new corn snake

Discussion in 'Corns & Rat Snakes' started by strobe212, Dec 17, 2003.

  1. strobe212

    strobe212 Embryo

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    im thinking of getting a new corn snake. so i have a few questions if anyone can answer them:

    1) is it okay to use a 10 gallon tank for a while...they are really small? when should i move to a 10 gallon?

    2) how long after i buy it should i feed it and every how long should i feed it?

    3) i have a UTH connected to the bottom of a 10 gallon glass tank. im thinking of using newspaper as my substrate. a) will it be too hot with the UTH and paper or should i use a substraite that make it less hot on contract :) do i need extra heat via a light

    5) how should i pick the snake out? any tell tale signs. is there a way to sex them when their young cause id like a female; i hear they dont get too big.

    6) how severe is the stress that corns go through when they move? the problem is that i need to take the snake with me on a 4 hr drive in a day or two cause im moving. i have a power inverter in my car, so is it okay if i plug in the UTH there and take it up with me?

    thanks!!
     
  2. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  3. Axe

    Axe Embryo

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    Yup, a 10 gallon tank is great to start with, just make sure you have a tight fitting lid :)

    Once it reaches about 30" or so though, you'll proably want to move it out of there.

    I usually wait about 1-2 weeks after I've gotten a corn before I feed it, depending on the age of the snake. If it's a baby, they usually get over things pretty quick, I've had several that have eaten the day I brought them home and had no problems... Adults I usually wait a couple of weeks, because they've had more time in their previous routine & surroundings, so they can take a little more adjusting - but again, this depends on the date of their last feeding with their previous keeper.

    Belly heat is always better than heat from above with a snake. Most wild snakes come out after the sun's near it's lowest point in the sky, and absorb heat from the road, or rocks. Belly heat is what they crave, not overhead heat. A UTH will be fine with newspaper. What I would do, before you get the snake, plug the UTH in, set it all up how it would be for the snake, and see what the temps are like, but remember a snake could fairly easily get under that newspaper straight onto the glass if it wanted to. So, what you could do is get down to home depot, and buy a dimmer (just like they use for lights) which will regulate the current going through the heatpad, and will give you more control.

    The best signs are in the book "The Corn Snake Manual" by Kathy Love (although I would suggest getting this book for its entire content, not just to help you spot what to look for when buying a new corn). But, if you buy online or at a show, you can't go wrong with either Kathy Love (Corn-U-Topia), Rich Zuchowski (SerpenCo), or Don Soderberg (South Mountain Reptiles). They are probably the three best corn snake breeders in the country, and I've NEVER seen a sick animal that they've produced.

    The main things to look out for, find a nice active baby, that's not skinny or saggy, it should move around in your fingers, but offer a some resistance as you attempt to move it around your hands (That last bit sounds weird and is kinda hard to explain, but you'll get the idea once you handle one). If one starts to constrict your finger, then you know it's a pretty hardy snake.

    Corns don't stress too badly as long as you keep them somewhere low traffic, and provide them with a nice small hide box (or maybe 2 or 3 small hide areas in a 10g). Corns are prey to a lot of predators in the wild here in Florida. Their natural instinct is to crawl into the tightest space they can find to fall asleep. This will result in a much happier snake. I wouldn't bother using the heat in your car. As long as it doesn't get below 60 in the car, the snake will be fine. I just use small rubbermaid shoeboxes with airholes drilled in them, then cover those up with a towel. They'll just think it's night time & go to sleep. B)

    Good luck, and keep us posted on how it goes B)
     
  4. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  5. strobe212

    strobe212 Embryo

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    thanks a lot axe...just one last question. how big do they get...my issue is that im not looking for a big snake at all, most prob the smallest i can find. the pet store has a few for sale for like $40. im a college student and just want an interactive pet while im away....could u suggest something better than a corn or is that the route i should take.
     
  6. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  7. Axe

    Axe Embryo

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    Again, it's something that depends on the individual. Some will only reach a lil over 4ft... some will get up to 6ft, but most reach around 5ft or so.. But it takes a couple of years to reach that, and they don't have anywhere near the bulk of boas & pythons, and they're extremely docile as adults if handled regularly (just don't handle them for a coupla days after feeding).
     
  8. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  9. strobe212

    strobe212 Embryo

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    thanks again axe. i have one last question. i bought her and shes amazing...but she doesnt want to eat, which i know is expected. how do i keep a pinky alive? im sure i should leave it water but what does it eat. should i leave the pinky in the tank or should i take it out and try again later?

    also...i have an UTH but it doesnt seem to work well, so i put a 100 Watt bulb ontop of the tank. should i turn the light off or is it okay to leave it on all the time? the cage is in my room, so would it make more sense to get a 100 watt red bulb for heat and use the light in my room to regulate the photoperiod?
     
