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Old 05-31-17, 01:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Details On Corns Snake Husbandry

I'm getting my first corn snake, I'll be doing the setup in the next week. And I know basic setups, I want someone to give me deep details on the husbandry of cornsnakes. I'm a beginner and have just the basics down. I would really appreciate someone who can explain the various components of the wood Vivarium. And what's good and what's bad. The normal temps and humidity, the best for the snake. Day and night cycles, and everything you should know to give the Corn Snake the best life. Please any deep detailing would be amazing.
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Old 05-31-17, 12:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Details On Corns Snake Husbandry

Cornsnake Care Sheet (Reptile Magazine)
Properly Care for a Pet Cornsnake

There are lots of references out there and most of them agree on what's needed.

What's your budget like for the viv (or Terrarium), heating (ceramic heating element (CHE), under-tank heating pad (UTH)), thermostat, hides (you can make these yourself), substrate, etc?
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Old 05-31-17, 01:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Details On Corns Snake Husbandry

All you need are the basics for a corn snake. Nothing really detailed to keeping them.
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Old 05-31-17, 02:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Details On Corns Snake Husbandry

Well thanks, but I am looking for details. I've read and watched plenty of people. I still want that someone who has kept cornsnakes and never had trouble with them. I don't want a basic setup like a 20 gallon long and a water bowl and a hide and heatpad. I want the nice naturalistic setup, large enough to stretch out and explore climb and thrive.
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Old 05-31-17, 02:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Details On Corns Snake Husbandry

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Originally Posted by Peachy View Post
Well thanks, but I am looking for details. I've read and watched plenty of people. I still want that someone who has kept cornsnakes and never had trouble with them. I don't want a basic setup like a 20 gallon long and a water bowl and a hide and heatpad. I want the nice naturalistic setup, large enough to stretch out and explore climb and thrive.
Well, you know the basic needs, temps, humidity... if you want to go beyond that, that's fine;
  • Branches and decoration, whether or not live plants are an option - be creative
  • You can give access to tunnels/burrows, high hides, low hides, simulate their natural living environment, etc
  • I don't like the use of heat pads, I like top heating. Snakes will naturally burrow against heat. Using a heat pad is kind of doing the opposite. Also with plants, thick substrate, and all the little bugs living with my snakes it really doesn't work for me.
  • One can look at adding UV light to corn snakes, there are studies that they actually show benefits from having access to limited UV (approx UV Index 1 - 2) on their basking spot (UV and heat should be available on the same spot and not over the entire enclosure. Just like heat, UV also needs a gradient and applied carefully)
  • One could make the enclosure bio-active by adding a clean-up crew (pillbugs/springtails) to the vivarium with plants. Basically you don't have to clean-up after the snake anymore once that colony establishes. There is various information available and it's pretty easy to do with some basic gardening skills. I have it with my snakes, and I didn't clean-up any poop in months as there is none and also no smell whatsoever.
  • Against popular believe for corn snakes, most snakes except a few true desert species actually do like a level of humidity. They just don't like constant humidity (ie- wet 'feet' all the time). Just like heat, and UV, you can also apply a humidity gradient. Easy to do with plants, as they need water.
  • Given those things... extra lighting, humidity, blabla, one thing that is often overlooked is ventilation. If you use a small fan to provide a limited airflow you'll notice that you basically cannot overheat your vivarium. Lights heats up the surface, which heats up the air, if you use ventilation your air won't heat up unless the whole room is hot. If you have reasonable room temperature, you can pick a heating method that gives you the right surface temperature (as measured with a temp. gun) and that's all. You won't need to dim down the artificial sunlight to control temps. But this is me, and many may not agree with it.
  • Also, snake's vision is different from mammals. They can see UVA, and they do require a full spectrum light to see clearly, just like us. So providing good light also enhances your snake's life.

There are literally no limits, besides your imagination and your budget.
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Old 06-02-17, 07:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Details On Corns Snake Husbandry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peachy View Post
Well thanks, but I am looking for details. I've read and watched plenty of people. I still want that someone who has kept cornsnakes and never had trouble with them. I don't want a basic setup like a 20 gallon long and a water bowl and a hide and heatpad. I want the nice naturalistic setup, large enough to stretch out and explore climb and thrive.
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Originally Posted by TRD View Post
...There are literally no limits, besides your imagination and your budget.
This is probably the best answer you'll get. And it's probably what people have intended just worded poorly.

Cornsnakes are basic. If you have a basic, easy species it means you have no limits. They'll do well in pretty much everything. There's no specific details needed.
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Old 06-02-17, 10:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Details On Corns Snake Husbandry

The great thing about a corn is you can very easily set up a nice naturalistic viv for very little money. Bit of topsoil and sand for the substrate, some branches from the garden or local woods (deciduous, not evergreen), some leaf litter etc.

