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How long do corn snakes live as pets?

The corn snake is a smaller, non-venomous reptile found across the eastern US. Because of their docile disposition, tolerance of handling, and notable appearance, they make for popular pets. When seeking out a corn snake as a pet, one may wonder exactly how long they live.

Snakes are a wide group of animals that differ in many ways, including lifespan. With a bit of guidance, however, finding out how long you can expect a corn snake to live in your care is a piece of cake.

How Long do Corn Snakes Typically Live as Pets

In the wild, a snake’s life span is widely varied. Typically, its life is impacted by a variety of factors, like access to food. However, in captivity, where a corn snake will live a much more stable life with access to resources, it can live for around 20 years. This means that, when properly cared for, your snake will be a long lived companion that will stay with you through a large portion of your own life.

To prepare for that commitment, here are the basics of what to know to ensure that your snake not only survives, but thrives in your care.

Caring for Your Corn Snake

When asking “how long do corn snakes live as pets”, you should also be wondering about how to care for them to ensure a long lifespan. Fortunately, most snakes are notably low maintenance to care for. At least, that is when compared to other, more common pets.

Feeding

Making sure that your pet snake is properly fed is essential to giving it a long and healthy life. Fortunately, healthy snakes only require being fed an appropriately sized food item around three times a month. Given that you will most likely acquire your corn snake when it was available for sale as a baby, you will likely need to adjust the size of your food items as it grows.

To get an idea of what to feed your snake and when, here’s a general chart to follow.

  • Hatchlings (less than 18″ long) every 5-7 days.
  • Juveniles (around 18-36″ long) every 7-10 days.
  • Adults (more than 36″ long) three times a month.

As a rule of thumb, feed your snake an item that will be the same width as the thickest part of its body.

Housing

Before bringing your corn snake home, it is important that you have its home properly set up. In addition to having an approximately 15-gallon tank, you will need basic supplies. This will include (at a bare minimum) proper substrate, hiding places, heating mat, bulb, and water dish. Your snake’s basic needs, such as heat, shedding, and food will dictate your shopping list.

Once your snake gets home, it’s important that you provide a safe, comfortable environment for your snake that extends beyond the tank. This means putting it in a relatively quiet area that’s free of frequent human traffic. You should also keep in mind other forms of sensory input.

Your snake’s environment should also be clean and free of waste and pests. You can do this by thoroughly cleaning your pet’s tank and supplies every week. By implementing a “cleanup crew” of detritivores like isopods, you can drastically reduce the amount of grossness that accumulates in your tank.

Monitoring Your Snake

An important part of influencing how long your pet corn snake will live is how vigilant you are as an owner. Making sure that your snake is going through its biological processes properly will be essential. This means making sure it eats well, sheds properly, and is taken care of when showing signs of illness.

If you notice that your snake is leaving stuck shed on its body when it should have come off, try upping the humidity in the tank. You can even give it a warm bath in a clean tub.

Here are some red flags in regards to your snake’s health:

Regurgitation

More lethargic than usual

Skin issues, such as red bumps or lacerations

Breathing issues

Final Thoughts on How Long Corn Snakes Live as Pets

Snakes, in general, make wonderful pets. They are lower maintenance, cool looking, and do form a unique (if different) bond with their owner. If you find a pet corn snake for sale from a reputable breeder and care for it, you will have a companion that can live for decades. As always, we recommend finding a reputable exotic vet for your snake. When seeking out breeders, make sure that they prioritize the health and temperaments of their lines. 

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