Corn snakes (also known as pantherophis guttatus) are a constrictor that inhabits the southeast US. While they are primarily arboreal in their search for food, preferring to feed on small rodents and lizards, they do occasionally explore other structures in their environment. Because of their smaller size, more relaxed disposition, and beautiful coloration, they make great pets. If you’ve ever considered owning a corn snake yourself, you may have wondered how much owning one truly costs.
As you can imagine, there is quite a bit that goes into calculating the true cost of owning these reptiles. However, going through with a little bit of planning, and ensuring that your budget is properly calculated before bringing your snake home, you vastly increase your chances of success.
To begin, we will assess the price of various different corn snake morphs. Then, we will look into concrete costs such as first time setup and accessories. We will then examine more fluctuating costs that may change based on your location and needs, such as utilities and feeding.
How Much are Certain Morphs?
The world of corn snakes is vast and varied. In fact, there are over 800 morphs of corn snake in the world. And breeders are forming new ones all the time. While they’re all awesome looking, the varying levels of rareness and desirability of these morphs can impact pricing. To help you get a handle on how much a corn snake really is, there is a rundown of some of the more common morphs available, and how much you can expect them to cost.
Hypo Corn Snake ~$99
These snakes are essentially a morph that was bred to demonstrate a recessive lighter coloring.
Black Corn Snake ~$99
While you might assume these snakes are melanistic based on their coloring, they are actually anerythristic (not displaying any red). This is why they are also kwon as an anery corn snake. It also gives them an impressive black and white appearance.
As the name implies, these snakes carry an albanistic gene. However, instead of being all white as one might expect, they also sport impressive light red/orange banding. Their ruby red eyes, however, will indicate that they are truly albino.
These corn snakes hold pretty much the exact same coloration and patterning as those in nature. This makes them highly desirable for collectors looking for a snake with a “wilder” appearance.
This animal comes from the breeding of caramel and sunkissed corn snakes. This gives them dark golden bands with black outlining across a lighter yellow body.
Similar to some other corn snake morphs on this list, these reptiles have a “hypomelanistic” gene, which greatly reduces the appearance of black on their bodies. This allows for their bright reds, oranges, and yellows to shine through even more.
These gorgeous, partially albino snakes hold virtually no pigment. This gives their skin a white, nearly translucent appearance, having simply light shades of beige where reds would be. Due to their albanistic genes, their eyes are frequently red or pink.
Ghost Corn Snake ~$119
Unlike the previous entry, these snakes are not crossed with albino corn snakes. Instead, they are the result of the cross between hypo and black corn snakes. This removes nearly all pigmentation aside from some notable black banding.
Blood Red Corn Snake ~$139
While some corn snake morphs opt to remove pigment for a certain effect these guys go in a different direction. Their reds and yellows are extremely saturated and wrap all around their bodies, removing nearly all traces of white.
Reverse Okeetee ~$149
This snake takes the typical coloration that you would see in a okeetee corn snake and removes nearly all black pigment from it. This makes some of their bands nearly completely white. Because of that, their red and yellow markings are allowed to stand out a bit more.
Scaleless Corn Snake ~$500
As the name implies, these snakes hold a mutation that allows them to be completely or mostly scaleless. Despite this, these snakes live healthy, normal lives without specialty care. Surprisingly enough, these snakes do indeed shed like any other. However, instead of having scales, their shed is simply the outermost layer of their skin.
Corn Snake Habitat Costs
When you first purchase a corn snake for sale, it will most likely arrive as a baby. This means that you are going to want to set it up in a 10 gallon tank as its first habitat. You can expect this to cost around $120. You may need to transfer your snake into a larger setup as it grows.
Of course, one of the most important factors when asking questions like “how much is a corn snake” is going to be habitat setup and maintenance. While many of these items are typically one-time purchases or will only be replaced very infrequently, you may have to account for certain items (such as substrate) into your monthly budget. Fortunately, you can easily find a prepackaged corn snake starter kit. This will have everything you need for your snake and will cost around $60.
Feeding tongs ~ $10
Reptile Heating pad ~ $15-$20
Digital thermometer ~$10
Water bowl ~$8
Hide Spot ~$15
Substrate ~$10/bag. You will need to change your snake’s bedding every month.
How Much Does it Cost to Feed?
When asking something like “how much is a corn snake”, monthly food expenses will likely be the first thing on your mind. Fortunately, the cost of food for your snake will probably be one of the cheaper expenses regarding it. It is common knowledge that snakes do not require frequent feedings. In fact, they can subsist on three meals a month of appropriately sized prey items as an adult. Smaller “fuzzy” mice that you would feed to a younger snake typically only cost $1.00 . Adult frozen mice typically cost a little over a dollar, and can be purchased in bulk. If you are looking to purchase your prey items online, you will have to include shipping in your cost.
Note: A good rule of thumb to follow is feeding your snake a food item that is as big as the widest part of it.
One of the most important aspects of caring for reptiles is ensuring that they get a proper amount of UVA/UVB exposure from specialty reptile lights. While these repile bulbs will typically cost around $10-$15, you should factor in their occasional replacement and electricity output. It is important to note that under no circumstances should you substitute them for typical lamp bulbs. These do not provide the necessary amount of UVA/UVB for your reptile, and could cause irreversible damage and even death. If you want to learn more about how much you can expect to spend monthly on electricity costs for reptiles, our article “How much does a reptile heat lamp cost to run” willl help.
When trying to factor in how much any pet is going to cost -including corn snakes- you are going to need to account for regular vet visits. However, for a corn snake, you can expect your typical checkup to cost around $40-$60. Additional testing and lab work may cost around +100. If you are sure to bring your snake to regular checkups and keep on top of any potential issues and suspicious behavior, you can help stay ahead of any potentially costly emergency.
If you expect the cost of healthcare for your snake to be especially costly over its lifetime, we would recommend purchasing pet insurance. This will help to drastically reduce the cost of procedures and testing. This might make all the difference in potentially distressing situations. To minimize insurance pricing, try obtaining it when your pet is young and healthy.
To help find a vet that’s right for you, we would advise seeking out recommendations from the reptile community. You could also seek out a forum or Facebook group for reptile keepers in your area to ensure that you get local results.
Final Thoughts on How Much is a Corn Snake
Overall, corn snakes are a wonderful, docile pet that would make a great addition to any home. You may even find yourself sent down the rabbithole of the reptile community and the joys of owning these serpentine friends. Who knows, you might just find yourself owning more than one!
As you become more experienced in owning snakes, you will have a more intuitive understanding of just how much things are going to cost. However, for first time owners, it is often important to concretely write things down and properly plan out what you need to spend before bringing your pet home. After all, you wouldn’t want to find yourself in a tight financial bind or missing out on something your snake needs because of bad planning.
If you are looking for a corn snake for sale, we would highly recommend seeking out an ethical breeder. You should check that they care for the overall health and quality of their lines. That factor alone could save you a lot of headache and healthcare costs in the end.