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Old 05-01-2006, 12:03 PM   #1
Cornsnake FAQ

This thread is going to be an all inclusive Cornsnake Care & Breeding source. Each post inside this thread will be on a different sub-topic. Sorry, this thread will remain closed. If you have any suggestions for this thread, please PM me.

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Cornsnake Classifieds
Old 05-01-2006, 12:06 PM   #2
Husbandry & Basic Care


Corn Snake (Elaphe Guttata or Elaphe Pantherophis)


2-4 feet on average


10-16 years old with the record standing at 32 years and 3 months


Glass aquariums, plastic tubs or custom wooden/plastic caging of appropriate size work well for corn snakes. A 20 gallon "breeder/long" aquarium with a secure lid works well for cornsnake of any age. Making sure the tank is escape proof is essential. Snakes in general are great escape artists and will not hesitate to make a run for it. If you prefer to use plastic tubs in a rack system, a 6qt shoebox size container works well for hatchlings, 15qt for yearlings & sub-adults and 28-32qt tubs for adults. Ventilation holes should be drilled into the container to allow for proper aeration.

It is not recommended to house more then one cornsnake in the same enclosure. The problems that arise from co-habitating include cannibalism, transmission of disease and stress. It is better to avoid a problem then create them.

Corn snakes need plenty of hide boxes. Standard toilet paper or paper towel rolls work well for hatchlings and sub-adults. Plastic bowls, found at a dollar store, works great for adults. Simply cut a hole into one of the sides and turn upside-down. Realistic hides can be found at a local pet store. We recommend that hide items chosen are easy to clean and disinfect. Make sure you supply a water dish large enough for the snake to soak in. Check water daily and replace old water every week. Keeping the water dish, substrate, and enclosure clean will insure that you snake stays happy and healthy.

Recommended substrates include Aspen, Astroturf, Butcher Paper, Cypress Mulch, Newspaper and Paper Towels. Avoid cedar shavings, cedar chips and sand.


Cornsnakes rely on thermoregulation to control their body temperature. Since they cannot produce their own body heat, you must supply them with an environment for them to regulate their own body temperatures. Access to warms areas or a basking spot is very important to your snake's health. To maintain health, cornsnakes must be kept at 75-85 F, using the higher temperatures to digest their food. A commonly used method is using a under tank heater on one side of the tank. UTH's usually are adhesive on one side so that they may be stuck directly to the tank. Flexwatt heat tape is another option to provide belly heat. With any heating device, a thermostat to control the temperature is a must. A digital thermometer is also essential to accurately monitor temperatures.

Sample Feeding Schedule

- Single pinks (2-3g) every 5-7 days (Snake Weight = 4-15g)
- Double pinks (3g x 2) every 5-7 days (Snake Weight = 16-23g)
- Small fuzzies (5-7g) every 5-7 days (Snake Weight = 24-30g)
- Regular fuzzies (7-9g) every 5-7 days (Snake Weight = 30-50g)
- Hoppers (9-12g) every 5-7 days (Snake Weight = 51-90g)
- Weaned (14-20g) every 7-10 days (Snake Weight = 91-170g)
- Adult (24-30g) every 7-10 days (Snake Weight = 170g+)

Not all cornsnakes will cooperate 100% with this sample schedule. The weight ranges given for prey items and snakes are approximate.
Old 05-01-2006, 12:07 PM   #3
Feeding Issues

This Feeding FAQ brought to you by Joe of

Q: My snake regurgitated! What do I do?
A: This is without a question the biggest problem that most people will face while owning their snake. I will give my opinion on this, but at the bottom of the page are FAQ's on this subject by Kathy Love---PLEASE read that also. First off you should try to figure out why the snake regurged it's meal. Was the food item too big? Not totally thawed? Improper temps? Check all of those things so you do not make that same mistake again. Wait between 8-10 days and feed an item smaller than what your snake is currently eating. For example, if your snake is on fuzzies and regurgiated, drop down and feed pinkies. You can also place a few small cuts in the skin to aid in digestion after a regurge, or all the time. If it keeps that down, great. I'd suggest for the next two feedings to keep with a smaller prey item before going back to the regular sized items. If the snake regurgitates it's next smaller meal right after the first regurgitation, then please skip down to the bottom and read Kathy's FAQ.

