Corn snakes are popular pets because they can grow to large sizes, are fairly common (and therefore inexpensive) and they’re docile. It can be enjoyable to handle them and care for them, plus they’re cool to look at and are just beautiful animals. Caring for a corn snake does require a good terrarium, though. In this article we’ll look at some of the best enclosures for corn snakes.
They come in a many different color morphs and are an excellent snake for beginners to care for, because they’re hardy and easy-going. Corn snakes are also native to the southeastern US, where they’re commonly found on farms, drawn there (presumably) by the large rodent populations.
With all that being said, let’s look a these snake enclosures.
Here are 5 of the best enclosures for corn snakes
1. REPTIZOO Large Reptile Terrarium
- Front opening sliding doors make feeding/cleaning easy
- Raised bottom frame for substrate heater
- Window ventilation on left side
- Mesh screen roof provides additional ventilation
- Big enough for fully grown corn snakes
The standard rule with snakes is that the perimeter of their tank should be at least double the length of the snake. Corn snakes can grow up to six feet in length, which means eventually you’re going to need a tank with a 12-foot perimeter, like this one. It’s true that not all corn snakes will reach 6 feet in length, but it’s also true that the double-the-length rule is a minimum tank size, and bigger is usually better.
This tank will provide your snake with plenty of space. It’s also thoughtfully designed to make caring for the snake as easy as possible. The front-opening doors make it much easier to access the tank for feeding or cleaning, and it has ample ventilation to keep the air fresh and the humidity levels correct.
2. REPTIZOO Reptile Glass Terrarium
- Metal top screen ventilation
- Window ventilation on both sides
- Front-opening tank doors
- Watertight bottom
Slightly smaller than the Large Reptile Terrarium, this tank is still suitable for most corn snakes, because it’s still a large terrarium with plenty of room. One great thing about REPTIZOO tanks is that they’re designed to be nearly impossible for your snakes to escape from.
The doors have a sturdy lock on them, and simply be being able to access the tank from the front or the top you make it harder for your snake to get out, because you can choose how to access the tank based on their position within it. The raised bottom frame makes it easy to fit a substrate heater in underneath it, which is a nice touch as well.
3. Zilla Reptile Starter Kit
Best starter tank
- 360 degree view of interior
- Comes with everything you need to get started
- Separate day and night time heat lamps
- Easy to clean
- Made in the USA
If this will be your first time keeping a corn snake, this is the tank for you. It’s small, affordable, and includes two different heat lamps- one for day time and one for night time. The day lamp provides both heat and light, while the night lamp only heats, and produces no light.
This is a small tank that isn’t suitable for fully grown corn snakes, but if you’re just starting out you probably are better off with younger, smaller snakes anyway. Once they’ve outgrown this tank and you buy them a bigger one you can always keep this one around for small snakes or other small exotics.
4. Exo Terra 24 x 18 x 18 Terrarium
- Window ventilation
- Raised bottom frame for substrate heater
- Waterproof bottom
- Front opening doors
- Simulated rock background
Exo Terra makes a broad range of terrariums, and all of them are well-built, high quality products. This tank has a roughly 7 foot perimeter, which means any snake that’s 3.5 feet long or smaller will be comfortable here. This enclosure is fairly tall, which means you can put features in it that will let the snake climb.
Front opening doors are great and the simulated rock background is also nice. The closable inlets for cables and tubing are a standout feature, too. This terrarium is an excellent choice for young snakes, and many of them may never outgrow it.
Best for: housing a mid-sized snake
5. Exo Terra Outback
- Front opening doors
- Front window ventilation
- Limited edition hand-painted background
- Stainless steel mesh cover
This terrarium comes with a beautiful hand-painted background that evokes the Australian Outback. While corn snakes aren’t Australian, it still looks great! Exo Terra isn’t just a pretty product, though. This manufacturer makes some of the best terrariums on the market, and this is no exception.
The front-opening doors, exceptional ventilation, and build quality all set this terrarium apart from the competition. The only reason this isn’t the best overall terrarium is it’s size: it’s only big enough for young snakes.
