Introduction: How to Keep and Maintain a Corn Snake
This is Maize. He is my corn snake, which i have had for almost 2 years. He is about 4.5 years old. I have much experience with corn snakes, and many other snakes. In this instructable, I will show you how to properly keep and maintain a corn snake. When you are selecting a snake to buy, never buy from a well known pet store (Petco, Petsmart) because although they may have good prices, the quality of their reptiles is very low. They are commonly infected with a respiratory virus, or infested with reptile mites. A reptile convention is the best place to buy a snake, because you are buying directly from a breeder. Another option is to go to a store that specializes in reptiles, such as Scales & Tails. This is where I got Maize. Do a little research on what to look for and what not to look for, so you can determine the best snake to take home. Ask an employee about signs of mouth rot, reptile mites, injuries, or a respiratory virus. Before you select a snake, you need to get the supplies that you need. You will need;
-a glass terrarium (size depending on size of snake)
-a house (corn snakes need a dark place to hide)
-a heat-pad (this is essential, because snakes cannot regulate their own body temperature)
-a heat lamp, for the winter
-a water dish, large enough for the snake to soak in
-a stick is a good thing to include, because they love to climb and it will help while they are shedding (always buy, never take one from nature)
-plenty and plenty of newspaper
-depending on the size of your snake, an empty toilet paper roll is good but not requisite
Setting up your snake's cage is easy. Just lay down a few sheets of newspaper, making sure you fold it up around the edges. The heat-pad goes under the cage and plugs into a wall outlet. The water bowl can go in the corner opposite the heat-pad. The house/hide goes on top of the heat-pad, and the stick and toilet paper roll can go anywhere. Make sure you don't fill up the water bowl all the way, so that your corn snake can bathe in it if he/she wants to. The thermometer sticks to the glass, or it can just sit in the cage.
When it comes to feeding your snake, you need to develop a schedule. I feed Maize every two weeks. My friend feeds his snake weekly, but he feeds his snake smaller proportions. The best way to tell what size mouse to feed your corn snake is to compare the mouses circumference to your snake's. a mouse should be at most 1.3 times larger in circumference. Remember that snakes can un-hinge their jaws to fit around their prey. The safest way to feed a corn snake is to buy frozen, pre-killed mice. Live mice can and will bite the snake, and the corn snake could be seriously injured. A king snake at my school (my teacher has 40 snakes in the classroom) was bitten, and now has scars. A ball python was almost killed by a live rat. Live prey is not safe. Unfortunately, some snakes refuse to eat pre-killed mice. Corn snakes are generally not picky eaters, as they are opportunistic feeders. After you feed the snake, it will poop. Snake poop looks like bird poop, with a variety of colors and textures. I like to wrap Maize around my neck while I clean his cage. Just take out the house, water bowl, stick, and anything else inside the cage. Then, pick up the newspaper and fold it up, trapping the feces inside. Throw this away, and lay more paper down. Wipe down the cage if poop got out of the paper. After that put the water bowl and the other things back in. Put your corn snake back in, and lock up the cage.