deviating from it may lead to obesity and sickness.

Once a corn snake gets overweight, you may notice folds and creases on its body after it stretches from a curled-up position. You may also be able to see “hips”, “flabs” or extra flesh sticking out just above their tail-region, indicative of obesity. Obesity adversely affects the shedding process of corn snakes. During or after shedding, you may be able to see unshed skin still sticking to their body which may lead to infection.

Lack Of Exercise

While wild corn snakes move around all the time in search of food or wriggling away from predators and other hazards, captive-bred designer morphs do not get to enjoy that wild and adventurous life. Breeders or snake-lovers try their best to decorate the terrarium in such a way so that it mimics a corn snake’s natural habitat.

Pet-keepers try a variety of techniques to bring some action into their pet corn snake’s life. They place caves, bridges, climber plants, rocks and thick substrates within the snake’s tank so that the snake feels curious to move around more.

Some people take their snake out into the sunshine and try different feeding techniques to make the snake feel as if it is hunting for food. The more movement in the snake, the more the calories burn. A fit snake will be less susceptible to heart, liver or kidney diseases.


Corn snake males are usually a few inches larger than their female counterparts. However, when females become impregnated, and the eggs grow inside of them, they look quite large, even larger than the males.

How To Take Care Of Corn Snakes Of Different Sizes

Take Care Of Corn Snakes Of Different Sizes

Corn snakes are lovely creatures and should be treated with love, care and respect. Simply keeping them in tray-like enclosures and forcing them to breed is not the treatment they deserve. When you purchase a corn snake, make sure your breeder or pet shop uses humane breeding techniques and takes good care of their pets before handing one over to you.

According to reptifiles page, the following formula could be used to figure out the size of the terrarium you are looking to place your corn snake in: (0.7 x length of the snake) x (0.5 x length of the snake). The width could be 0.5% of the snake’s length, and the height should be at least 2 inches if not more. In short, the larger the corn snake, the larger the terrarium or tank. Hatchlings are not a problem– they can be placed in any enclosure the size of a shoebox.

Tank size is crucial when it comes to a snake’s mental health and physical fitness. Placing a baby corn snake inside a 30-40 gallon tank is unnecessary and may prove to be counteractive because it will intimidate and confuse the snake. Keeping in mind the corn snake size, the tank should be chosen. Most snake lovers start with small tanks, and choose to change to bigger sized tanks as their pet corn snake grows larger.

Temperature and humidity maintenance, as explained earlier, plays a pivotal role in corn snake care. Snakes are ectothermic critters and depend on their surrounding temperature to maintain their core body temperature, unlike the mammals. Tank heating systems should be able to sus- tain a temperature between 70 and 85°F. Humidity could be maintained between 40-60% at a very affordable cost using misters.

At What Age Should Corn Snakes Be Bred?

When breeding corn snakes, their age does not matter much. Many corn snake morphs look much older when they are only juveniles, while certain others look very thin and small although they could be a year old. Beginner corn snake keepers often have a question on when corn snakes should be mated to produce offspring.

Many breeders follow the 3-3-3 rule. A corn snake must be at least 3 feet long, 3 years of age, and 300 g in weight, in order to be eligible to breed. Haste must be avoided when you are consi- dering breeding corn snakes, and forcing corn snakes to mate to produce more eggs should be strictly avoided. Always consult a breeder who not only rears snakes, but loves them a lot.

Corn Snake Size: How They Molt To Metamorph

How big does a corn snake get? It is a good question, keeping in mind that snakes keep growing until they perish. Snakes have the superpower of “indeterminate growth” meaning their body length can keep increasing, though insignificantly, for their whole life.

Now, unlike mammals, a snake’s skin does not stretch. They need new skin every time they face growth spurts. While they grow new skin, the old skin accumulates above the new skin, forming a molt or a shell that looks just like the snake’s body, only it is white or gray in color. When the molting is over, the snake simply wriggles out of the old skin pack.

The first shedding of corn snakes takes place when they are only 7-days old. Baby corn snakes shed skin the most frequently, once every 4 to 5 weeks. Once they grow older, they shed once every 5 to 8 weeks. Shedding becomes more and more infrequent as they age

Ways Of Keeping Corn Snakes Fit And Lively

Regular health checkup is of prime importance while taking care of a corn snake. One checkup per month is sufficient, unless of course the corn snake often falls sick or there is an emergency. Overeating and obesity is a big problem in captive corn snakes, so ensure there are a lot of fun stuff like thick substrates to hide into, water pots to splash in, and caves to wriggle in and out of.

Hiding spots within the tank will make your pet corn snake cry tears of joy. Snakes are innately quite secretive and love to hide. Get wooden tanks or black-out tanks where only one side is transparent, while the other sides are not. They get very stressed when other house pets or children peek into their house every now and then. So get them some hiding spots, pronto.


Corn snakes are some of the loveliest snakes around in the United States and Central America. They are easy to handle and super low maintenance. There are around 1000 morphs of corn snakes, each more colorful than the other, with patterns that are simply dreamy.

Corn snake size is a very important thing to note before adopting or purchasing one. This small piece of information will help you to guess a corn snake’s age, sexual maturity, tank size to buy, and even the types of food to feed. Therefore, do not underestimate this small piece of info.

Hi dear readers! This is Rebecca, the lead analyst and blog writer for Snake Insider. Following in the footsteps of David’s guided path, I feel highly encouraged to make the most interesting snake-facts to a mass audience! In due time, I believe we’ll be able to present some jaw-dropping insight on snakes that’s sure to leave you begging for more! Personally, I’m a strongly motivated person to explore the most extreme environments should my work demand it. In many cases, I’ve ventured deep into territories that were never considered certain snake habitats and brought back necessary information. Rest assured I’ll surely be sharing them with you over the course of time.

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