Corn snakes aren’t known to be fussy eaters (unlike ball pythons), but if you’re trying to get your pet corn snake to eat more often, this article will provide some helpful tips on how and why their food consumption may have changed.
Snakes are generally able to survive without food for up to two months, but the same cannot be said for baby snakes. Baby corn snakes need to eat every 3-4 days to maintain their health and development, and going longer than a week without food can have negative consequences.
However, it’s important to note that baby corn snakes can only survive for 7 to 12 days without water, while adult corn snakes can typically go without water for 7 to 12 days. Corn snakes in captivity should have access to water at all times and not be restricted from drinking for more than a week. Fresh water is typically obtained by snakes in the wild from sources such as ponds, streams, or rainwater puddles.
The Complete Corn Snake Feeding Guide
From Mice to Birds: The Diet of Corn Snakes Revealed
Corn snakes are enthusiastic eaters and rarely refuse their prey. In the wild, corn snakes prey on frogs, lizards, rodents, and birds. In captivity, they should be fed thawed rodents (mainly mice and rats). Live prey can potentially harm your snake, so it’s recommended to feed them pre-killed or frozen-thawed rodents.
You can add variety to the snake’s diet by including chicks, hamsters, gerbils, and quail for a more balanced meal. The size of the feed should be equal to or slightly larger than the size of the girth of the snake’s belly. So, young corn snakes eat pinky mice, while adult corn snakes require large mice. Here’s a video comparing the best and worst snake food companies.
The prey should be thawed naturally before feeding it to the snake. You can defrost it by simply leaving it outside for a few hours. But moving it to the refrigerator from the freezer one day before will discourage bacterial growth.
Their enclosure also needs to have a large bowl of tap water that must be replaced every day. It is common for snakes to defecate in their water. If this occurs, it is important to quickly clean the waste.
It’s important not to leave uneaten prey in your snake’s enclosure for too long, as this can attract pests and create unsanitary conditions.
To lower the chance of being bitten while feeding your snake, use tongs or tweezers to handle the food.
The Hunger Games: How Much Food Does a Corn Snake Need?
The weight of the feed depends on the age and weight of the snake. Here’s a detailed feeding chart for corn snakes:
|Snake Age||Length of Snake||Weight of Snake||Mouse Weight||Mouse Size||Frequency|
|Hatchling 0-3 months||8-14 inches||4-15g||2-4g||Pinkie||5-6 days|
|Hatchling 3-5 months||12-20 inches||16-23g||2-4g||Double pinkie||6-7 days|
|Juvenile 6-8 months||20-30 inches||24-30g||5-6g||Small fuzzy||7-9 days|
|Juvenile 8-12 months||30-40 inches||31-50g||7-8g||Fuzzy||8-10 days|
|Juvenile 12-18 months||35-45 inches||50-100g||7-12g||Hopper/ small adult||8-10 days|
|Sub-adult 18-24 months||35-50 inches||100-500g||12-18g||Medium adult||10-12 days|
|Adult 24 months+||35-65 inches||500-800g||19-25g||Large adult||14-21 days|
|Senior adult 18 years+||35-65 inches||500-800g||19-25g||Large adult||10-14 days|
|Overweight adult 35-65 inches||35-65 inches||Depends on actual body conditions||19-25g||Large adult||21-28 days|
|Obese adult||35-65 inches||Depends on actual body conditions||19-25g||Large adult||28-35 days+|
|Underweight adult||35-65 inches||Depends on actual body conditions||19-25g||Large adult||10-14 days|
To Feed or Not to Feed: The Ideal Feeding Schedule for Corn Snakes
Corn snakes differ from other pets as they don’t require daily feeding. You can skip feeding your snake for several days, depending on its age.
Typically, hatchlings should be fed once every 5-7 days, juvenile snakes can be fed every 7-10 days, and adult corn snakes should only be fed once every 10-14 days. Regular weighing can help monitor the effectiveness of the feeding schedule. For an adult snake, you should aim to maintain its weight and not increase it.
New owners should be cautious about overfeeding their snakes. Overfeeding has serious health impacts, including decreasing the lifespan of your corn snake.
Unlocking the Mystery: Common Reasons for Corn Snake Appetite Loss
Sometimes your corn snake might develop a loss of appetite. There are several natural, environmental, and health issues a corn snake might refuse to eat. Here are some common reasons why a corn snake might not be eating:
Natural Reasons- No Intervention Needed
#1 – Shedding/Molting
Corn snakes often lose their appetite when they are about to shed. This is because the process of shedding requires a lot of energy, and they may not feel hungry during this time. If your snake is not eating but is otherwise healthy, it may be getting ready to shed.
All snakes go into a hibernation-like state during the colder months. Cooler temperatures can make your pet corn snake feel lethargic and decrease their appetite.
#3- Age-related factors
Juvenile corn snakes require more food as they are in their growth phase, so they may need to be fed once a week. On the other hand, adult corn snakes may eat far less frequently.
When corn snakes are preparing to lay eggs, they may stop eating. Once the snake has laid them all, try offering food again. Offer food more frequently to help the snake regain lost nutrients. Look for signs of hunting behavior when the snake is ready to eat.
#1- Feeding frequency
Corn snakes may not eat if they are being fed too often or not often enough. Younger snakes may need to eat more frequently than older snakes.