  10. JEFFREH

    JEFFREH Administrator

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  11. Axe

    Axe Embryo

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    There's not really much you can do to keep one alive.. Basically the only thing you could give them is baby formula in an eye dropper...

    I'd leave the pinky in the enclosure. If it's still there in a couple of days, there's not much you can do.

    Yeah, turn the light off at night, they need a regular day night cycle. What I do for my leos, is use the red & purple night bulbs, and leave those on 24/7. You got it dead right, just use the ambient room lighting for the potoperiod, that's what I do with my leos & corns - although the corns don't get heat lights.
     
  12. strobe212

    strobe212 Embryo

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    axe....your money and u dont even know it.....thanks for everything.
    obviously...i have more questions if u have a chance (or anyone else!!!):

    1) i just bought the astroturf...when should i clean the tank and how do i clean both it and the astroturf?

    2) im back at home now, she survived the trip alright, but im sure shes stressed. i want to start handeling her but im not sure if i should wait a while or even how to start. any tips on easing her into getting comfortable with me and not snaping at me?
     
  13. Axe

    Axe Embryo

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    I wouldn't use astroturf... It looks ok, and you can hose it down, but it's hard to get right into all the lil nooks & crannies....

    I use paper towels on any new guys for a coupla months so I can keep an eye out for mites (you find them dead on the paper towels as they fall off the snake if it has mites), then I usually switch over to aspen, or reptile carpet - right now, all my snakes that are in racks & tubs are on paper towels, the ones in Neodeshas are on aspen.

    As far as cleaning the tank, I just use anti-bacterial liquid soap (the same stuff you use for washing pots in the sink) & water for mine. If a snake is moving into an enclosure that has previously had another snake in it, I also use betadine to make sure - or diluted bleach if the enclosure material can handle it...

    The astroturf you're going to have to soak & scrub in hot soapy water, then hose it off but it can still be tough to get poop off in between the plastic blades (I've also heard of snakes having problems on it too)...

    Paper towels, you obviously just throw out, reptile carpet you can just throw in the washing machine. We use the sink to loosen any poop, and once it's visibly as clean as I can get it, then it goes in the machine. I use a toothbrush to scrub the poop off (don't worry, it's a brush specifically bought for this purpose, lol).
     
  14. strobe212

    strobe212 Embryo

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    thanks...but how do i get her ready to be handeled and not bite me. any way to ease her into it without stressing here?
     
  15. Axe

    Axe Embryo

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    Well, you've just gotta pick her up, small amounts at a time. Hatchling biters will not hurt. I've had 6ft adult corns bite me on the back of the hand, and not even realised it til I saw the blood.

    Baby corn bites are nothing, the problem is if they're biters, they're usually pretty flighty, which isn't a great snake to have, it's a pain in the ass when you want to take them out and hold them and all they want to do is get away...

    Just pick it up, hold it, if it bites you DO NOT put it down. If you put it down straight away every time it bites you, it's going to learn that if it's had enough, it can bite you and you'll put it down, then you'll be getting bit every time it wants to go back in its cage.

    If you keep holding it when it bites, it'll learn that biting you is not gonna get it anywhere, and it will eventually get bored of doing it, and chill out.

    Like I said, even adult bites are nothing, so a hatchling bite you won't even feel unless it gets you right on the fingertips. Because fingertips are so sensitive, it feels like you've been jabbed by a very small sharp needle, and you don't even think about it 10 seconds later. So, it's no biggy to keep hold of them even if they're biting you.
     
  16. strobe212

    strobe212 Embryo

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    well i started holding her and the weirdest thing happened. i was holding her with white gloves. the reason is that i read online that its a good idea to hold here with cotton gloves wrapped in an old t-shirt b/c it retains my smell and prevents me from being bit. when i finished holding her she seemed more calm and use to my holding her. the weird thing is that she either vomited or deficated on the glove. she last ate on thursday; 1 pinkie. the substance was white and mucusy with black chunks in it (sorry to be so detailed). do u think this was b/c of stress, or is it normal?
     
  17. Axe

    Axe Embryo

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    well, the trick with the gloves/t-shirt is that the item of clothing retains your smell, as you said, but the idea is to keep that item of clothing inside the animal's cage. That way, the animal gets used to it, and recognises your scent when you take her out.

