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Old 03-10-21, 10:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Best terrarium setup for a young corn snake

Hi all. I've been having trouble with humidity in my current terrarium. I have a young corn snake so my understanding is his humidity should be in the range of 50%-70% (maybe more?). Right now it's averaging very low at around 20%.

Current setup
This terrarium: https://www.amazon.com/REPTI-ZOO-Bac...ef_=ast_sto_dp
Heating source: heat lamp during day, black ceramic lamp at night
Attempts at controlling humidity: lots of phagnum moss, constant misting, creating a humidity hide w/ phagnum moss, tinfoil on the open mesh parts to reduce humidity loss
Photo: https://ibb.co/ypdQtPq

My suspicion is that a lot of the humidity is leaking through the top mesh lid and the mesh on the sides. No matter what I do the humidity doesn't improve much and on average stays around 20% or so. I did get some improvement with the tinfoil blocking the openings above but obviously that's a stupid/temporary solution and I really need a different terrarium. I imagine the heat lamp dries things out a bit in combination with this.

Anyone have any good suggestions?
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Old 03-11-21, 10:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Best terrarium setup for a young corn snake

I don't pay much attention to humidity requirements for most of my snakes, especially colubrids. If your snake is properly hydrated then ambient humidity should be fine. That said, I do think a constant 20% is a bit too low though and I would bump it up. For an enclosure that size I'd start with switching the heat source. I'd ditch the heat lamps and go with a thermostat controlled under tank heater. I'm not sure which bedding you're using but you could try something like Reptichip. It holds humidity really well. Those two things should make a considerable difference.
I like your enclosure. Glass enclosures can work well but you have to tweak them a little for some snake species. Unfortunately you are going to need a larger enclosure for a full grown corn snake. They can reach 4-6'. I learned this lesson the hard way too by investing in tanks early on. With the cost of that enclosure it would have been more economical to invest in the adult sized enclosure initially. You can get a very nice PVC enclosure for a few dollars more. I love the AP T8 or T10 for colubrids. It just takes a while to get them.

https://apcages.com/collections/terrestrial-cages
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Old 03-13-21, 10:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Best terrarium setup for a young corn snake

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Originally Posted by EL Ziggy View Post
I don't pay much attention to humidity requirements for most of my snakes, especially colubrids. If your snake is properly hydrated then ambient humidity should be fine. That said, I do think a constant 20% is a bit too low though and I would bump it up. For an enclosure that size I'd start with switching the heat source. I'd ditch the heat lamps and go with a thermostat controlled under tank heater. I'm not sure which bedding you're using but you could try something like Reptichip. It holds humidity really well. Those two things should make a considerable difference.
I like your enclosure. Glass enclosures can work well but you have to tweak them a little for some snake species. Unfortunately you are going to need a larger enclosure for a full grown corn snake. They can reach 4-6'. I learned this lesson the hard way too by investing in tanks early on. With the cost of that enclosure it would have been more economical to invest in the adult sized enclosure initially. You can get a very nice PVC enclosure for a few dollars more. I love the AP T8 or T10 for colubrids. It just takes a while to get them.

https://apcages.com/collections/terrestrial-cages
Thanks for the thorough response.

1. Any recommendations on under the tank heater + thermostat?
2. I use loose coconut fiber substrate.
3. What's a good avg humidity level above 20% in your opinion?
4. I'm hoping he's hydrated... He has a large water bowl but he only really is out at night so I don't see him drink.
5. Thanks for the tank suggestion. I will take a look.
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Old 03-13-21, 10:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Best terrarium setup for a young corn snake

Also - will a T8 or T10 fit all of the stuff I've filled my tank with IYO (half log, hideaway, branch, moss and fake vines along the top)? It looks wider than taller.
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Old 03-13-21, 09:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Best terrarium setup for a young corn snake

The T8 and T10 are 4 foot wide and 2 foot deep. The 8 is 1 foot tall and the 10 is 15" tall. So, there's plenty of room for hides, etc. Whether they will fit or not depends on how tall they are. I keep a corn snake in a T8 with a water dish, a large cork flat for a hide, a piece of round oak bark as a secondary hide, a loop of grape vine as furniture, and some pothos vines growing in there.

I use thermostats made by Inkbird. Vivarium electronics makes a good thermostat. So does Spyder Robotics. Just about any undertank heater made for reptiles will work just fine.

Typically, you try to keep humidity for corn snakes at about 50%. For general reference, unless you live in a desert, a jungle, or you are running a heater, your house will probably have around 50% humity.

Snakes generally get all the hydration they need from their food. They're very well designed to retain moisture. They will drink water from a bowl, but I've been keeping multiple snakes since the 1990's, and I've only seen my snakes drink on a handful of occasions.
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Old 03-15-21, 08:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Best terrarium setup for a young corn snake

Yeah I suspect I really just need to change to a heating pad with a thermostat. The heat lamp is sucking out too much moisture and doesn't feel tenable. No efforts to maintain humidity (constant misting, lots of phagnum moss, huge water bowl and added huge water cup) are working effectively.
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Old 03-15-21, 07:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Best terrarium setup for a young corn snake

Try adding more substrate. If you fill the substrate to an inch or two of depth then the deeper dirt will stay moist. It will stay even more moist if you put a layer of mulch on top of deeper substrate.

The snake will definitely burrow itself to get the moisture it needs. My cornsnake spends quite a bit of time in various burrows and my substrate is only 2 inches deep or so.
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Old 04-05-21, 02:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Best terrarium setup for a young corn snake

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Try adding more substrate. If you fill the substrate to an inch or two of depth then the deeper dirt will stay moist. It will stay even more moist if you put a layer of mulch on top of deeper substrate.

The snake will definitely burrow itself to get the moisture it needs. My cornsnake spends quite a bit of time in various burrows and my substrate is only 2 inches deep or so.
Thanks. I have put some wet paper towels + phagnum moss which I periodically spray to give him sufficient moisture hides.

Good news is I ordered a AP tank. And it sounds like it'll be sent out early May, fingers crossed.

That being said - I've tried to combat heat with a combo of lamp + pad under the hot side. I've also tried to combat humidity with a humidifier right next to it too. This seems to be helping. But worries me is that temperature and humidity fluctuate a lot; not to mention the humidifier is small and runs out after about 6-8 hours and I have to refill.

Should I worry about this fluctuation?
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Old 04-05-21, 08:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Best terrarium setup for a young corn snake

You don't need to worry about making the entire cage meet certain parameters for an entire 24 hour cycle. The focus on an enclosure for captive snakes is creating a variety of microhabitats within a cage for the snake to migrate through as the day progresses. That way the snake can choose what conditions it wants to sit in.

For example, at night the entire cage may be humid, but during the day with a heat lamp the humid microhabitats may only exist under the substrate or within a humid hide. When the snake doesn't wish to be in a humid area, it can go under a heat lamp where there is little humidity or closer to an underground heat mat. Bottom line being, don't focus on making the entire cage at a given temperature or humidity, just focus on creating opportunities for a variety of conditions to exist within the cage.
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