Then a heat source (I prefer radiant heat sources than heat mats) and a thermostat and off you go. I'll post some photos of my little boy's P obsoletus viv - very closely related to a corn - to give you an idea of what he's done.
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Old 06-02-17, 11:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Details On Corns Snake Husbandry

A thread on design could go on forever because with corn snakes it's more like pick a design and put them in it. They aren't picky. Too much vertical, too little ventilation with high humidity, or too little humidity in a very dry climate (not chicago and fixable without much design change) is about all you can fail with. It's more what do you want to do? A 40breeder tank makes a good moderate size, easily acquired, and relatively cheap (petco $1/g sales) horizontal display space with some vertical and no effort required unless you build your own lid which we do all the time as a cheaper option. My husband stuck one together from existing materials in less than 20mins last night because he forgot we needed mesh to top heat the new snake instead of the solid lid. Wood is easy too. With high enough humidity in the room you can just wire the whole thing on a wood frame and only worry about enough base for whatever substrate you want but winter can be an issue for some. Otherwise misting during shed, providing a humid hide, and/or having areas of moister natural soil in a naturalistic or bioactive setup will prevent any complications. We got to 15% humidity last winter so I have small little area humidifiers now and will probably do 2 sides solid wood that are against wall corners anyway and the rest of the sides of the enclosures I'm working on wire. I forget what I made the bottom boxes years and years and years ago as they've been stripped clean and resealed for about 5 critters now but they are something like 12-14" high. I just rough it up after cleaning and apply a new coat of enamel. You can use most enamels or polyurethane depending if you want a basic color or to show what's underneath. I find enamel makes a smooth, thicker seal over cheap particle based boards like plywood so it works like plastic unless you scrape it and you can still break individual pieces loose but nothing can easily seal against that. Polyurethane isn't as thick and doesn't dry as smooth if you don't repeatedly sand and add additional coats but it works for smooth wood and can show higher quality wood or if you wanted to paint it in a more unique color than you can get enamel.

I'm thinking for my 2 solid walls of actually covering in natural stone flooring tile instead of leaving it plain sealed wood of some color. I use it for my hides and it would make it even more natural looking. I'm debating the balances of cost, weight, look, and ability to clean because a polished marble is going to clean great but cost and weigh a ton while not looking as natural, slate will be dirt cheap and look natural because it has natural texture and layers that even break off if you knock at them along with being lighter but it won't clean as well and expands in heat or moisture, travertine or limestone are the lightest with in between cost but the most absorbent, granite might be a good middle ground to them all but I probably lose in weight again and it's certainly not as cheap as slate that is cents a 12" tile instead a couple dollars. I've been using slate for hides but I don't have them attached in most cases so if it gets too much stuff the bioactive crew won't clean off and doesn't scrub off or it breaks from heat and moisture making it brittle like I said it costs cents. I set a new one there and all clean. Not so with a glued (probably silicone) wall.

I will say corns seem to love wood more than rock for surfaces they are on and other sites have mentioned it. Some big logs, chunks of flat bark, and anything cork whether you collect or buy is appreciated and my lavender has 2 favorite logs in different heat areas to be on or under instead of using the stacked rock structures like my bull snakes do. The bottom and heat is already somewhat covered but it's also really loose. Do you just want to go shavings and remove them as needed or all out drainage layer, natural soil mix, plants, and clean up crew of insects to barely touch the substrate or anywhere in between. They don't care their substrate. I have one on mostly sand because it started as a desert tank but it still holds 60% humidity easily enough and I will probably do a much more top soil and plant compost rich mix in my more permanent setups. I just picked up another corn yesterday. He's on a mix I already had of plant compost and a little sand that I added some coco fiber to in order to hold more moisture, he came to me in shed as well, and not use a drainage layer in his temporary quarantine bin. I top heat everything with infrared incandescent or che and I find they do like a daytime uv lizard basking bulb if you provide it so my lavender currently swaps between a night time che and a daytime basking bulb. A night time temp drop is not a bad thing at all though so if you use lower wattages than I've got running you can set a thermostat on your night heat and a timer on your daytime basking bulb without having to do a full swap like that. You can also skip the idea all together and use fluorescent for daytime lighting with or without uv since snakes don't appear to need uv and most don't provide it but some are seeing benefits and arguing the science. Whatever range of brightness you like depending on if you are growing plants. Some with good room lighting don't provide specific daytime lights but generally it at least makes it nicer to look at and brings out their colors more to put a full spectrum light over. I've also used led rope lights that you can modify easily by just buying specific lengths with plugs already on them or cutting and using purchased connectors that snap together to any purpose and lighting intensity including plant growing in various colors. Overall agreement though is that blue light does not appear dimmer to reptiles like it does humans so it's wattage you want to pay attention to when deciding how "bright" it is with colors other than the white we can more easily see.
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Old 06-02-17, 11:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Details On Corns Snake Husbandry

You have a lot of good input here already. The only detail that I don't think I've seen is the photo period, which should be about 14 hours of light per day. That can be dropped to 10-12 hours if the snake decides to go off food during winter.

I'll also second the recommendation of the use of a basking lamp of some variety. Corn snakes seem to "like" basking spots. You could, in theory, use a heat panel or che for the basking spot as well.
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