Basic care of a guttatus
For starters not everyone is well aware of the scientific name of these simple but amazing pet snakes, The Pantherophis guttatus/guttata, in English know as Corn snake, German Kornatter, Dutch Rattenslang or Korenslang.
These Snakes are quite easy to care for as they have an incredibly large living area in the wild, They originate from North America and are spread from the border regions of Canada to Middle America (Mexico). in this enormous area we can find all kinds of Eco systems where they thrive in, which tells us they don't have a specific requirement for temperature and moisture, I keep my animals on a seasonal set temperature ranging from 27 to 32 Celsius during the day and dropping to 18 to 25 during nighttime on the heated side of the terrariums. moisture levels are always varying but I try to keep them between 50 and 80% and offer the animals an water bowl in which they can bathe when they want to.
These Snakes are very active and have a curious character, they always come peeking when something is moving nearby and I recommend using a tank of at least the length of the snake itself as they will explore every cm of the cage daily and use different levels and climbing material as well when they have these available.
for an adult snake many salesmen recommended 80 or 100 cm wide tanks but I really recommend starting at 120×60×60 cm, this also makes it quite a lot easier to give some proper hiding spaces and achieve various temperature gradients inside.
as with every other animal I recommend housing the animals individually, there are no gains from housing them together, only risks, when wrongly sexed or one gets sick.
they will fight over dominance over the best spots to rest and heat up.
these snakes are usually not very picky on prey and feed well on rodents and small birds. I mainly use adult mice for my animals and ocassionally vary with small rats, hamsters, and other small rodents. I stay off Birds as the excretion is very very smelly when they eat these.
in my experience the interval for feeding is best on once about every 14 days for adult animals, and once a week for Juvenile animals up to about 2 years. be careful though, the animals tend to fatten up quite fast when fed too much, their form should be squared, not round!
Though many breeders try and achieve the weight bar of 300 gram females for breeding and hope to achieve this by two years I advice against this, the development of the body is far from complete by this age and it can bring a lot of risks and complications breeding this young!
my advice would be don't breed females below 3 years, it is even better to let them grow four years before starting as they will get much better eggs. weight is not a magical number and 300g is quite a small animal in my experience, I rather have females 450g and upwards but condition is critical with breeding if they are skinny they won't have much to transfer to the eggs and have an hard time recovering from laying them.
Males don't need a large size for breeding but a good condition is recommended. be careful with trying to pair young males as things occasionally get quite rough and it's not very rare to see damaged or ripped off hemipenis!
keep in mind that these snakes in captivity tend to give two nests from one pairing, approximately 55 to 65 days apart.
After being paired and having had their ovulation shed I give the females a box filled with moist sphagnum moss and most females gladly use them to burrow in and lay their eggs. they usually do this overnight and the amount of eggs vary from 5 up to 30 though I have an average number of 14 eggs per laying.
incubation of the eggs is quite simple as well, I have a small refrigerator sized cabinet with near airtight doors (don't make it fully airtight, air needs to stay fresh) in which I can keep a near stable temperature of 29C (you can vary from 26 to 32 degrees which will affect the incubation time) this temperature has led to the best results in my experience they incubate in about 60 to 65 days after laying. moisture levels need to be kept over 70% I achieve this with a bottom tray filled with water over which I have rosters with the tubs (with perforated lids). if you fasten the incubation by increasing the temp I experienced more issues with development in the egg and having more troubles with starting feeding.