Skip to content

How Long Can a Corn Snake Go Without Food, Water & Heat

How Long Can a Corn Snake Go Without Food, Water & Heat

Snakes are like most other animals in the world; they need food, water, and heat to survive. They will eventually die if they go without any of these three necessities for too long.

It is impossible to know how long corn snakes can live without food and water (although there are speculations), but we know that a corn snake can’t live without heat for more than a week.

How Long Can a Corn Snake Go Without Eating?

While it depends on the type of snake, most snakes require a meal every 4-6 weeks. Corn snakes can go up to seven months without eating, but they may not live much longer because their metabolism will eventually slow down. It becomes difficult for them to digest food when this happens, so they are more susceptible to parasites and infections.

What Determines How Often a Snake Eats?

It is mainly based on the snake’s size and metabolism. Larger snakes tend to eat more often, while smaller snakes may go for a longer period without eating.

Their body temperature also influences it. This can be easily determined by looking at the color of your snake; if it is dark, your snake will have a higher body temperature, meaning it needs to feed more often.

How Does a Corn Snake Determine When It Has Had Enough to Eat?

A part of the snake opens when it is ready to consume food. A small amount of food will be placed there, and if the snake leans forward, bites it, and gets it into its mouth, that is enough for now.

If the snake isn’t fed in a while or if it doesn’t receive enough energy through the prey, it will push forward the time when next they will eat so that they have at least some nourishment. So, without prey, the snake tries to make the time when it will eat next back.

What Are the Consequences of Not Feeding for So Long in a Corn Snake?

First, we want to clarify that snakes may die if they go without eating for too long. However, this only happens if they get parasites or infections.

As far as food goes, yes, they can go too long without eating, but usually, it is due to a lack of prey rather than an empty stomach.

So, if the snake doesn’t have enough food, it will have difficulty digesting food, making it more susceptible to parasites and infections.

The typical problem we see in corn snakes is that they stop producing enzymes when people don’t feed them for weeks. So when they eat again, their food digestion is severely compromised.

They should eat every week so that their metabolism keeps running smoothly.

How Can a Corn Snake Tell When It Has Had Enough to Eat?

Corn snakes have a pituitary gland on the back of their head. This tiny gland secretes hormones that help regulate the functions of all its other organs. The pituitary gland can detect starvation by looking at how much the body temperature drops.

How Long Can a Corn Snake Go Without Water?

Corn snakes can go up to 8 weeks without water before they die. An adult corn snake should be able to lose around 10 % of its body weight in a month if kept properly.

Corn snakes can go up to 8 weeks without water because there is a high percentage of water in their body.

They can get rid of the water by excreting it through their skin. An adult corn snake can go up to 8 weeks with no food and no water before they die.

Corn snakes can leave their terrarium, but if they cannot find a place to get food or water, they will pass away within 20 days if good care is not taken.

This is because a corn snake is a natural burrower, and they cannot escape their conditions when out of their terrarium.

No proven research or study shows the dangers of leaving them without water, but it isn’t good. It can be dangerous since corn snakes need to hydrate their body with water, and if they are out of their terrarium, it will be hard for them to do so, leading them to die in 20 days without food or water.

Corn snakes are highly intelligent reptiles who can figure out when they will die. If it’s passed 8 weeks and nothing has been done to help them survive, they will die.

It is best to get them some medical care, or else you might be sued if they start to suffer from dehydration or other illnesses because of it.

If a corn snake is out of its terrarium long enough, another one will take its place. The corn snakes have to live in the same environment and have the same food available, so they get along very well and form a community of snakes.

The best way to prevent your corn snake from dehydrating is by providing a water dish that they can use constantly. The water should be able to free fall into the container.

Providing a hibiscus plant is also a good idea since it can hydrate the snake a lot, and they will know where to go if they become dry.

Water Consumption Habits of Corn Snakes

Corn snakes usually drink between 5 and 9 % of their body weight daily. They drink at night when their body temperature is lower. A dry corn snake will not eat much but usually drink when it has the energy to do it.

If a snake is in a terrarium with humidity over 40 %, then the corn snake will most likely not drink for over 2 weeks.

This is because their bodies are hydrated and don’t need any more water in them, and they don’t want to risk becoming dehydrated by drinking water when their bodies are already filled with it.

