How Big Do Corn Snakes Get? Here Are Some Sssurprising Facts

Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Feb 20, 2023 By Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Originally Published on Oct 26, 2021
Fact-checked by Pratiti Nath
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.2 Min

People who are fond of corn snakes will know how cute and sweet they are.

It has become a coveted pet reptile because of its beautiful red scales as well as for its calming personality. Many kids are urging their parents to get them a corn snake, and surprisingly, it isn't that hard to take care of it.

The corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus) is native to the United States and is found widely around the southeastern and in the central parts of the country. Rather than using their fangs, the corn snakes feed by constricting the prey by using their whole body.

This snake species has an affinity towards mice and rats, so they are often found around grain stocks like corn and wheat, which gives the snake its name. However, other sources say that the corn snakes have a corn kernel-like pattern on their belly.

Moreover, there are different corn snake morphs available on the market.

You should know that an adult corn snake can get pretty big. So, we have curated this article to give you a little bit of insight into the snake's life.

If you enjoy reading and learning about corn snakes in this article, why not also read about how big are bed bugs? Or how do animals hibernate? Here on Kidadl.

How long is a fully grown corn snake in size?

When fully grown, the adult corn snakes can measure anywhere around 24-72 in (61-182 cm). If measured in feet, the length comes out to be around 2-6 ft. Hence, corn snakes aren't the tiniest of snakes that you may have as a pet.

The length might vary depending on several factors, including the temperature in its habitat as well as the food it has been eating. However, with proper care and nutrition, corn snakes can attain a similar length in captivity as opposed to their wild habitat. There isn't much of a size difference seen in male and female snakes.

However, according to veterinarians, the average corn snake hatchlings tend to have a length of around 8-12 in (20.3 -30.5 cm), and it reaches 20-30 in (50.8 -76.2 cm) in by six months of age.

At 12 months of age, most corn snakes will have a body length of around 35-40 in (88.9 -101.6 cm), and by 24 months of age, the snakes tend to be full size and have a body length of around 60 in (152.4 cm).

These snakes can grow in length until the third year or until it attains sexual maturity. If you happen to have a corn snake, make sure to keep up with the vet appointments to ensure the health and growth of your snake.

Many owners enjoy keeping a diary about the growth of their snake, as it can often be unnoticeable because of the slow growth rate.

How does captivity affect the size of a corn snake?

One of the primary things that you must know about having baby corn snakes is that most of them are captive bred. The animals aren't wild corn snakes, so their growth might be slightly different, and it may be related to different factors.

One of the common things that can restrict the size of a corn snake is the wrong sized tank.

If a tank is too big or too small, it can stress out the snake and restrict your corn snake's growth. The ideal tank size for baby corn snakes is around 5 gal (22.7 L); that's large enough for it to move around and find a good hiding place.

You will need to change the corn snake tank size as it grows through the growth spell, and as an adult, it can live in a 20 gal (90.9 L) tank or larger, while in the middle stage, it would remain healthy in a 10 gal (45.5 L) tank.

However, tank size isn't the only thing that can affect your corn snake's growth. Another important factor is the temperature in its enclosure.

Adequate temperature is needed for your pet to have a good growth rate and remain healthy. A habitat that's too cold will stress out the reptile and even stop its ability to digest food.

If that’s the case, think about getting a heat lamp to get the best corn snake size and ensure their health. One more fact to remember is a healthy diet. Just like us humans, the reptile needs nutrition to grow, and corn snakes eat mice to get energy.

Remember to keep an eye on your corn snake to feed it whenever necessary. Nevertheless, don't overindulge the snake in its diet as it can cause obesity-related health issues.

You should also have a good look at the humidity level of the snake's tank to make sure that your beloved pet’s humidity is adequate. The optimum humidity level is around 65-75%, which goes well with the heat and light present in the tank.

Ball python on a branch.

How to take care of corn snakes?

Having a snake may seem easy, but that's far from the truth. Just like any other pet parent, you will need to take note of corn snake care to make sure it's in optimal health.

One of the foremost important things to know is that the average lifespan of a pet corn snake is about 20 or more years of age.

Apart from the tank itself, you will need to make sure that there's enough substrate like coconut fiber, soil, and sand to make sure that the corn snake is happy in the environment.

Apart from maintaining the humidity and temperature of the tank, you will also need to put in a UV light to mimic the day and night for your corn snake, as well as help them in digesting their food.

As a crepuscular species, the corn snake gets most of its activity during dusk and dawn.

When you think about its free wild habitat, you'll often find snakes resting under a shed. Hence, you will also need to provide a similar space in its habitat, and the shed area, which could be rocks, logs, or other hiding spots, should have a temperature of around 75-82°F (24-27°C).

Heat also helps a corn snake digest its food, so the basking side should have a temperature of around 80-85°F (26-29°C).

When it comes to feeding your pet, a great thing about all snakes, including the corn snake, is that you don't have to feed it often. It will often eat and rest for a long while before needing a second feeding.

You have to make sure, however, that it has the proper quantity to eat.

At the age of about two months, the snake can eat a pinky mouse, but as it grows, you should give it bigger mice. For instance, adults around the age of 1-2 years will often eat adult mice, and their feeding needs to be done in a frequency of 10-14 days.

If you’re going to have a snake in your life, it's important to remember that these animals shed skin to grow new ones. For the adults, it takes about three months to grow through the process, but young snakes will shed every 4-6 weeks.

So, be very gentle while handling your corn snake at that stage, and you should never pick up a snake when it's eating or within 48 hours from its last meal.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for how big do corn snakes get then why not take a look at how big do angelfish get, or how do dolphins sleep.

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Written by Rajnandini Roychoudhury

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

Rajnandini Roychoudhury picture

Rajnandini RoychoudhuryBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature. 

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Fact-checked by Pratiti Nath

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology, Masters of Science specializing in Biotechnology

Pratiti Nath picture

Pratiti NathBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology, Masters of Science specializing in Biotechnology

A Master's in Biotechnology from Presidency University and a Bachelor's in Microbiology from Calcutta University. Pratiti holds expertise in writing science and healthcare articles, and their inputs and feedback help writers create insightful content. They have interests in heritage, history, and climate change issues and have written articles for various websites across multiple subjects. Their experience also includes working with eco-friendly startups and climate-related NGOs.

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