    Actually wearing the gloves, or wrapping your hands in a t-shirt isn't much different from picking it up just with your hands except that they realise they're not touching warm skin.

    As for the poop, it could just be that it got warm & relaxed enough in your hands to "let loose" :)
     
  18. strobe212

    strobe212 Embryo

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    well, its time to feed the snake, but i have a question. now that im home, the pet store doestn have live mice, so i need to feed her frozen mice.

    1) how do i thaw out the mouse? do i leave it there to thaw out (if so how long), or do i boil it (also how long)?

    2) if i feed it dead mice will there be a problem switching to live ones when i get back to school?

    3) if he doesnt eat it what can i do to get him to eat it.

    4) how long should the dead mouse be in the cage before it becomes spoiled?
     
  19. Axe

    Axe Embryo

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    Don't boil it, you don't want it cooked.

    What I do, is put them on a plate the night before in the fridge. That way they thaw out, but stay fresh. Then, the next day, depending on outside temps, I either put the plate in the back porch to warm up, or if it's cold, I leave it in the house - maybe pop it under a heat lamp for about 5 minutes (about 12" away from the lamp) just to warm it up a lil bit (our house usually stays around 70-75).

    You really don't want to get it used to live prey. All mine get frozen/thawed. Once the snake is older and eating larger mice, if you feed live, those mice can severely mutilate a snake if the snake isn't hungry at the time.

    If he doesn't eat it straight away, what I do for my juveniles is put them and the prey items in a shoe box, then put them in a cupboard overnight. If they still haven't eaten it in the morning, I put them back in their cage, throw out the mouse, then attempt to feed the following week - this is, of course, assuming they've been feeding good up until this point.

    The weight is the first sign of illness most of the time, so as long as the snake is not losing a lot of weight (say, more than 5% of its usual weight), I don't worry too much.

    A mouse will usually last about 24hrs after it's come out of the fridge in the cool end of an enclosure, sometimes it'll only last a few hours if it's right on top of a heatpad or under a heatlamp. Btw, I use no supplemental heating when I put the snakes in a tub overnight in the cupboard.

    I always feed mine in separate feeding tubs so as to help prevent the snake from developing a feeding response, and wanting to tag you every time you open up the cage, so this is something you might need to consider to prevent a snappy snake.
     
  20. strobe212

    strobe212 Embryo

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    thanks Axe...my problem is that my snake isnt snappy but flighty. every time i hold her she tries to get out of my hand. she slithers real fast and i need to keep changing hands to prevent her from falling...any thoughts as how to calm her down and get her comfortable with being held?

    as far as the seperate feeding container, i think thats a great idea. i have a tupperware container that should do it for her. i was thinking of putting her and the mouse in there (not forgetting to put holes in it). are u sure i shouldnt use the supplemental heat, cause its a bit cold by me. i was thinking of keeping the container in the cold end of the tank.

    last thing. i have a UTH and a 50 watt black light on all times. the thermometer says that its about 85* in the tank, but i find that the snake is always on the cold end, and never goes to the hot end. it might be cause shes new, she doesnt even know that the water bowl is there unless i put her in there to drink. do u think i should try to turn off the light?

    thanks again for all the help and happy holidays to everyone!!!
     
  21. IronButterFly

    IronButterFly Embryo

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    quick question

    Hey Axe...I know this is an old post but since I was reading it I might as well post.

    I'm new to the site and I had a quick question... Can you please put to rest an argument between friends that paper towels are much easier to clean up rather than reptile bark in the tank (20 gallon tank)... He is saying that reptile bark is a must because the snake can get under the paper towel like you stated before. I totally agree with that but he can also get under the bark.. Sorry to waste you time with something soridiculous :)
    My corn has lastest 18 months with papertowels I'm not going to change things now!
    I was reading in posts that you replied to which you say you use papertowels... How much does someone need to use in a 20 gallon tank?
    Thanks again
    Great site btw...
     
  22. Axe

    Axe Embryo

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    Oh yeah, I think paper towels are the best option.. It's not ridiculous at all :lol:

    I use paper towels on all new snakes for at least 3 months (to check for mites, easy to get poop samples that aren't contaminated if I need to take them to the vet's, etc.)

    Then I usually switch over to aspen for those in actual enclosures, but I stick with paper towels in rack tubs.

    In a 20g tank, I usually go 2 or 3 layers. It depends on the size of the snake, and how big their poops are, heh. Big splodgy poops can tear right through a single layer of lesser quality paper towel.
     

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