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Looking at Adopting A Snake - Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Snakes' started by Madds, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. Madds

    Madds PetForums Newbie

    Jul 12, 2019
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    Hi there!

    I'm looking at getting some advice from any snake owners out there!

    I'm doing a little research regarding the possibility of adopting a corn snake. I remember falling in love with these little guys back when I was 10 and have considered getting one ever since, but I was always been concerned about their care requirements. Now, being older and wiser, I feel like I am ready to take on the responsibility, however, this is not a decision I want to rush into.
    Ideally, I am hoping to adopt a snake that will not grow too large and that is friendly and willing enough to sit around my shoulders/body whilst I work or relax (hopefully for an hour or so at a time). Hence, one that is good with handling. I have heard that corns can be a little quick to slither away, but many people also claim that they are relatively calm. Any thoughts on this?

    Additionally, I have a very busy schedule. Currently, I am in my final year at university, studying film production. I have worked on sets, of which I will be doing a lot more once I graduate, with days often reaching 16+ hours. I would also need to travel a lot in the near future, going wherever the work takes me.
    Of course, this means that I will often be away and would never want to deprive an animal because of this.
    Do you think that corns are good with this type of lifestyle? Are their care requirements quite intense, or are they pretty easy to juggle with a hectic schedule and possibly being away for a couple of days? From the research I have done, many people claim that corns are good beginner snakes because of their ease, but I am a little uncertain. From what I gather, they require feeding once a week and a thorough tank clean every month, with spot cleans every few days? Are their tank temperatures difficult to control and in need of constant monitoring?

    Finally, what is a good tank size for a corn and a rough estimate of their upkeep cost?
    I hear that a 20 gallon tank is perfect, but for a naïve non-American, what does this equate to in dimensions? I don’t want to squish a growing snake in a tank too small for him, but neither would I want a jumbo tank that I have no space for. Are they also expensive to feed and look after, considering that money may be a little tight some months, especially when I’m fresh out of graduation!

    Apologies for all the questions! I just want to get advice from snake owners who have had experience with these little guys, especially when faced with similar circumstances. Like I have already said, this is not something I want to rush in to and would rather hold off on getting a snake should they not be ideal for my current and future lifestyle.
  2. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

    Jan 19, 2014
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    Hi. No advice except I am interested in the idea of keeping snakes too in the future so will watch your thread with interest.

    I found this article by the RSPCA which was interesting and may be of help.


    I dont know whether you have seen it but @Acidic Angel recently posted this thread about their corn snakes and may perhaps be able to point you in the right direction for resources for care etc.

    Acidic Angel and Madds like this.
  3. kimthecat

    kimthecat PetForums VIP

    Aug 11, 2009
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    @Acidic Angel knows a lot about snakes. Shes been quite busy lately but hopefully she will see this when she pops in and have some advice for you.
    Madds and Acidic Angel like this.
  4. Acidic Angel

    Acidic Angel Your ego does not surpass your pets wellbeing

    May 8, 2012
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    Thanks for the mentions @kittih and @kimthecat :)

    Hi Madds, I hope the following answers your questions and concerns regarding corn snakes!

    Size & Disposition: Most corn snakes reach on average around 4-5ft, but some do make it up to 6ft or stop at 3ft. You can never really be sure how large a snake will grow until it's an adult.
    Corns aren't typically the kind of snake that will sit still and chill with you unfortunately, they are quite active. Of course, they do vary, and some are very relaxed and will find a comfy spot and stay there, but they generally like to explore and go wherever they can.

    Being left for long periods: Most snakes will be perfectly fine being left with minimal handling or interaction, generally they don't "like" handling, they learn to tolerate it and it's pretty much solely for our benefit. So if you end up spending multiple days working long hours and all you can do is top up water or look at your snake, it won't mind, trust me :) Mine aren't handled daily, with the amount I have it would take me hours just to handle them for 20-30 minutes each.
    As for going away frequently, provided you aren't gone for weeks on end, or can have someone pop in and check on the snake/refresh water/feed if necessary, this will also be fine. If you're going for more than 2/3 days I'd add an extra water bowl just to be sure your snake has a source of water. If going for a week or more, feed before you go and have somone pop in every couple of days to refresh water and check in.

    Cleaning: Spot clean a few days after they're fed, as they typically empty themselves anywhere from 2-5 days after being fed. Full clean doesn't have to be every month, I typically do mine every 3-6 months. As long as you keep up with spot cleaning and replacing the dirty bedding when needed, full deep cleans don't have to be done as frequently as a lot of people recommend.
    Feeding: An adult corn snake generally does well on a feeding schedule of 1x medium/large mouse(medium ranges 15-20g, large is 20-25g) every 10-14 days, though keep an eye on your snakes shape. A good shape for a healthy corn snake would be similar to a loaf of bread. Rounded top, flat sides and bottom.

    Temperature and controlling it: They require a warm side of 28c, this can be provided via a heat mat or ceramic heat emitter, both must be controlled by a thermostat to keep the temperature stable. For a heat mat you can use either a mat stat(also called on/off stats) or pulse stat, for a CHE I prefer pulse stats because it's a buld and the constant turning on and off could damage it. If you use a CHE you need to have the correct fitting for it, as they will often melt plastic fittings. You also need a bulb guard to stop your snake coming in direct contact with the bulb.

    Enclosure size: For an adult you're looking at 36x18x18 inches, though a lot of people will offer bigger and choose a 48x24x24 inch enclosure to offer extra space :)

    Cost: They typically don't cost much to keep once they're set up. A lot of pet shops or reptile shops will do mice for individual prices or 10 for x amount, usually it's more cost effective to buy 10 at a time and then you have a fair bit of food until you need to restock.

    Don't apologise for asking for advice, I would much prefer everyone do research and ask for advice than just go out and get a snake on a whim, honestly! :)
  5. Teddy-dog

    Teddy-dog PetForums VIP

    Nov 2, 2017
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    I got my kingsnake in my final year at Uni so it’s definitely doable!

    I can’t add much as @Acidic Angel has said it all but you sound like you’re doing your research and think you should go for it. They are a great low maintenance pet :)
    Madds and Acidic Angel like this.
  6. Madds

    Madds PetForums Newbie

    Jul 12, 2019
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    Ah, thank you so much everyone!

    This advice and information has really been helpful! I'm going to pop into my local pet store soon to have a gander at the corn snakes and get a feel for them! I know how much I have admired them from afar over the years!

    Hopefully in the next couple of months I will take the plunge! They seem like truly gorgeous animals, and even though most may want to wriggle and explore, I have no doubt they will still be lovely to handle!

    The only thing that I will find a tad difficult is the feeding, as I have owned pet rats in the past who I absolutely adored! I will just have to detach as much as possible from the frozen mice and consider them to be just like the animals we purchase in the supermarket to eat!

    I might pop into this thread every now and again for questions, or create a new one, but you folks have honestly been exceptional! Thank you!
    #6 Madds, Aug 28, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
    Acidic Angel, kittih and kimthecat like this.
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