Corn snake questions - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-12-2014, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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Corn snake questions

Ok so I'm getting a corn snake in a few days :)
I really need some help, I've got a few questions I need answered.
Have any of you ever had experience with corn snakes? I have never had a corn snake (or any kind if snake) in my life so I'm Definetly a newbie at caring for them. I do, however, know the following things:

1. Corn snakes eat mice. They start with baby mice and increase in size as the snake gets older, and it turns into adult mice when the snake is an adult. You need to freeze them and let them sit in hot but not boiling water to unfreeze before using tweezers to pick it up by the tail and holding at the snake to strike at. One mouse will last about 7-10 days.
2. Corn snakes need aspen chips, not cedar because it is toxic to all snakes.
3. Corn Snakes need a heater that goes underneath half of the tank. The heated half needs to be 75-80 degrees and the unheated half needs to be 70-75 degrees.
4. Corn snakes need two hiding places, one on the heated side and one on the non heated side. They also need a stick or branch that is big enough to support the snakes weight but also small enough for the snake to coil it's body around. They also like plants.
5. Corn Snakes need a 20 gallon or more terrarium.
6. Corn snakes need a fresh water fish available at all times.

Ok. So this is the info I have. Here are my questions:

1: is all the info I listed above correct?
2: is there any missing info/anything I did not mention that I need to know about corn snake care?
3: do I need to rinse out the terrarium before I use it? Can snakes get new tank syndrome like fish?
4: can I wash the terrarium with soap? Or is that just a BAD idea (like with fish)?
5: is the snake ok drinking tap water?
6: how do I clean the aspen chips?
7: how often do I need to clean the terrarium?

Again, I'm a total beginner when it comes to corn snake care, I've never had any kind of snake before, so don't tell me I'm stupid and why didn't I know this, and I'm asking dumb questions, etc. thanks for all the help.

The bettas: Dracula (male HM) and Mulan (female VT)
The cats: Rocky & Reginald (both male orange tabbies)
The snake: Cassey (albino corn snake, Probably female)
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 08:14 AM
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it's mostly correct, it would be easier to kill a mouse then feed it to the snake, I know some are not comfortable with this, the problem with reheating is you have to be sure to never overheat the food, I would just use vinegar to clean it, and to clean the chip you basically scoop out what is fouled and replace, tap water will be fine but yes bottled water would be better I would clean it out weekly, as far as temp, you can just get a heated rock and have it half in half out of cover the snake will decide where it wants to be, a lot depends on how cool you keep your house, and last advise is try not to constantly handle the snake when they are young

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 08:17 AM
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ohhh and the little pinky mice you do not really need to kill the older mice can and will fight for their lives and I have known people to lose a snake by not killing them

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the info!!! However, I still have a few questions.

Actually, the mice they sell at my local pet store are already dead when you buy them. So then I won't need to execute them.

I have had lots of experience with fish, and I know that they can get new tank syndrome if the tank is not rinsed out... Are snakes the same way? Do I need to rinse the terrarium/wood chips/plants/branches/hiding places before use?

I heard snakes like plants... Are the ones used in fish tanks ok for snakes?

If I get a branch for the snake to climb on, can a rough branch hurt the snake or damage it's scales or anything like that?

I think once I get my snake on Friday, ill journal about it here so you guys can tell me what gender it is, or if it's sick, (and if it is, what I should do) or if I'm doing something incorrectly, or if I'm having any problems or questions. For the first three weeks ill journal everyday, then for the next two weeks after that it will be every other day, then for the next two weeks after that I'll do it twice a week, and after that for the next 8 weekd it will be once a week. And after that I'll come back only if I have questions or concerns.

