Black Cornsnake: A Guide to Caring for Your Pet Snake

Black cornsnake

What is a Black Cornsnake?

Black cornsnakes are native to North America, particularly to the southeastern region of the United States. They are usually found in grasslands, forests, and in close proximity to agricultural areas. In the wild, cornsnakes tend to prey on small mammals, birds, and other reptiles.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of the enclosure is essential to prevent the buildup of bacteria and parasites. The enclosure should be cleaned regularly, and the snake’s bedding should be replaced as needed. It is also important to monitor the temperature and humidity levels in the enclosure to ensure the snake’s health and well-being.

While black cornsnakes are generally hardy and healthy pets, they may still be prone to certain health issues. Regular veterinary check-ups are recommended to ensure the snake’s overall health. Common health issues in black cornsnakes include respiratory infections, skin problems, and parasites.

Choosing the Right Enclosure for Your Black Cornsnake

Size of the Enclosure

Type of Enclosure

There are various types of enclosures available for pet snakes, but for a black cornsnake, a glass terrarium with a secure lid is ideal. Glass enclosures provide a clear view of the snake, allowing you to observe its behavior and health. Make sure the lid fits tightly to prevent any potential escapes.



Enhance the terrarium by adding various furnishings that will help simulate the snake’s natural habitat. Provide hiding spots like hollow logs or caves where the snake can retreat and feel secure. Adding branches or rocks will allow the snake to climb and exercise, mimicking its natural behavior.

Temperature and Lighting


Ensuring the enclosure is secure is vital to prevent any escapes or potential hazards. Make sure that the lid is secure and cannot be easily opened by the snake. Regularly check the enclosure for any cracks or gaps that could become potential escape routes and promptly repair them if necessary.


To maintain a clean and healthy environment, regular cleaning of the enclosure is essential. Remove any waste or soiled substrate and replace it with fresh bedding. Clean the water dish and any decorations regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria. It is also important to disinfect the enclosure periodically to keep it free from any parasites or harmful bacteria.

Summary: Providing the right enclosure for your pet black cornsnake is crucial for its health and well-being. Choose a terrarium that is appropriately sized, provide the right substrate and furnishings, maintain the temperature and lighting, ensure the security of the enclosure, and regularly clean and maintain the terrarium for a happy and healthy snake.

Providing the Right Temperature and Humidity

Proper temperature and humidity are crucial for the health and well-being of your black cornsnake. As a reptile, it relies on external sources to regulate its body temperature. Creating the right environment in its terrarium is essential.


One side of the terrarium should have a warm spot with a temperature range of 85-90°F (29-32°C) during the day. This can be achieved using an under-tank heating pad or a heat lamp. The other side should be cooler, around 75-80°F (24-27°C), to give the snake a choice of temperatures.


Black cornsnakes thrive in environments with moderate humidity levels. Aim for a humidity range of 40-50%. This can be achieved by misting the terrarium with water and providing a water dish for the snake to soak in if it desires.

Monitoring the humidity levels is important to prevent issues such as dehydration or respiratory problems. You can use a hygrometer to keep track of the humidity and adjust it accordingly.

Remember to provide a substrate that can hold moisture, such as cypress mulch or sphagnum moss, to help maintain the humidity levels in the enclosure.

Overall, creating a comfortable and suitable habitat for your black cornsnake by providing the right temperature and humidity is essential for its overall well-being. By replicating its natural environment, you will ensure that your pet snake stays healthy and happy.

Feeding Your Black Cornsnake

Young black cornsnakes typically eat pinky mice, which are newborn mice that have not yet grown fur. As your snake grows, you will need to gradually increase the size of the prey. This can be done by offering larger mice or even small rats, depending on the size of your snake.

Prey Size Snake Size
Pinky Mice Young snakes
Hopper Mice Subadult snakes
Adult Mice/Small Rats Adult snakes

Feeding your black cornsnake should be done in a separate enclosure, such as a feeding container, to avoid any potential aggression towards your hand. This also helps prevent the snake from associating your hand with feeding, reducing the risk of accidental bites.

Feeding your snake once every 5-7 days is usually sufficient, but the frequency may vary depending on the age and size of your snake. Always monitor your snake’s weight and body condition to ensure that they are receiving the appropriate amount of food.

Remember to ensure that the prey you offer to your snake is nutritionally balanced. Supplementing their diet with vitamins and minerals may be necessary, especially for captive-bred snakes. Consult with a reptile veterinarian or experienced snake breeder to determine the best dietary supplements for your pet.

Handling and Socializing Your Snake

Handling and socializing your black cornsnake is an important aspect of snake ownership. These colorful snakes can be quite docile and make great pets, but it’s essential to handle them with care and respect their boundaries.

Before handling your snake, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap. This helps remove any contaminants or odors that could potentially cause harm to your snake. Snakes have a keen sense of smell, so it’s crucial to handle them with clean hands.

