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Do Corn Snakes Make Good First Reptile Pets? | Corn Snakes for Beginners

Do Corn Snakes Make Good First Reptile Pets? | Corn Snakes for Beginners

Corn Snakes: A Solid Choice for First-Time Reptile Keepers?

Corn snakes have long been a popular entry point into the world of reptile ownership. But are they the undisputed champion for first-time reptile keepers? This article explores the advantages and disadvantages of corn snakes as a first snake to determine if they're a suitable fit for your home!

Pros: Why Corn Snakes Climbed to the Top

Docile Demeanor: 

Corn snakes are renowned for their calm temperament. They typically tolerate handling well and their bites are uncommon and not very painful. This docile nature is crucial for building confidence in new reptile keepers.

Low-Maintenance Management: 

Compared to many exotic pets, corn snakes are relatively easy to care for. Their dietary needs consist of weekly to every few week feedings, and their enclosure size requirements are manageable in most households. This translates to less time and effort dedicated to upkeep, which helps prevent new keepers from becoming overwhelmed.

Manageable Size: 

Corn snakes typically mature to a length of 4-5 feet, but remain slender bodied, which makes them a very manageable size for most keepers. They are large enough to confidently hold, but they do not have the typical “large snake” look, which may ease newer keepers that are learning to keep and handle snakes.

A Kaleidoscope of Colors: 

Selective breeding has resulted in a dazzling array of different colors and patterns of corn snake morphs. From the normal orange and black, to black and grey, to pink, or even white with speckles - there is a corn snake morph for every preference! 

Cons: Points to Consider

Dietary Demands: 

Corn snakes eat a diet of whole prey consisting primarily of rodents fed once every week to every few weeks. Some keepers may not be thrilled with the idea of offering full prey items to their pet. In addition, baby corn snakes can sometimes be more fussy with eating and need to take live food for a few meals until they get the hang of eating consistently and can be switched onto frozen thawed. This can pose logistical challenges for keepers and may be ethically concerning for some. Thankfully, many adult and well-started corn snakes are voracious eaters, and will readily switch to frozen thawed prey. Check out our article: How to Switch Your Snake from Live to Frozen Thawed!

Escape Artists: 

Corn snakes are adept climbers and possess a remarkable talent for escaping enclosures. A secure enclosure with a properly secured lid is absolutely essential to prevent escape. Thankfully, trusted secure enclosure brands like Zen Habitats offer enclosures that are designed to keep your reptiles IN and other pets OUT. Check out our article on How to Keep Your Snake Secure in Your Zen Habitats Enclosure.

Long-Term Commitment:

Corn snakes are capable of living for 15-20 years. Prospective keepers must be prepared for long-term ownership and the associated responsibilities and cost of owning a long-lived pet. If you are interested in owning a corn snake but aren’t sure about housing a snake with such a long lifespan, you can check out reptile rescues or adopt a rehomed older snake.

The Verdict on Corn Snakes

Corn snakes can be an excellent choice for first-time reptile keepers who are committed to proper research and husbandry practices. Their docile nature and manageable size make them well-suited for beginners. However, potential challenges exist, such as the need for a meticulously secured enclosure and a long lifespan.

Beyond Corn Snakes: Exploring Other Options

If the requirements of corn snakes seem a bit daunting, other beginner-friendly snake species like rosy boas or Kenyan sand boas are worthy of consideration. These snakes share many of the positive attributes of corn snakes but may have differing activity levels and less desire to find a way to escape their enclosure.
Ultimately, the ideal first snake is the one that best aligns with your lifestyle and commitment level. Responsible reptile keeping requires dedication; researching and choosing the right species for you is the first step towards a successful and rewarding experience.

Looking into getting a pet corn snake or looking to take your snake’s care to the next level and want to know more about them? Check out our Ultimate Corn Snake Zen Guide - over 85 pages of curated information from advanced keepers, knowledgeable breeders, and scientific research compiled into one guide!

Check out more information about Corn Snakes and other incredible reptiles with more of our articles and care sheets!

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