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Please don't over feed a corn snake!

Updated on November 16, 2010
This is my almost 3 year old male Amel Corn snake.  He has never been powerfed which leads to obesity and many health issues. He just moved to being fed every 14 days instead of every 10.
This is my almost 3 year old male Amel Corn snake. He has never been powerfed which leads to obesity and many health issues. He just moved to being fed every 14 days instead of every 10. | Source

Corn snakes should look like a loaf of bread.

 Anyone who loves snakes needs to learn the proper care for their charges BEFORE they buy them. It applies to any pet really but today I will focus on Corn Snakes because I breed them myself.

Many people see corn snakes as the throw away pet of the reptile world. They feel this way because of two reasons. 1. There are always so many available. 2. They are so cheap compared to other reptiles. It is a sad thing that people see them as "Throw Away" pets much as people view any kind of rodent.  These wonderful, intelligent and gentle snakes come in so many colors and have such interesting personalities! One only has to pay attention to their snake for 2 or 3 days to realize its not just a stupid decoration that has to be fed.

I think the biggest issue comes from the fact that too many people get their first corns as babies.  Babies need special care compared to an adult or even sub-adult. They need a smaller home to start, they need smaller feed and to be fed more often.  I find my hatchlings do much better if I do not handle them at all other than for feeding until they are one double pinks. What is double pinks you ask?

Here is the guide I use to feed my snakes.  It is lightly based off of the Munson Plan which can be found on cornsnakes.com/forums .

  • Snake up to 15 grams  gets one small pinky weighing 1-3 grams
  • Snake up to 25 grams gets 2 pinks weighing a total of 6 grams
  • Snake up to 50 grams gets a peach fuzzy (has a light fuss of fur, but not a full coat)
  • Snake up to 80 grams gets a Fuzzy (has a full coat of hair but eyes are shut)
  • Snake up to 125 grams gets one Hopper (still kinda small but eyes open)
  • Snake up to 175 grams gets one weanling (almost adult size and no longer nursing)
  • Snake 175 or up gets one regular adult (weighing less than 30 grams)

These are Mice only.  At this time I do not feed rats.  Corn snakes can only handle eating rats in the first 4 sizes on average. So I would have to have a Ball Python to take any bigger.  This feed schedule also has a timetable.

  • Being fed one pink eats every 5 days.
  • Being fed 2 pinks gets fed every 7 days.
  • Being fed 1 peach fuzzy gets fed every 7 days.
  • Being fed 1 fuzzy gets fed every 7 days.
  • Being fed 1 hopper gets fed every 7 days.
  • Being fed 1 weanling gets fed every 10 days.
  • Being fed 1 adult gets fed every 10 days until they reach 300 grams then they get fed every 14 days. 
  • If a snake begins to look round instead of like a loaf of bread (flat on the bottom, relatively flat on the sides and round on top) push back feeding 2 days more, for example if a snake on hoppers begins to look too fat either switch it to the next size or feed every 9 days instead of 7.  Which to do depends on the size of your snake.

It is best to invest in a scale that weighs in grams up to 10 lbs to track your snakes weight. By watching both their shape and their weight you can be sure your snake does not get grossly overweight which can lead to horrible illnesses, exuberant vet bills and eventually the untimely death of your snake.  Corns should live a minimum of 10 years, but have been known to live to be 20.  I believe the record is 26 years of age.

Feel free to post questions in the comments and I will post in response!

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    • profile image

      Smittythewhitty 16 months ago

      How much should a 3 yr old corn weigh

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      noa frauman 18 months ago

      My little girl, Pinky is now over 30yrs old. I'm 40 and got her when I was either 8 or 9.

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      Damion haylett 2 years ago

      I took a corn snake off a lad he said to feed him a pinky every 6 werks i new that was wrong my snake called smaug is nearly 6 foot long and he eats alarge mouse a week is that to much? DAMION HAYLETT frm GT YARMOUTH

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      dakota 2 years ago

      ,mine is at least 40 sum inches long, im about to feed him a good sized rat. I'll let y'all know How it goes

    • Lucens profile image

      Antoine 2 years ago from Malta

      Thanks for your help, sure if you like to post your pic mine now is

      170 grams , 80 cm long 1 year old Corn snake. Best regards,

      Lucens

    • profile image

      Terri Aldrete 2 years ago

      I have been told that my 2 yr old corn snake is over weight from a pic that a friend has seen of him. How do I know for sure he is over weight? He is 42 inches long and he eats 1 adult mouse once a week. I have a pic if you need one.

