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What do corn snakes eat?

what do corn snakes eat

Before seeking out a corn snake as a pet, you may be trying to research what they’ll need. This means looking up what exactly corn snakes eat (such as frozen mice), and how to make sure they consume their food. No one wants to be caught unaware of how to take care of their new pet.

To help out all-new corn snake owners, here is a brief, comprehensive guide on what corn snakes consume, and general tips on how to have the most success with feeding them.

What Do Corn Snakes Typically Eat?

When asking what corn snakes eat, it’s important to consider their native habitat and role in the ecosystem. Corn snakes are endemic to the eastern United States, meaning that they reside in a variety of environments from swampland to wetland. Like most reptiles, these snakes eat infrequently and can thrive on three meals a month. This can change depending on the seasons and weather.

However, they are not picky, and typically dine on anything smaller than themselves. This includes lizards, amphibians, small mammals, birds, and bats. Like most reptiles, they do eat other snakes in certain situations.

Regardless of the environment they reside in, these reptiles are essential in the overall ecological health of that area. Corn snakes are essential for keeping the population of a variety of animals in check that would otherwise proliferate and become destructive.

How they eat:

Corn snakes are constrictors. This means that they dispatch their prey by coiling their bodies around its body and suffocating/crushing it to death. Potential snake owners should take into consideration their level of comfort with this imagery before purchasing an animal.

What do Corn Snakes Typically Eat in Captivity?

While zoological institutions and researchers may have the wide variety of food items that a corn snake would typically eat available to them, the average pet owner would not. Not to fear. Corn snakes can thrive on a diet essentially consisting of frozen mice and rats. There are, however, some considerations that you need to take into account.

Depending on the age of your snake, it will have different feeding requirements. For instance, baby corn snakes will need around 2 to three “pinkies” a week. Pinkies are essentially neonate mice that have not yet grown fur. As the snake ages, it will graduate to “fuzzies”, which are young mice that have grown fur. Typically between 5 days and 2 weeks old.

To get a Sense of how to Feed A Snake, Stick to This General Guide:

When looking up corn snakes for sale, you’re mostly going to find young animals that were recently hatched. These snakes are going to have different feeding requirements than adults. Here’s a general guide on what to feed your snake depending on its age.

  • Less than 6 months: Two age-appropriate food items a week.
  • 6 to 12 months: Around once a week.
  • 1 to 2 years old: Once a week. The size of a food item may change at this time.
  • 2 to 4 years old: Every 7 to 10 days.
  • 4 years +: Three times a month.

As always, we would recommend consulting with your vet to decide on appropriately sized food items and creating a feeding plan that will ensure that your snake is healthy and thriving.

How to Know if A Corn Snake is Hungry

Most of the time, a snake will exhibit distinctive behaviors to let you know that it’s hungry. Oftentimes it will prowl at the front of its tank, flicking its tongue in an attempt to smell for food.

General Dos and Don’ts for feeding your snake:

  • Don’t feed it directly from your hand.
  • Do defrost the mouse prior to feeding.
  • Remove the food item after 10 minutes if it hasn’t been consumed. Do not defrost your snake’s food in a microwave unless it has a low setting for such a purpose.
  • Make sure that the size of the food item is appropriate for your snake.
  • Opt for frozen mice and avoid feeding your snake live prey items whenever possible. This can possibly cause injury to the snake, and put unnecessary stress on both animals.
  • Your snake may be too stressed to eat when it first comes home. Attempt your first feeding approximately a week after it’s settled into its new environment.

With these general guidelines, you should have a good grasp on how to keep your snake appropriately fed. If the snake is exhibiting unusual feeding behaviors, take it to a vet as soon as possible. This can include regurgitation, repeated refusal of food, and excess gas.

If you are looking for corn snakes for sale, it is important that you seek out a reputable breeder that seeks out the best health and temperaments for their lines. This will ensure that your snake is predictable in temperament and remains in good health. 

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