1st Corn Snake

1st Corn Snake

Postby Eyenurse7 » Fri Mar 20, 2020 4:07 pm

We got a corn snake from friends, not sure about the sex or age. She is beautiful and seems healthy. We received her in a glass vivarium with a hide and a water bowl, nothing else to amuse her. The vivarium is in bad shape and my husband is going to build her a nice big wooden vivarium. We are new snake owners and not very clued up on what to buy with regards to a heating day and night light and the thermostat. What would you recommend to put on the floor to make it waterproof for spills and poo, vinyl or AstroTurf? We plan to put in some aspen substrate? She has been surviving without any of these up until we got her 4 days ago, but I would love to make her environment as cozy and healthy as possible. Any suggestions?
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Re: 1st Corn Snake

Postby Bernice » Sun May 10, 2020 7:35 pm

Hi there! (please note that whatever I tell you is all personal opinion and not law, we all find a way...) and i apologize for the wall of text...

Ive kept corns for a while now (about 9 years), and from the research Ive done and what Ive observed, Ill give you a quick run down of bare bones basics and tips

1) A basic heat pad is all you need, the size of the pad should not be more than 1/3 the floor space of the cage.
The silver heat cable in sticky silver foil ones are just fine, be wary of the pretty black plastic ones you can get at pet stores, ive heard more than one story of people having their animals burned, or having the whole cage catch fire because those short out! the silver ones are easy to wire up and usually dont get hot enough to cause your animal serious harm!
Heating depending on where you are in the country, where i am i only need to put the heat pads on in winter, during the night, Im useless with electrics so someone else will have to chime in about thermostats...

2) seal the cage with a fish safe, paint on pond liner, or a marine varnish, make sure both are VERY WELL cured and odorless before putting your snake in the cage. a few hours baking in the summer sun does wonders for getting the smell out. dont go too big or extravagant in your cage design! a good guideline is: cage length = adult length of your snake +1/2 Cage width: 1/3 to 1/2 your calculated length
(so a snake that gets a meter long will need a cage 1.5 meters long and about 50cm wide) especially young snakes will get nervous and anxious in a cage thats too big! so small snakes can be kept in tubs.

3) hides are important! rather too many than too few! i give my snakes a minimum of 3 boxes / tubes / things to hide in, it makes them feel safe, and they will more readily come out and explore if they feel they can safely retreat to a nearby hide.

4) decorations are nice, for you, the snake doesnt really care... snakes dont 'play', and dont really need to be amused, that doesn't mean don't make their cages interesting, by all means give them things to climb and shelves to sit on and boxes to hide in, but pretty colourful (plastic) plants and fake animal skulls and wooden logs etc are just extra things to clean in my opinion.

5)multiple layers of news paper is fine as basic bedding, works great, is easy to change, and spot clean. IF you want astroturf, make sure you have at least 3 pieces that fit the cage, so that you always have a clean one handy incase the one in the cage is soiled.
DONT USE WOOD CHIPS AS SUBSTRATE EVER! id go as far as to vilify any plant based substrate or pelleted stuff like corn cob bedding, too many stories of snakes accidentally ingesting it and getting impacted and all sorts of bad, and if mites get in they hide in the chips and are a pain to get out... Mulch bedding is ok if you really want a natural bedding and if you REALLY need to keep humidity up, but thats not necessary for a corn. *avoid at all costs* sand and corn cob and wood chips / shavings, if you use mulch Id advise to feed in a separate tub and NOT in the enclosure!

6) water... there are 2 main options, option 1 - have one BIG bowl, remember it must be big enough for snake to get into and submerge in, in the middle of the cage
option 2 - one biggish bowl on the warm side, for humidity and 'bathing', and a small one on the cold side for drinking (my snakes only ever used the one big bowl, so they only have one big bowl) if you need the cage more humid, move the bowl closer to the heat pad, if you want it less humid, move it away from the heat pad
Happiness is a fat mouse and a warm rock!

Dont fly! 4X4! The noble eagle may soar! but a weasel wont get sucked into a jet intake valve...

Some people are like a slinky spring, they make you smile when you push them down a flight of stairs!
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