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      Elora 3 years ago

      What is the average circumferance of a full grown corn snake?

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      Carrie 3 years ago

      I'm reading it all and I'm so shocked nobody's said anything to you reptiles are funny things every snake is different. You'll realise when your snakes don't hit their 20s.

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      Carrie Ransom 3 years ago

      Please note power feeding is great for hatchlings over 3 months. It will not harm a growing baby snake. I promise..However slow down at a year unless a snake has recently become underweight in that case get one in after the first use the opportunity to get something in them.

      Every snake breeder in the book feeds every 10 days. Snakes don't eat on set days in the wild so use irratic feeding patterns from time to time giving them time to digest.

    • profile image

      Carrie Ransom 3 years ago

      Thought this was rather funny. Your encouraging people to underfeed their snakes. Every ten days is perfect cutting down on food in winter. I have two snakes she is seven eats every seven days and my baby two every four days upping the amount of food not the size. The picture you posted isn't over weight its a lovely healthy snake every two weeks he will be starving and if he stops eating (which most snakes do at some point) he won't have his fat reserve which he would instead use up. Plz take this awful post down as dim people will just believe you and there will be hungry snakes everywhere. I am a breeder listen to me.

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      Lucens 3 years ago

      Hi Debby,

      Thanks for your interest and advice, I will try it but a peach fuzzy is only 5 grams. May I ask you what are the intervals of shedding , mine is approx. every month .

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      Debby 3 years ago

      Hi Lucens,

      I have corn snake that is also 30 g and born in sept 2013. I feed her one froze/ thawed peach fuzzy a week and she seems very content after eating. I would go bigger at this point, rather than feeding her more pinkies.

    • Lucens profile image

      Antoine 3 years ago from Malta

      Hi, I have a 30grams Corn Snake, it was born end of Augast 2013 . I would like to know if I am making any demages to my snake on feeding him, he is eating 3 pinkies of 3 grames so 9 grams in total twise a week and he looks stil hungry. I think if I wil give him an other one he will be happy , what I shuold do ? what are the damage's or side effects he can have.

      Thanks,

      best regards.

      Lucens

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      Chris Howard 3 years ago

      I have just got a corn snake and she is 36inch long and age unknown and have just started her on adult mice but after feeding she seems to hide away for 12 or more at a time,is this normal ? Please help.

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      Dale 3 years ago

      I think I jus fed my snake a rat that was too big she's half way there wat can I do

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      John bullen 4 years ago

      Hi how you doing ? Ave got a corn snake what is 8weeks old gets fed every 5 days. he's just been fed and seems to be very active after his feed was wondering if this is normal?

    • profile image

      scott 4 years ago

      Hi I have a 1 year old corn snake I feed her one fluff a week an she weighs about 105 grams is that ok thanks she seems fine always up an down in her Viv seems happy

    • profile image

      Catherine Fink 4 years ago

      I have an almost 1 year old corn snake that was obtained by my son's animal science teacher who raised them from hatchlings. It was fed fuzzies when in his care and it did fine. I have had it two weeks and it has eaten 2 pinkies during that time and shed once. It is about 16 inches long now and I was wondering if it would be safe to start feeding it fuzzies (full coat of fur). I have two in my freezer but am hesitant as I'm not sure if they would be too large. I don't have a scale to weigh the snake or the fuzzy.

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      Allison 5 years ago

      My teenage sister just got a baby snow motley corn snake from Petsmart on July 16. According to Petsmart they had had him/her (not sure of actual gender) for about a month, so he is about 2 or 3 months old I'd assume. They were feeding him/her 1 frozen/thawed pinky every 7 days and said they tried feeding on saturdays AND tuesdays, but he would only eat on Saturdays. My sister decided to just continue feedings on Saturdays and to not even try Tuesdays as well. I take care of him a lot because she isn't around that much, so I'm wondering if I should up his feeding to Tuesdays as well as the usual Saturday feedings?! Or should he continue with 1 feeding/1 pinky every 7 days? Thanks for your help

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      Scott 5 years ago

      I have a 2 yr old corn who was under fed so he is undersize. How can I catch him up. He is not much bigger than a baby?