From what I heard online, it seems like the tails look like this, if I understand correctly. I really want to know the gender of my snake because i want a girl! And it's the only way I can tell because I'm too inexperienced to probe or pop it. Is this right?
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The bettas: Dracula (male HM) and Mulan (female VT)
The cats: Rocky & Reginald (both male orange tabbies)
The snake: Cassey (albino corn snake, Probably female)
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 05:06 PM
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i would clean the tank with vinegar just a wipe down, I would get stuff for reptiles specifically, most problems with snakes getting hurt their owners do it to them, like never have a hold of the snake by the tail with its belly on the ground and drag it backwards, stuff can and will get lodged under their belly scales, I am not certian on how to sex snakes, I never really cared when I had snakes.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Is it ok just to rinse the tank? Or do I really need vinegar?
Are the kind of silk plants you put in fish tanks ok to put in snake tanks as well?

The bettas: Dracula (male HM) and Mulan (female VT)
The cats: Rocky & Reginald (both male orange tabbies)
The snake: Cassey (albino corn snake, Probably female)
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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And another question: if I get a female, will she lay eggs? (She will have no contact with male corn snakes)

The bettas: Dracula (male HM) and Mulan (female VT)
The cats: Rocky & Reginald (both male orange tabbies)
The snake: Cassey (albino corn snake, Probably female)
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 09:34 PM
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Hi! I'm kind of new/returning to the site, but I currently own 5 snakes, and have about 10 years of snake keeping experience. One of mine is a corn snake, so maybe I can answer some questions.

I would say that yes, vinegar is important to have for cleaning the cage. I use a vinegar solution every time I clean cages. It helps kill germs.

I personally don't like silk plants for snakes, I just use plastic. Silk tends to stain if the snake poos on it (and it's almost guaranteed they will at some point).

And as far as sexing goes, visually sexing snakes is not reliable at all. You should take them to a vet or experienced keeper to have the popped or probed. Popping or probing is not something you want to try yourself because you could hurt the animal if you don't know what you're doing.

Last, egg laying, it is rare for a female who has not mated to lay eggs. It's not unheard of of, but it's not the typical behavior.

And good for you for feeding frozen. It's better for the mice as well as the snake.

2 dogs . 5 cats . 5 snakes . 5 bettas . 3 hamsters . 20gal community
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-13-2014, 11:10 PM
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I'm a little curious why you think you need a branch for a corn snake. If it's for decoration, go for it!, but corn snakes are not arboreal and don't need to live with tree branches. In the snake world, corn snakes are one of the most low-maintenance ones out there.

You can stretch out the use of aspen by spot cleaning. You never reuse chips once they've gotten dirty, but you can scoop out the poop along with the surrounding chips and leave the rest in there for a while. It depends on how messy your snake is and how often it poops. One of the big reasons fresh water is a must is because snakes will often go to the bathroom in their water dish.

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Originally Posted by tromboneplaya View Post
And as far as sexing goes, visually sexing snakes is not reliable at all. You should take them to a vet or experienced keeper to have the popped or probed. Popping or probing is not something you want to try yourself because you could hurt the animal if you don't know what you're doing.

Last, egg laying, it is rare for a female who has not mated to lay eggs. It's not unheard of of, but it's not the typical behavior.
^ I definitely agree with this.

There is some truth about females having shorter tails, but it's not noticeable to the eye unless you've looked at a lot of tails or sit down and count scales. Can you tell from my pictures which is the male and which is the female?
Popping is reserved for very young snakes; if you try to pop on your own on a non-hatchling, you risk damaging its bones.
And to expand on tromboneplaya's last part--all sexually mature females will make eggs. If the eggs are unfertilized, the snake will re-absorb them instead of laying them, but there is a small chance she'll lay the dud eggs.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-14-2014, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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My guess: the first one is female, the second one is male?

I'm getting my corn snake on Friday so I'll start journaling then.

And If I take the snake to be probed or popped, where do I go? And will it cost money?

And do the plastic plants you use for fish work for snakes?

And I heard corn snakes like to climb on branches and coil around them.

The bettas: Dracula (male HM) and Mulan (female VT)
The cats: Rocky & Reginald (both male orange tabbies)
The snake: Cassey (albino corn snake, Probably female)
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