This doesn’t mean that you need to worry about them becoming dehydrated. They can lose up to 8 weeks without water before they die.

When a corn snake is dehydrated, it will drink less. To become dehydrated, a corn snake must go without water for over 8 weeks.

If you notice that your corn snake looks dry, you can feed it more frequently or show it more attention when you see it drinking.

If it doesn’t drink enough water, put extra water in its terrarium because it can’t get any from its air when it is too dry.

Leaving your corn snake in a terrarium that is too dry for it for extended periods can cause a lot of different illnesses in your corn snake.

You can put hibiscus plants in its terrarium because they will help provide a good moisture level, but if your corn snake doesn’t take water from the plant, you might need to use another form of water.

Corn Snake Water Temperature

Corn snakes are generally comfortable in a terrarium between 75 and 80 degrees. When they are not active, their bodies will cool down to 65-70 degrees, keeping them hydrated.

If its body temperature drops below 65 degrees, you might want to consider heating it to 70 or 75 degrees until it warms up again.

All snakes, including corn snakes, need heat to survive. Corn snakes have less energy than their desert cousins; therefore, they can go without heat for a much shorter time.

Corn snakes usually hibernate from November to April inside a tightly closed box with an ambient temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Without the warmth and humidity provided by the box, a snake could die of disease or dehydration in just as little time as it would outside on a cold winter day.

A snake’s body temperature fluctuates, too. It can never be at what’s called “equilibrium” because the body constantly creates heat.

When an average house temperature is in the mid-70s to low 80s outside, the snake would need to be kept warmer for longer. The ideal temperature for a corn snake should range from 84 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Corn snakes need not hibernate, but the research did prove that some people keep their snakes at a relatively constant temperature in the winter months.

Their behavioral patterns indicated as much. Keeping a snake inside a warmer area is more convenient than bringing it outside and finding an appropriate way to warm it again before putting it back in its cage later on.

A corn snake’s immediate environment should mimic the conditions of hibernation. The naturalist Roy P. Mackal, who experimented with regulating the body temperature of corn snakes in his lab, had an ambient temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit. He kept the humidity level high at 50 percent.

How Long Can a Corn Snake Go Without Heat?

Potentially it can go for a few months. It’s just a matter of weeks, depending on the size and how much food it’s getting to replenish lost energy.

Should I Hibernate My Corn Snake?

If you are not an experienced snake keeper or do not have the time to monitor your snake and keep it warm, try hibernating. Hibernation is probably the easiest and most humane way to keep corn snakes as pets for you and your pet.

Will My Corn Snake Get Enough Exercise During Hibernation?

Yes. Hibernation is not like a coma in which the animal is entirely inert. Snakes do move around a bit.

Do I Need to Keep My Snake at a Specific Temperature?

Yes. Corn snakes do better if they are kept at a constant temperature. You can help them maintain the correct temperature with an under-tank heater.

Put the heater on one side of their cage and create a thermal gradient by putting a hide or some branches on the warm side.

How Long Do I Need to Keep My Snake in Hibernation?

Anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months, depending on your climate. Most snakes hibernate for 6 months, but your snake might be able to go without heat to a warmer or colder place.

How Do I Know When Spring Has Come?

Few reliable signs allow you to know when the weather is warming up. If you ignore these senses and continue doing what you were doing before, one day, you will wake up, look at yourself in the mirror, and realize that something has changed.

The weather patterns have changed, and your snake has been looking forward to it. It will start moving around more and become more active. When this happens, you should start warming up your snake again.

How Long Does It Take to Warm a Snake After Hibernation?

It takes about a month for the snake to wake up and for you to know that it is fully awake and ready to eat.

This depends on the tank temperature, the ambient temperature of your home, and how well insulated your tank is. Slowly raise the ambient temperature in your home and inside their cage.

Your snake will not be used entirely to the temperature and might not automatically wake up as soon as you turn on the heating.

Can a Corn Snake Survive Without Heat in the Winter Months?

Yes, if it is kept at an ambient temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit or less. If it is kept above that, its body temperature can increase by 30 degrees, and the snake will die of dehydration.

What Does a Corn Snake Look Like in the Winter Months?

It stays very much like a regular snake. It doesn’t shed its skin, and it doesn’t get bloated looking.

This is especially important because your snake might be injured, and you don’t want to know what it looks like as you are trying to clean it up after a molt or something more serious.