#2- Type of prey
Sometimes your snake may not like the type of prey you are offering. Try offering different types of prey to see what it prefers. The size of the prey you offer your snake should be appropriate for its size. Offering prey that is too large can cause digestive issues and lead to a loss of appetite.
#3- Feeding method
The snake’s feed must always be thawed slowly to room temperature. Though live prey is more appealing for the snake, it may cause injury to it. You can improve the snake’s “hunting” experience by wiggling the feeder. This encourages feeding response and is good for its health.
#1 Intestinal Parasite
Tiny parasites, also known as “worms,” can overpopulate your snake’s intestines, causing them to stop eating. A fecal screening is necessary to detect these parasites as they are not visible to the naked eye.
#2 Respiratory infection
Respiratory infections can cause lethargy, lack of appetite, and difficulty breathing in snakes. If you notice any signs of a respiratory infection, take your snake to a veterinarian immediately.
#3 Mouth rot
Mouth rot is a bacterial infection that affects the mouth and gums of snakes. It can cause pain and discomfort, leading to a loss of appetite.
#4 Obstructions and Impactions
Sometimes snakes accidentally ingest something they cannot digest, leading to obstructions. In other cases, the lack of moisture in their environment can cause them to become impacted. Both obstructions and impactions can cause your snake to stop eating. Warm water soaks can help an impacted snake pass stool, but surgery may be necessary for an obstruction.
Loud noises, sudden movements, or handling too often can cause stress to your pet snake, leading to a loss of appetite.
#2 The Wrong Enclosure environment
Corn snakes are sensitive to their environment, and changes in temperature, lighting, or humidity can cause stress and lead to a loss of appetite. Make sure your snake’s enclosure is set up properly and the temperature and humidity levels are appropriate. Here’s a you-need-to-know video on setting up a snake enclosure.
It’s important to monitor your snake’s behavior and appetite closely to determine the underlying cause of its lack of appetite. If you suspect your snake may be sick or injured, take them to a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles.
What to Do If Your Corn Snake Isn’t Eating
If you notice that your corn snake has stopped eating, there are a few things you can do to encourage it to start eating again.
- First of all, check if your snake is not about to shed or hibernate. These are natural causes and need no intervention.
- Ensure that your snake’s environment is appropriate for its needs, providing a proper substrate, a snake hides, and proper day/night lighting. The ideal temp Your corn snake needs a proper environment to thrive.
- Use the right size of prey. A prey item that is too big or too small can put off a corn snake from eating. Make sure the size of the prey is appropriate for the snake’s size.
- All frozen food needs to be properly thawed before offering it to your snake. Make sure the food is at room temperature before offering it to your snake.
- Try a different type of prey. If your snake isn’t eating mice, try offering them chicks or quail instead. Some snakes are more attracted to certain types of prey. You can also try offering live prey for a change.
- Handle your snake less. Handling a snake too much can cause stress, which can lead to a loss of appetite.
- Stress can cause your snake to lose its appetite. Make sure your snake’s enclosure is in a quiet location, away from high-traffic areas and loud noises.
- Monitor to be sure your snake isn’t suffering from respiratory disease or impaction.
- Finally, consult with a reptile veterinarian if the problem persists. A vet can examine your snake and determine if there is an underlying health issue.
How To Tell If My Corn Snake Is In Brumation?
Brumation is a period of inactivity or reduced activity that is similar to hibernation in some reptiles, including snakes. Brumation typically occurs during the winter months when temperatures are cooler and food sources are scarce. This helps them conserve energy and survive until food becomes more abundant in the spring.
If your corn snake is in brumation, it will show some or all of the following signs:
- Decreased activity level
- Decreased appetite or complete loss of appetite
- Seeking a cool spot in the enclosure
- Staying in one spot for long periods of time
- Reduced digestion and defecation
If you suspect that your snake is in brumation, it’s important not to disturb it. Don’t try to force it to eat or handle it too much. Allow it to rest and conserve its energy until it’s ready to wake up.
How Long Can A Corn Snake Go Without Eating?
A healthy adult corn snake can go up to 6-8 weeks without eating, but it’s best to feed them once every 1-2 weeks to keep them healthy.
Can A Corn Snake Go Without Water?
No, corn snakes need access to fresh water at all times
How Do I Know If My Corn Snake Is Hungry?
Corn snakes may become more active and start exploring their enclosure in search of food when they are hungry. They may also flick their tongue more frequently to try to locate food.
Should I Feed My Snake In A Separate Enclosure?
It is not mandatory but it has two advantages. One, your snake will learn to associate your movements with getting fed. Second, feeding your snake in its enclosure will teach it not to expect food when you reach in, which reduces the likelihood of being bitten.
Do Corn Snakes Require Vitamins?
Even though they are obligate carnivores, the nutrition from feeder rodents may not be as good as wild prey. Commercially-bred feeder rodents may lack crucial nutrients like vitamin D, which increases the risk of developing a nutrient deficiency.
To compensate for this, lightly dusting prey items with an all-in-one calcium and multivitamin supplement can help fill in the gaps in their diet. We recommended this powder supplement.
Corn snakes are a great pet choice for both beginner and experienced snake keepers. Knowing how often corn snakes poop and eat is essential to providing them with proper care. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure your corn snake stays healthy, happy, and well-fed. With the right care and attention, your corn snake can make a great addition to your family for many years to come.