In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How long can a cordon snake go without eating? We speak in detail about a corn snake’s diet, their digestion and feeding needs. We also present to you interesting facts and characteristics of the corn snake, it’s behaviour in nature and in captivity.
How long can a corn snake go without eating?
Corn snakes can go for several weeks without eating. Snakes can reduce their metabolic rate by 70%, allowing them to conserve energy for extended periods while growing.
Corn snakes are rarely picky eaters, but may refuse to eat due to being pregnant (carrying eggs), moulting, having a disease or being mishandled. Corn snakes also like their food hot and will reject their prey if it is not thawed properly or if it is served too cold.
A corn snake’s diet
A corn snake’s diet consists primarily of rodents, although they also occasionally indulge in frogs, eggs, and lizards.
The newborn will eat pinky mice, while the adult will eat giant mice. Most snake breeders recommend that captive snakes receive frozen/thawed mice, but with breeding, you may have to train them to eat a frozen mouse.
This means that you should be prepared to feed a live newborn mouse to your new snake. The hatching corn snake can be easily stressed and may not find thawed pinky mice attractive.
To train the hatchling to eat thawed pinkies, you place the hatchling and the thawed mouse in an empty plastic container with a lid. The lid should have drilled air holes.
To make the pinkie more appetizing for brood, first thaw it, and then heat it in hot water, so that the pinky reaches room temperature. This will also help make the prey’s scent much stronger and more intriguing.
To promote faster digestion, you can also cut the skin of the little finger. This, in turn, will also increase the smell of the prey.
The hatch will eat every five days while the adult will eat once every ten days. They rarely reject food, but corn snakes can survive for weeks without food.
A captive corn snake should be fed a diet consisting of captive-bred prey. Rodents, birds, and lizards can carry parasites, transferring them to the snake as it digests them.
You should only feed your snake prey that has been frozen and thawed. Freezing will kill any parasites and protect your snake from harmful toxins. Some pathogens and diseases can be transmitted from nature to the snake, despite freezing before feeding, so captive breeding of prey is strongly recommended.
What size of prey should a corn snake be given?
You should feed them prey that is less than twice the diameter of the average body circumference. The first time you feed your new snake, you need to make sure that the prey is even smaller. The prey should be half the size of your usual prey.
Since the snake is stressed by its surroundings, as well as being handled by a new person, giving its prey corn which is much smaller will help prevent it from regurgitating its food.
Prevention of regurgitation of meals
In the event that your snake regurgitates its dinner, you will need to feed them smaller rodents for the next one or two meals.
After regurgitation, feed the snake a post-regurgitation meal seven days later. Corn can take a long time to replenish any stomach acid that has been lost due to vomiting and regurgitation. You will want to give them smaller pieces for their post-regurgitation meal.
If you feed it too early, it can lead to serious illness or death from a lack of stomach acid.
How long does it take for a corn snake to digest food?
If your snake lives in an ideal setting with the optimal temperature and humidity level, digestion should be complete in 48 to 72 hours.
Live Prey vs. Frozen Food
Most experienced snake owners feed their prey life, but doing so carries many risks. If you are a beginner, you should feed your pre-killed mice snakes. Since pinkies have no teeth and their claws are soft, living pinkies do not pose a risk to the young.
Corn snake drinking water
While it is true that snakes get much of their water from their prey, they do drink water as well, although seeing your snake drink the water will be a rarity. The snake’s water bowl will also work to add moisture to its surroundings. Always provide a large, shallow bowl of fresh water in your snake’s terrarium, changing it daily.
Corn snakes also like to bathe in water.
More about the corn snake
The corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus) is a non-venomous North American snake, as it kills its prey by constriction. It has become one of the most popular domestic snakes, as it has dozens of mutations.
Like other snakes, it is one of the types of snakes that is not dangerous to man and it is very beneficial in controlling vole pests that besiege crops, as well as other species such as the owl.
The name of this snake comes from the fact that it is closely related to corn plantations, although some say it is because of the yellowish pattern on its belly. And it is that this species usually look for rodents in these fields and use the corn stores as a refuge.
Characteristics of the corn snake
An adult corn snake can reach up to two meters and live for more than 20 years in captivity, although in the wild they usually live three times less, like most animal species.
As for their reproduction, they are snakes that easily breed in captivity, which is why they have been very successful as pets. Their reproduction begins in winter, so the conditions of the terrarium are usually modified so that they are aware of the time.
The corn snake lays between one and two dozen eggs, which they deposit in a warm and hidden area since they do not incubate the eggs. They are eggs with a flexible shell that the small snakes that hatch inside must break with a specialized scale.
The behaviour of the corn snake
Like all snakes, the corn snake is a carnivorous animal that consumes mainly small rodents, although it can also feed on the eggs of birds, reptiles or amphibians.
This animal stands out for its olfactory ability in terms of the senses of snakes, although it does not have thermal pits. As with other snakes, the corn snake exhibits defensive behaviours such as tail vibrations.
The habitat of the corn snake
As we already mentioned, the corn snake in the wild prefers arable fields as a hunting ground and abandoned or low-activity buildings like warehouses or farms.
Given the breadth of their territory, their behaviour varies depending on the region, and in colder areas, they hibernate for four months, while in warm areas they simply take advantage of the shelters and reduce their activity.
The corn snake in captivity
For years they have been selected to have different colours, thanks to the multitude of dominant and recessive genes that influence the patterns of the skin of these animals.
There are dozens of mutations, from different patterns such as stripes or zigzag to various colours such as black, white or even purple, even hybrids with other species or mutations without scales.
Their calm temperament and small size have allowed them to become popular as pets and, although they are one of the simplest snakes to keep in captivity, it must be remembered that they need entire prey such as rodents to feed, making them a complicated pet.
You will need a terrarium of at least 90 litres if you have a snake at the home of this species, which will have to be expanded if you have several snakes. It also requires a suitable substrate such as poplar bark, with several shelters.
Are corn snakes good pets?
Each snake is unique. Some snakes don’t mind being handled; others are more likely to bite due to their temper or to be handled excessively. Of course, other captive snakes are meant to be admired from afar. Some species of snakes make better pets than others.
The corn snake is a good reptile if you want to have a new pet snake. These snakes have seen an increase in popularity over the years because they are low-maintenance and docile. They are not poisonous, so you are not in danger if they bite you.
FAQ on How long can a corn snake go without eating?
How long can a corn snake go without eating before dying?
A corn snake can go without eating up to 2 or 3 months before dying. Your snake stopping to eat should not worry you too much, as it is common for snakes to stop eating for months, especially in wintertime.
Why is my corn snake not eating?
Your corn snake may not be eating because it does not recognize its food as prey, or it is stressed or ill.
How often do you need to feed a corn snake?
You need to feed an adult corn snake every 7-10 days. Baby corn snakes may be fed every 5 to 7 days.
How do I know if my corn snake is dying?
You will know that your corn snake is dying if it loses significant weight, it is lethargic and has no appetite.
How can you tell how old a corn snake is?
You can tell how old a corn snake is by measuring it. The longer, the older.
In this blog post, we answered the following question: How long can a cordon snake go without eating? We spoke in detail about a corn snake’s diet, their digestion and feeding needs. We also presented to you interesting facts and characteristics of the corn snake, it’s behaviour in nature and in captivity.
Corn snakes can go for several weeks without eating. Snakes can reduce their metabolic rate by 70%, allowing them to conserve energy for extended periods while growing. A corn snake’s diet consists primarily of rodents, although they also occasionally indulge in frogs, eggs, and lizards.
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