What Can My Corn Snake Eat? A Nutrition Guide for Pet SnakesDr. Bobby Ortiz M.V.B
Just like other snakes, the corn snake is a carnivore, meaning they eat a meat only diet. They’re not particularly picky and in the wild, they are known to consume a variety of prey, including mice, rats, birds, bats, and insects. Most captive snakes are fed thawed rodents, such as mice or rats, of appropriate size.
When caring for a carnivorous pet, it is important that they are fed different types of animal prey to ensure they receive a balanced and nutritious diet. In this blog post, I will explain what corn snakes like to eat, what foods to avoid, and how often they should be fed.
Dr. Bobby Ortiz, M.V.B.
Dr Bobby Ortiz, aka 'Dogtor Bob', is a small animal and exotic veterinarian based in Dublin. He has a strong interest in Small Mammal (rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets) and Reptile medicine and surgery.
He grew up in a family of avid animal lovers, which led him to work as an Aquarist at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific in California. It was there he decided he wanted to become a vet, and specialise in exotic animals, that needed the same care and medical attention that dogs and cats are given.
He lives with his wife and Brittany Spaniel Bodhi, and has dreams to build a new tropical marine fish tank in the near future!
Feeding Your Corn Snake
Corn snakes will mainly feed on thawed out rodents such as mice or rats. They are constrictor snakes, which means they will like to constrict their prey with their teeth and squeeze it with their body until it has suffocated.
When feeding your corn snake, it is a good idea to give them the feeling they are catching their own food, like out in the wild. Suspend the food above them with a tongs or forceps, giving them the opportunity to strike, take their food, and finish their meal.
Make sure any animal prey you feed them is thoroughly defrosted, and that the width is no greater than 1.5 times the widest part of your snake’s body.
Baby Corn Snakes start on pink mice; one every 5-6 days and gradually build up to an adult mouse every 7-14 days as they get bigger. Very large snakes may require 2 adult mice per feed. Frozen food is available from your local Petmania Store. But, because of its sensitive nature, it is not displayed on the shop floor, so make sure to ask for assistance.
Quail eggs are great treats for your snake when given in moderation, about once every couple of weeks. Always ensure they have access to fresh, clean water in a dish that is large enough to allow the snake to bathe. The water should be replaced daily. If the snake defecates in it, the bowl must be cleaned and disinfected.
How Often Do I Feed My Corn Snake?
A healthy snake will usually eat one meal about every 2-4 weeks. Defecation usually occurs after every 3rd meal. An adult corn snake will usually eat 1-3 adult mice at each feeding. It is generally easier for snakes to ingest several small prey items rather than one large one at once. It is important you do not handle your pet snake for at least 24 hours after eating to prevent regurgitation.
Make sure to regularly weigh your corn snake to ensure they do not become underweight or obese. If you have concerns about your snake’s weight, consult with your local veterinarian.
What Foods Should I Avoid Feeding My Snake?
Live animals should not be fed, as they could physically harm your snake or may carry bacteria that is harmful to snakes. It should be noted that it is illegal in the EU/Ireland to feed live food to your pet snake. Avoid feeding vegetables, fruit, crickets, beef or pork. Not only are these foods nutritionally inadequate, but your snake will likely ignore them or not even recognise them as food.
Before you take your Corn Snake home, it is important that you have a habitat set up for it to move straight into. This Snake Starter Kit will help you identify what you need, and if you have any questions, our Pet Care Advisors in-store will be only to happy to assist.