Pets are a good source of companionship and entertainment. They come in all shapes and sizes, each with a unique set of behaviors. Some pets, like dogs and cats, are relatively easy to care for. Others, like reptiles, require a bit more knowledge and effort.
Reptiles are a popular pet choice for many reasons. They tend to be low-maintenance, fascinating to watch, and can be very rewarding to care for properly.
One common reptile pet is the corn snake. Corn snakes are a type of non-venomous constrictor snake that is native to the southeastern United States.
They get their name from their characteristic coloring, which often includes shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown that resembles corn. Here we will discuss corn snakes and answer some common questions about them.
Do Corn Snakes Hibernate
Instead of hibernation, corn snakes go through brumation. This is a period of inactivity that occurs in response to changes in temperature and daylight. It is similar to hibernation in that the snake’s metabolism slows down and becomes less active.
However, snakes do not sleep as profoundly during brumation as they do during hibernation. They may become less responsive to their surroundings but will still be able to move around if necessary.
They will often spend most of their time hiding and may go for long periods without eating. Corn snakes will usually choose to brumate in a hidden, sheltered spot that is safe from predators and has a consistent temperature.
This could be a burrow, hollow tree, or other similar location. A pet corn snake may choose to brumate in its terrarium if it feels that it is a safe and secure place.
Do All Corn Snakes Brumate
No, not all corn snakes will brumate. Some will choose to brumate yearly, while others may only do so occasionally. This is a voluntary behavior that is triggered by changes in temperature and daylight.
Still, others may never choose to brumate at all. A snake will brumate depending mainly on individual preferences and environmental temperatures.
There is no need to worry if your snake does not. Snakes that do not brumate will remain active throughout the winter months.
When do Corn Snakes Brumate
Brumation usually occurs in the fall and winter when temperatures drop and days become shorter.
Captive corn snakes may not brumate if their enclosure is kept at a consistent temperature.
After the coldest winter months, corn snakes will gradually become more active as the days get longer and warmer. Spring is typically when corn snakes come out of brumation and return to their average activity level.
What are the Signs that a Corn Snake is Brumating
Suppose you notice that your corn snake is eating less, becoming sluggish, and spending more time hiding. They may also shed their skin more frequently in the weeks leading up to brumation.
Look out for other changes in behavior as well, such as your corn snake becoming less responsive to handling or being more irritable than usual.
If you are unsure whether your corn snake is going into brumation or is sick, it is always best to consult with a reptile veterinarian.
They will be able to help you determine whether your pet is healthy and just going through a natural period of inactivity or if there is something else wrong.
How do I Prepare my Corn Snake for Brumation
Ensure that their enclosure is set up to allow them to feel safe and secure. This means providing hiding spots and places where they can retreat if needed.
A cave or hiding spot that is big enough for your corn snake to curl up inside is ideal. You should also make sure that their enclosure is escape-proof. This is especially important if you plan to let your corn snake brumate in their terrarium.
Corn snakes are good climbers and can squeeze through surprisingly small spaces, so it is crucial to be extra careful when setting up their enclosure.
The temperature inside their chamber will also need to be monitored closely. During the fall and winter, the temperature inside their enclosure should be lowered slowly until it reaches 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is important not to let the temperature drop too quickly or become too cold, as this could stress your corn snake out or make them sick.
It is important to continue feeding your corn snake leading up to brumation. They will need the extra food to help them get through this period of inactivity.
Once they start, you can reduce the frequency of feedings but should still offer food every few weeks.
During this period, checking on your pet regularly is vital to ensure they are healthy and doing well. Please continue to provide them with a clean water source.
Other than that, there is not much that you need to do during this period. It is best to leave your corn snake alone to rest and allow them to come out of brumation when ready.
Tips For Beginners
Corn snakes make great pets for beginners and experienced snake owners alike. They are relatively easy to care for and do not require much special attention. They are very friendly and docile snakes that enjoy being handled.
They are also curious creatures and love to explore their surroundings. When feeding your corn snake, live food is always best. This includes crickets, mealworms, and pinkie mice.
It is crucial to offer a variety of foods to your corn snake to ensure they get all the nutrients they need.
Corn snakes typically eat 1-2 times per week but may eat more or less depending on their individual needs. It is important to remember that they are wild animals and should be treated as such.
This means giving them the space and environment to feel comfortable and safe. It also means respecting their instinct to hunt and eat live prey.
Don’t Attempt to handle your corn snake too much. It is best to leave them alone for a while to calm down.
Corn snakes can live 10-20 years in captivity if properly cared for. Visit a reptile veterinarian annually to help ensure your corn snake stays healthy.
When handling your corn snake, do so gently. With proper care, your corn snake can be a lifelong companion.