Q: Help, my snake isn't eating!
A: Relax, and don't worry just yet. Double check your temperatures to make sure that they're not too low, or too high. Many people do not realize that high temperatures are just as big of a problem as temps that are too low. Extremes in either direction can create stress and make a snake not want to eat. If the temps are correct, make sure the food item is thoroughly thawed and warmed to the proper temps. Once you do that, try feeding in a smaller cage and putting a towel over the feeding cage and leaving the snake alone for at least a few more hours. If that does not work, you might consider feeding your snake a live mouse. Even though I feed live, there can be problems associated with this. It is perfectly fine to feed live pinkies and fuzzies, but I would encourage you to feed a pre-killed or stunned mouse that is actively walking around with it's eyes open. Anything past the fuzzy stage can and will bite. Better safe than sorry.

Q: How do I know when to move up to the next size mouse or rat?
A: Move up to the next sized prey item when you do not notice a visible 'lump' after 24 hours following a feeding. There should be a lump visible between 24-48 hours after any feeding. Also remember, feeding items that are over 1.5x the thickness of the snake can cause problems. Try not to feed any items that are larger than 1.5x the thickness of your snake.

Q: Is it normal for my male snake to stop eating in the Spring?
A: Absolutely. Love is in the air, and eating is not the first thing on their mind. It is very common for male snakes to go off feed for several weeks and even sometimes months during the mating season. This is especially true if you brumated your male.

Q: My adult female stopped eating, is this normal?
A: If she is gravid, it's quite normal. Most females will go off feed once they're gravid.

Q: I think my snake might have injested some substrate, what now?
A: Well, there's not much you can do besides from hoping that the item passes and the snake doesn't become impacted. If an impaction occurs, it's time to schedule a vet visit.

Sample Feeding Schedule courtesy of Dean P. Arnold via

- Single pinks (2-3g) every 3-4 days (Snake Weight = 4-15g)
- Double pinks (3g x 2) every 4 days (Snake Weight = 16-23g)
- Small fuzzies (5-7g) every 5 days (Snake Weight = 24-30g)
- Regular fuzzies (7-9g) every 5-6 days (Snake Weight = 30-50g)
- Hoppers (9-12g) every 5-6 days (Snake Weight = 51-90g)
- Weaned (14-20g) every 5-7 days (Snake Weight = 91-170g)
- Adult (24-30g) every 7-10 days (Snake Weight = 170+)

This is by no means scientific, and not all corns will cooperate 100% with the schedule. The weight ranges given for the prey and snakes are approximate.
Old 05-01-2006, 12:16 PM   #4
Genetics & Morphs

This Genetics FAQ brought to you by Joe of


Q: What is a gene?
A: A hereditary unit consisting of a sequence of DNA that occupies a specific location on a chromosome and determines a particular characteristic in an organism.

Q: What is a locus?
A: The position that a given gene occupies on a chromosome.

Q: What is an allele?
A: Any of the alternative forms of a gene that may occur at a given locus.

Q: What is meant by a characteristic?
A: A characteristic is anything in the phenotype that differs from the wild type phenotype.

Q: What does the term 'homozygous' mean?
A: Having the same alleles at a particular gene locus on homologous chromosomes.

Q: What does the term 'heterozygous' (het.) mean?
A: Having different alleles at one or more corresponding chromosomal loci.

Q: What is meant by a gene being dominant?
A: A gene that is expressed phenotypically in heterozygous or homozygous individuals.

Q: What is meant by a gene being recessive?
A: A gene that is phenotypically expressed in the homozygous state but has its expression masked in the presence of a dominant gene.

Q: What is meant by a gene being codominant?
A: Genes that are on a given loci that are both expressed in some degree.

*- The definitions of dominant, recessive and codominant imply a comparison to the wild-type. If one says that some gene is dominant without specifying to which gene, it is assumed that it is dominant to the wild-type.

Q: What is the 'wild-type'?
A: The wild type phenotype is the most common phenotype found in the wild population. The wild type allele is the allele at each locus that is required to produce the wild type phenotype. There are thousands of loci in the corn snake genome, and there is a wild type allele at each locus. If a gene is not expressly identified, it is assumed to be wild type.

Q: What does the term 'genotype' mean?
A: The combination of alleles located on homologous chromosomes that determines a specific characteristic or trait.

Q: What does the term 'phenotype' mean?
A: The observable physical characteristics of an organism, as determined by it's genetic makeup.

Q: What is a Punnett Square?
A: A type of grid used to show the gametes of each parent and their possible offspring; a type of grid that can indicate all the possible outcomes of a genetic cross.

Q: What is a morph?
A: One of various distinct forms of an organism or species.

Q: What is a cultivar?
A: A variety of a plant or animal that has been created or selected intentionally and maintained through cultivation.


Q: Can I tell the genotype of my snake just by looking at it?
A: Technically, no. For the most part it is impossible to tell if a snake is heterozygous for any given trait without doing breeding trials.