When picking up your black cornsnake, it’s best to approach them slowly and confidently. Gently slide your hand underneath their belly and support their body from below. It’s crucial to avoid squeezing or gripping the snake too tightly, as this can cause stress and injury.

Cleaning and Maintaining the Enclosure

Proper cleaning and maintenance of the terrarium are crucial for the health and well-being of your black cornsnake. Regular cleaning will help prevent the buildup of waste, bacteria, and other harmful substances that can be detrimental to your pet snake’s health. Here are some essential steps to follow:

1. Remove the Snake

Before you start cleaning the enclosure, carefully remove your black cornsnake from the terrarium and place it in a secure and safe area. This step is essential to ensure the safety of both you and your snake.

2. Empty and Clean the Substrate

Next, remove all the substrate from the terrarium. The substrate can be newspaper, reptile carpet, or aspen bedding. Dispose of any waste materials and clean the substrate using warm water and a mild reptile-safe disinfectant. Rinse the substrate thoroughly to remove any leftover cleaning solution and let it dry completely before placing it back in the enclosure.

3. Clean and Disinfect the Terrarium

While the substrate is drying, clean the terrarium thoroughly. Use a reptile-safe disinfectant or a mixture of water and vinegar to clean the walls, floor, and any accessories in the enclosure. Scrub off any dirt or debris, paying close attention to the corners and crevices where bacteria may accumulate. Rinse the terrarium with water to remove any cleaning solution residues.

4. Replace Water and Accessories

After cleaning and disinfecting the terrarium, fill a clean water dish with fresh water and place it back in the enclosure. Additionally, check and replace any accessories such as hides, climbing branches, or heating elements if necessary.

5. Monitor Temperature and Humidity Levels

Once the enclosure is clean, make sure to recheck the temperature and humidity levels. Black cornsnakes require a temperature gradient, with a basking spot of around 85-90°F (29-32°C) and a cooler area around 75-80°F (24-27°C). The humidity level should be maintained between 40-60%. Adjust the heating and humidity sources accordingly to provide the optimal conditions for your pet snake.

Remember: Regular cleaning and maintenance are vital to prevent the spread of diseases and ensure a healthy environment for your black cornsnake. Clean the enclosure at least once a month or more frequently if necessary, and always wash your hands thoroughly after handling your pet snake.

By following these steps and maintaining a clean and well-maintained enclosure, you can provide a comfortable and healthy living space for your black cornsnake, promoting its overall well-being as a colorful and fascinating pet snake.

Common Health Issues and Their Prevention

When owning a black cornsnake as a pet, it is essential to be aware of common health issues and take preventive measures to ensure the well-being of your reptile friend. These beautiful, black snakes require a properly maintained terrarium and regular care to keep them in optimal health.

Regular Veterinary Check-ups

Proper Diet and Nutrition

Feeding your black cornsnake a well-balanced diet is crucial for their overall health. These reptiles primarily feed on rodents, such as mice and rats. It is necessary to provide appropriately sized prey that matches the size of the snake. Overfeeding or underfeeding can lead to various health issues, such as obesity or malnutrition. Additionally, it is essential to ensure that the prey you provide is of high quality, free from any diseases or parasites.

Maintaining Optimal Habitat Conditions

Black cornsnakes thrive in a habitat with moderate temperature and humidity levels. It is crucial to provide a heat gradient in the terrarium, allowing the snake to regulate its body temperature naturally. Regularly monitor the temperature and humidity levels using a thermometer and hygrometer, respectively. Incorrect levels can lead to various health issues, including respiratory infections and difficulty shedding.

Proper Handling Techniques

Preventing Parasites and Infections

Regularly clean and maintain the terrarium to prevent the buildup of bacteria and parasites. Clean all surfaces, including the substrate, water dish, and decorations, using reptile-safe disinfectants. It is also important to quarantine any new additions to the terrarium to prevent the introduction of potential infections or parasites.

Observation and Early Detection

Keeping a close eye on your black cornsnake and noticing any changes in behavior or appearance is crucial for early detection of health issues. Look out for signs of illness, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, abnormal shedding, or changes in stool. If you notice any abnormalities, consult your veterinarian promptly to address the issue before it worsens.

Common Health Issues Prevention
Respiratory infections Maintain proper temperature and humidity levels in the terrarium
Parasites Clean and disinfect the terrarium regularly
Malnutrition Provide a balanced diet and feed appropriately-sized prey
Stress-related issues Handle the snake gently and avoid excessive handling
Abnormal shedding Maintain proper humidity levels in the terrarium

By taking preventive measures and providing the necessary care, you can ensure a long and healthy life for your black cornsnake. Regular veterinary check-ups, proper diet and nutrition, maintaining optimal habitat conditions, gentle handling, prevention of parasites and infections, as well as vigilant observation, will help keep your pet reptile thriving.