If you are looking to own a pet corn snake, then one of the first things you will likely want to know will be how long they live. Its important information too. It helps us to set our expectations, help us to prepare and equally, can give us great reassurance that we have looked after them as best as we can during the time that we have had them.
So, how long do corn snakes live in captivity? Corn snakes live for an average of 15 years in captivity, although up to 20 years has been reported. This is much longer than the life expectancy of a wild corn snake, which is typically around 5-10 years. As owners, there are some practical things we can do to ensure they live longer and healthier lives.
As you can see, if you are looking to get a corn snake, it should be with you for quite some time. However, in order for this to happen, you will need to take care of them as best as you can. The enclosure is of utmost importance, as is the diet that you feed over the course of their lives.
Let us now explore the topic in greater detail; so that you can understand those factors that impact longevity as best as you can and ensure you get it right for your corn snake’s longevity.
Factors That Influence How Long Corn Snakes Live In Captivity
Diet and Nutrition
One of the foremost factors that influence the lifespan of corn snakes in captivity is their diet.
Feeding your corn snake an appropriate diet, which typically consists of mice or small rats, ensures that it receives the necessary nutrients for growth and health maintenance.
Overfeeding or underfeeding can lead to obesity or malnutrition respectively, both of which can negatively affect their lifespan.
A well-maintained habitat is crucial for the longevity of corn snakes.
This includes having the correct substrate, proper temperature gradients, and adequate hiding places.
An improperly set up enclosure can cause stress, promote illness, or lead to injuries which can shorten a snake’s life.
Just like other pets, corn snakes require regular check-ups and timely medical attention.
Periodic health check-ups, disease screenings, and prompt treatments in case of illnesses can increase the chances of your snake leading a longer, healthier life.
The genetic makeup of a corn snake can play a role in determining its potential lifespan.
Some corn snakes may be predisposed to certain hereditary health conditions, which can affect how long they live.
It’s always a good idea to obtain corn snakes from reputable breeders who prioritize the health and genetics of their snakes.
Handling and Stress
Regular and gentle handling can help in taming corn snakes and reducing their stress levels.
However, excessive or rough handling can lead to undue stress or even injuries.
Ensuring that your snake has adequate hiding spaces and feels secure in its environment will also reduce its stress, which is beneficial for its overall health and longevity.
Providing environmental enrichment, such as climbing branches, toys, and exploring opportunities, can stimulate a corn snake’s mind and body.
This can lead to better mental well-being and physical health, which can potentially increase their lifespan.
Exposure to Other Animals
Corn snakes that are exposed to potential predators or even other snakes can experience heightened stress levels.
Moreover, cohabitation with other snakes can increase the risk of disease transmission.
It’s essential to ensure that corn snakes are housed safely and are not at risk from other animals.
The Typical Corn Snake Life Cycle
Understanding the life cycle of a corn snake is crucial for owners, as it provides insight into their growth, development, and changing needs at different life stages.
Here’s a breakdown of the typical life cycle of a corn snake:
- Laying Eggs: After mating, female corn snakes lay a clutch of eggs, typically ranging from 10 to 30 eggs.
- Incubation: The eggs require a moist and warm environment for incubation, generally at temperatures between 78°F to 82°F (25°C to 28°C). This period lasts for approximately 60 to 65 days.
- Hatching: Once the incubation period is over, the baby corn snakes, also known as hatchlings, emerge from their eggs. They are usually about 10 to 15 inches long at this stage.
- First Shed: Hatchlings usually undergo their first shed within a week or two after hatching. It’s after this shed that they’ll start to eat.
- Diet: They primarily feed on appropriately sized pinkie mice.
- Growth: At this stage, they grow rapidly and may need more frequent feedings.
- Size: As they approach the end of their first year, juveniles can range in size from 20 to 30 inches.
- Diet Transition: Juveniles will move on to larger prey as they grow, transitioning from pinkie mice to fuzzies or even larger prey.
- Shedding: They shed more frequently during this period due to their rapid growth.
- Maturity: Corn snakes usually reach sexual maturity between 18 to 36 months, depending on factors like diet, health, and overall growth rate.
