Do you know how often to feed your corn snake? Read on for some tips to feeding this constrictor snake and ensuring their longevity as a pet.
Hatchlings, under 18 inches, should be fed every 5 to 7 days. Juveniles, between 18 inches and 26 inches, should be fed every 7 to 10 days. Adults, larger than 36 inches, should be fed every 10 to 14 days. It is important to stick to a regular feeding schedule.
In this article, I will cover everything you need to know to safely feed your corn snake. First, we will cover what constitutes a staple feeder and what can be given as an occasional treat. Then, we will discuss how often to feed your corn snake and what size prey to use. After, we will go into detail on how to prepare the frozen meal and feed your snake. Finally, we will discuss the risk of regurgitation and how to avoid this complication.
How often you feed your corn snake depends on its age and the size of the prey. Corn snakes are carnivores that benefit from a varied diet. Your snake does not need to be fed any fruits or vegetables. These constrictor snakes feed primarily on frozen mice or rats. Quail eggs, chicks, and chicken can be given as occasional treats. Also, make sure that your snake has access to fresh water daily.
Rats are considered more nutrient-dense than mice and have a higher fat content. Mice are a solid feeder because you can size up easily to accommodate the growing size of your snake. There are multiple different sizes of mice and rats for your corn snake to enjoy. Rats are generally larger than mice, but younger rats are also available. The best type of prey to feed to your corn snake is frozen and captive-bred. This will help reduce the likelihood of parasites and bacteria being transmitted to your snake. It can be dangerous to feed your corn snake live prey and risks your snake becoming injured in the process.
How often you feed your corn snake depends on the size of the snake. Hatchlings, under 18 inches, should be fed once every 5 to 7 days. Juveniles, between 18 inches and 26 inches, should be fed once every 7 to 10 days. Adults, larger than 36 inches, should be fed once every 10 to 14 days. Snakes thrive best under scheduled feedings, so remember to remain consistent with feeding sessions! You can feed your snake 1-2 items a session. If your snake no longer has a visible food bulge after 24 hours, it is safe to increase its feeding amount.
To make sure you are not giving your corn snake prey that is too large for it to safely digest, measure the widest part of their body with a piece of string. Write the measurement down or bring the string to the pet store and compare it to the prey they have available. The rat or mouse can be slightly smaller or slightly larger than the widest point on your snake. If you feed your snake prey that is too large, they can become impacted.
The preparation process begins the day before the scheduled feeding. Remove your frozen rodent from the freezer; let it thaw in the fridge. Doing so helps prevent bacterial growth that can be passed onto your snake. Immediately before feeding, place the rodent into a plastic bag and submerge it in warm water. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the rodent. 100 degrees Fahrenheit mimics the body temperature of rodents and will entice your snake. Make sure to never use the microwave for warming frozen rodents. This can result in burns. After warming it to the appropriate temperature, you can make a few slits in the rodent. This will aid in digestion as well as increase the scent that the rodent puts out. Take the rodent and feed it immediately to your corn snake to reduce the likelihood of an infection. Grasp the rodent by the tail using a long pair of tongs. Wiggle the rodent around to stimulate the corn snake’s predator instincts.
If your corn snake refuses frozen prey and you have tried multiple attempts, you can give them live prey as a last resort. When giving them live prey, make sure to never leave the snake unattended. If after one hour of monitoring, your snake does not hunt the live prey, remove the prey from the tank and try again another day.
Allow your snake the ability to digest and refrain from holding them 24 to 48 hours after a meal. In the wild, snakes will seek out a secluded area to rest and digest. If the snake is unable to digest its meal, regurgitation can occur. This is when the snake expels undigested food that was unable to move down to its stomach to be processed. If your snake has an episode of regurgitation and it is linked to early handling, let the snake rest until its next scheduled feeding. Do not handle your snake until the next feeding. At the next feeding, make sure to give your snake a smaller prey and refrain from handling after. If you feed your snake too soon after regurgitation, you risk causing complications in your pet.
It is important to give your corn snake a varied but consistent diet. Snakes thrive on scheduled feeding arrangements; The time between feeding depends on the size of the snake. Smaller snakes will feed more frequently than older snakes. Rats and mice can be used as staple feeders, though this must be compatible with the size of the snake. A good rule of thumb is to not feed your snake any prey that is larger than 1.5 times the widest part of your corn snake.
Feeding too frequently or large meals can lead to impaction or regurgitation. These can be serious health issues that require a vet visit to resolve. It is important to monitor your snake for digestion but to refrain from handling them until at least 48 hours after their meal. You can monitor your snake’s digestion by watching the food bulge diminish as the digestive enzymes get to work. If your snake regurgitates, remove the rodent, avoid handling, and feed a smaller amount at the next scheduled feeding.
As a snake owner, you should always have flash-frozen rodents on hand. You must use captive-bred rodents to reduce the risk of parasites. If your snake refuses frozen food and only accepts live prey, make sure that you monitor the interaction for the duration of the hunt. When preparing your snake’s food, refrain from microwaving the rodent. The microwave can unevenly heat the rodent and can cause burns in your snake. Instead, let it thaw in the fridge overnight and place it in a Ziploc bag submerged in warm water. This will stimulate live prey for your snake. Cut slits into the prey for easy digestion. To incite your snake’s hunting reflex, grasp the rodent’s tail with forceps and wiggle it to simulate a hunt. Corn snakes will thrive off of this scheduled, specific feeding pattern.
Hi! My name is Janelle and I am a reptile keeper from the United States. I’ve been raising reptiles for ten years. I love creating custom vivariums. I currently keep a Jeweled Lacerta, Sprout.