Corn Snakes, Milksnakes, Kingsnakes and Ball Pythons are among the most popular snakes kept and bred in captivity. Their variety of colors and patterns, moderate adult size, docile nature and reluctance to bite, make these attractive species for both the beginning reptile enthusiast as well as the advanced hobbyist.
Scientific name: Corn Snake: Pantherophis guttatus – Milksnake & Kingsnake: Lampropeltis species – Ball Python: Python regius
Family: Corn Snakes, Milksnakes and Kingsnakes belong to the family Colubridae – Ball Pythons belong to family Pythonidae
Distribution: Corn snakes occur naturally in the southeastern part of the United States. Kingsnakes and milk snakes can be found throughout North and South America. Ball Pythons are native to Africa occurring in a narrow belt stretching along the southern border of the Sahara desert from Senegal in the west to Sudan and Uganda in central Africa.
Average hatchling size: 8-12 inches (20-30cm)
Average adult size: 3-5.5 feet (90-165 cm)
Average life span: 15-25 years (some individuals even live 30+ years)
Housing: Exo Terra’s Natural Terrarium MEDIUM/LOW is ideal for Corn Snakes, Milksnakes, Kingsnakes and juvenile Ball Pythons. Corn Snakes can be housed together in pairs or small groups, but need to be fed individually and separately. Kingsnakes and Milksnakes should be housed individually, as some species have been known to eat each other! To avoid stress or even hunger strike, Ball Pythons are also best housed individually. It is recommended to house hatchling and juvenile snakes of all species individually, as they can grow at different rates and can sometimes become stressed from overcrowding.
Substrate: The Exo Terra Moss Mat is an ideal soft, hygienic and absorbent substrate for all Snakes.
Decoration: The Exo Terra Reptile Cave mimics the natural hiding places of Colubrids and Ball Pythons – it provides shelter and a cooler and more humid microclimate. Additional décor can be added for extra security and aesthetics.
Lighting: Colubrids and Ball Pythons are mainly crepuscular, meaning they’re most active during dusk and dawn, but some are also active during daytime – the Exo Terra Reptile UVB100 emits an optimal light spectrum that will allow your Snake to experience and perceive colors from their environment more naturally – Snakes need a 12-hour day/night cycle.
Heating: To allow your Colubrids and Ball Pythons to thermoregulate their body temperature, they should be offered a daytime temperature gradient by heating approximately 1/3 of the floor space (85-90°F / 29-32°C)* by placing the Exo Terra Heat Mat on one side of the terrarium floor, so 2/3 will remain cool (75-80°F /24°-27°C) – keep the nighttime temperature at an average of 70-75°F (21-24°C). * Ball Pythons can tolerate temperatures up to 95°F / 35°C. Additional heating (like the Exo Terra Infrared Basking Spot, Night Heat Lamp or Ceramic Heater) may be necessary if temperatures fall below the recommended range.
Food: Colubrids and Ball Pythons are carnivorous, consuming mostly small rodents. In captivity snakes are fed primarily mice of the appropriate size. Snakes should be offered 1 mouse per week. Baby snakes feed on pinkie mice, and as your snake grows, the size of the mice should graduate from pinkie to fuzzy, than hoppers and lastly adult mice. A guide for size selection is that the width of the mouse should be no more than one and half times the width (diameter) of the snake’s body at its thickest. Adult or larger snakes may require 2 adult mice or 1 appropriately sized rat per feeding. To prevent risk of injury in snakes it is best to offer prekilled, frozen/thawed mice. Make sure the mice are fully thawed before offering them. Do not handle your snake for at least 24-48 hours after feeding, as this may disturb the digestive system, and cause your snake to regurgitate it’s food.
Watering: Always provide your pet snake with fresh, clean drinking water in the Exo Terra medium Water Dish. Use Exo Terra Aquatize Terrarium Water Conditioner to remove Chlorine & Chloramine as well as to neutralize heavy metals from the tap water.