Q: What morphs are co-dominant?
A: The (DD) diffusion gene is (variably) codominant to (D+) it's wild-type counterpart. The (aa) amel and (au) ultra genes are codominant to each other, and both are recessive to (A+) their wild-type counterpart.

Q: What does 50% het or 66% het mean?
A: Both percentages reflect the statistical probabilty that each egg, not the clutch as a whole, will be some genotype xyz. If you breed two snakes that are both normals het amel together, the resulting statistical probabilty will be as follows: 1/4 amels, 1/4 normal, 1/2 normal het amel. Disregard the amels as they are showing the trait and cannot be het for it, and you are left with all normals, some het for amel and some not. Theoretically 1/2 out of 3/4 of the normals will be het for amel. 0.5 / 0.75 = 0.66667%.
The same holds true regarding 50% het. A normal x normal het amel will give all normal offspring, 50% being het for amelanism.

Q: What is an ultramel?
A: An ultramel has one amel gene, and one ultra gene. Since the genes both occur at the 'amel locus' and are co-dominant to each other, the resulting animal is one that looks something between an amel, and a hypo. Since this is a new morph, expect a lot of variation, especially due to the co-dominance. Ultramels can be made by crossing an ultra x amel = 100% ultramels, or by crossing ultramel x ultramel, ultramel x amel, or ultramel x ultra.

Q: How do I use a Punnett square?
A: A Punnett square is used to determine the possible outcomes of a cross. Links on how to do Punnett square crosses are found here:

Note: Mick's Cornsnake Progeny predictor is a great way of calculating possible outcomes AFTER you have learned how to do it by hand, and fully understand the way it works. Simply clicking on boxes and hitting calculate will not help you truly understand why you get 50% caramels from a caramel x normal het caramal pairing. The program can be found here:

*Pictures of most morphs can be found at,,

Single recessive - Amelanistic, Anerythristic, Charcoal, Hypomelanistic A, Sunkissed, Lava , Ultra, Caramel, Bloodred*, Lavender, Motley, Aztec/Zigzag*, Stripe.

Double recessive - Butter, Amber, Snow, Ghost, Pewter, Granite, Blizzard, Ice.

Triple Recessive - Most triple recessives are double recessive morphs with a pattern mutation thrown into the mix. Pattern mutations are bloodred (diffused), Aztec/Zigzag, Motley, and Stripe. Some of these examples are butter motleys, snow motleys, butter stripes, etc.

Line-bred morphs - These are animals that are variations of certain genes.

Normal Type > Okeetee, Miami, Carolina.

Amelanistic > Sunglow (little or no white), Candy Cane (red or orange saddles with a clean white background), Reverse Okeetee (amel with thick white borders around the saddles).

Motley > Banded, Hurricane.

Snow > Coral (+ Hypo), Bubblegum (high pink).

*- Bloodred is not truely a single recessive gene as it is co-dominant to it's wild-type. Aztec/Zigzag is also not a simple single recessive gene. Two snakes showing an aztec/zigzag pattern paired together do not always produce offspring that show that pattern. Likewise, snakes not showing the pattern sometimes have a tendency to produce offspring that do show that pattern. Both of these facts show that aztec/zigzag is not a true simple single recessive trait.

Special Note: As you might have noticed, I have decided not to use the terms Hypo B and Hypo C in correlation with Sunkissed and Lava, respectively. Sunkissed and Lava have been proven by breeding trials to be a different gene than the standard hypomelanism A, as has the newly found ultra. This means that if you were to breed any of these hypo-like traits together, you will get animals that are in fact normal, and not hypo at all. At this point in time, I am going to call the three additional traits hypo-like.

Genetic Makeup of Morphs

Amber: Caramel + Hypo
Blizzard: Charcoal + Amelanism
Butter: Caramel + Amelanism
Crimson: Miami + Hypo
Ghost: Anery A + Hypo
Granite: Bloodred + Anery A
Ice: Lava + Anery A
Opal: Lavender + Amelanism
Pastel: Anery A + Hypo (normally a very light ghost with pink hues).
Pewter: Charcoal + Bloodred
Phantom: Charcoal + Hypo
Snow: Amelanism + Anerythristic
Snow (Coral): Amelanism + Anerythristic + Hypo
Sulfur: Butter + Bloodred
Old 07-11-2006, 05:21 AM   #5
Educational Photos

Eggtooth Photo

Popping Photos

Restraining Method

Male Showing Hemipene
Old 10-04-2006, 02:32 AM   #6

It is also important to list the Scientific & Common name of the animals inside.

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