- Size: Adult corn snakes average between 3 to 5 feet in length, with some reaching up to 6 feet.
- Diet: Their diet consists of larger mice or small rats.
- Breeding: Adult corn snakes can breed once a year, typically in the spring.
- Age: This stage begins around the age of 10 years.
- Diet: Their metabolism slows down, so they might eat less frequently.
- Health Monitoring: Senior corn snakes may develop age-related health issues, so regular veterinary check-ups become even more essential.
- Lifespan: With proper care, corn snakes in captivity can live up to 20 years, with some reaching the age of 25.
Corn Snake Longevity vs Other Snake Species In Captivity
While corn snakes are popular pets and are known for their relatively long lifespans in captivity, it’s interesting to see how their longevity compares to that of other snake species.
Below is a table highlighting the average lifespan of corn snakes in relation to other popular pet snakes when kept in captivity:
|Snake Species||Average Lifespan in Captivity|
|Corn Snake||15 to 20 years|
|Ball Python||20 to 30 years|
|King Snake||12 to 20 years|
|Milk Snake||10 to 20 years|
|Garter Snake||5 to 10 years|
|Rosy Boa||15 to 25 years|
|Sand Boa||10 to 15 years|
|Hognose Snake||12 to 20 years|
|Green Tree Python||15 to 20 years|
|Rainbow Boa||20 to 25 years|
It’s important to note that the lifespans mentioned in the table are averages, and individual snakes might live shorter or longer based on factors such as genetics, care, and overall health.
How To Ensure Your Corn Snake Reaches Its Lifespan in Longevity
Ensuring your corn snake reaches or even exceeds its expected lifespan requires a combination of proper care, understanding, and vigilance.
By following best practices in various aspects of its care, you can greatly improve the chances of your snake enjoying a long and healthy life.
- Feeding Schedule: Adhere to a regular feeding schedule. For young corn snakes, feeding should be once every 5-7 days, while adults can be fed once every 10-14 days.
- Prey Size: The prey’s size should be roughly the same width as the widest part of your snake. This ensures easy digestion.
- Variety: Occasionally, introduce a variety of appropriately-sized prey to ensure a balanced diet.
- Cleanliness: Regularly clean and sanitize the enclosure to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria and waste.
- Substrate: Use substrates like aspen shavings, newspaper, or reptile carpet. Avoid pine and cedar as they can be harmful.
- Temperature and Humidity: Maintain appropriate temperature gradients in the enclosure, and ensure the humidity levels are neither too low nor too high.
Regular Veterinary Care
- Check-ups: Take your snake for annual veterinary check-ups to catch potential health issues early.
- Immediate Care: If your snake shows signs of illness or distress, consult a veterinarian promptly.
- Regular Interaction: Handle your corn snake regularly but gently to build trust and reduce stress.
- Safety First: Always supervise children when they are interacting with the snake and teach them proper handling techniques.
If you have multiple snakes, avoid housing different species or large numbers together. Overcrowding can lead to stress and increased disease transmission.
Provide opportunities for your snake to explore, climb, and hide. This not only keeps them physically active but also mentally stimulated.
Quarantine New Additions
If you introduce a new snake to your home, always quarantine it for a period to ensure it doesn’t carry diseases that might affect your corn snake.
Education and Research
Stay informed about the latest care techniques, research, and recommendations for corn snake care. Joining online forums or local herpetology groups can be beneficial.
Corn snakes live quite a long time in captivity; almost double that of their wild counterparts.
If you take care of your corn snake and are sure to meet their needs and requirements, you can expect them to live for anywhere between 10-20 years.
Appropriate enclosure size, sufficient habitat modifications, regular cleaning, and diet are all equally important to ensure your corn snake lives a long, happy life.
As a pet snake owner, while they may prefer to be on their own and hide away, they rely on you solely to meet their needs and requirements.
We owe it to them, to do this as best as we can.
How long do wild Corn Snakes Live?
In the wild, corn snakes typically live for 6 to 8 years, although their lifespan can be shorter due to predators, diseases, and environmental factors.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.