Best for: Housing young snakes
5 things to look for when buying a Corn Snake enclosure
1. Enclosure size
Enclosure size is hugely important. Your snake will live it’s entire life in it’s enclosure. The enclosure is it’s world. The rule of thumb is that the minimum tank size is a tank with a perimeter twice as long as the snake. So, a 4 foot snake needs a tank with an 8 foot perimeter.
You may hear some keepers saying that corn snakes don’t like bigger tanks, because the wide open space intimidates them. Frankly, that belief is simply the result of bad snake keeping. Corn snakes don’t like to be exposed out in the open, but they do like having plenty of space.
So, you want a big tank that you can fill with hides and plants for your snake so they’ll have plenty of room but also plenty of places to hide and explore. Corn snakes have a wide range of body length as full grown adults. Some individuals will never get longer than about two feet, but 5 to 6 foot adults are very common.
That’s why it’s best to just go ahead and get a tank with a 12 foot perimeter. Your snake will, in all likelihood, end up needing the space. And if they never get bigger than two feet, they’ll still appreciate having that big tank to live in.
You have to be able to access the inside of the terrarium. Your snake needs to be fed, of course. But you also have to keep the terrarium clean. You’ll be accessing the terrarium at least a couple of times a week, so you need to think about how you want to do that.
Almost all terrariums come with a screen mesh top that can be removed. This is the most common means of accessing the terrarium, and it’s popular because it’s harder for most animals to escape through the open top of the terrarium than through a door in the front.
Snakes can climb, though. And an adult corn snake may not even need to climb to reach it’s body over the top edge of the tank with the lid off. Feeding ports built into the screen help mitigate that risk somewhat, but front-opening doors are really ideal. These give you a second way to access the tank, and many people find it easier to prevent escape this way.
The terrarium needs to be cleaned and disinfected regularly. The substrate needs to be completely replaced regularly- remember there’s no plumbing in there, so when your snake defecates or urinates, it’s doing it right in the substrate. Completely removing the substrate, cleaning the glass, and replacing it with fresh substrate once a week or so will help keep your snake happy and healthy.
That means you should pick a terrarium that has easy access to the interior, and always buy glass terrariums, not plastic.
Since your terrarium will spend its entire life in this enclosure, you want to be sure you’re giving it the best possible home. Plus, you probably want a terrarium that you can use for years to come, since they’re not exactly cheap.
Look for trusted manufacturers, and especially ones that consult herpetologists on the design. These will be the best terrariums to buy.
Good terrariums aren’t cheap. They’re made of glass, they’re heavy, and they have lots of interesting design features. They’re also built to last, which means the manufacturer has to make more money from each sale.
Of course, you have to be realistic with what you can afford. There are quality terrariums out there for less than $100, and if you need something cheaper you can always buy a small glass or plastic terrarium that a small, young snake can live in until it grows bigger and save your money for when the time comes to upgrade the terrarium.
Corn Snake supplies you’ll need for the enclosure
Here’s a quick list of the main items you’ll need to have for a proper corn snake setup.
- Substrate – 3-4 inches of substrate at the bottom is necessary. Reptile mats are fine, and this coconut based substrate works well
- Water dish – snakes need to drink, and they also sometimes enjoy soaking in the water to cool off. You need a dish like this one that they drink from without risking drowning.
- Substrate heater and heat lamp – The terrarium needs to be kept between 70-90 degrees. A substrate heater is one of the best ways to do that, and heating lamps are good too. Just remember you need a temperature gradient- one side of the tank should always bee cooler, and one side should have a basking spot at about 90 degrees. You’ll need a heat lamp for the basking spot, and a substrate heater to maintain comfortable temperatures.
- Thermometer– The only way to know if the climate inside the tank is right for your snake is with a thermometer. This one is great.
- Plants to climb – Since corn snakes like to climb, you need to provide an environment in which they can do that. Something like this would work nicely.
Corn Snakes make great pets, and housing them is fairly easy. All you need is a simple glass terrarium and a few other easy to find items and you’re good to go.
The REPTIZOO Large Terrarium is the ideal enclosure for your corn snake, and it’s sure to last a long time. It will provide your snake with plenty of space, while allowing for easy viewing and maintenance.