Creating a Home: Setting Up Corn Snake Enclosures in Florida


Corn snakes, also known as red ratsnakes, are popular pet reptiles due to their docile nature and vibrant color patterns. These non-venomous snakes can be found in various habitats throughout the southeastern United States, including Florida. If you are considering keeping a corn snake as a pet in Florida, it is essential to provide them with a suitable and comfortable enclosure. In this article, we will explore the ideal setup for corn snake enclosures in Florida and discuss important factors such as tank size, temperature, humidity, substrate, and decorations.

Choosing the Right Tank

When it comes to corn snake enclosures, the size of the tank or terrarium is crucial. Corn snakes are relatively inactive snakes and do not require excessively large enclosures. For hatchlings, a 10-gallon tank might suffice, while adults will need a larger space, such as a 40-gallon breeder tank. It is important to provide enough room for your corn snake to move around comfortably but avoid giving them a tank that is too large, as this can cause stress. Additionally, the tank should have secure and escape-proof lids to prevent the corn snake from escaping.

Temperature and Lighting

Creating the right temperature gradient is important for the overall health and well-being of your corn snake. In Florida, where the climate is generally warm, maintaining the appropriate temperature in the enclosure may be easier compared to colder regions. Corn snakes require a thermal gradient to regulate their body temperature. The warm side of the enclosure should have a temperature range of 80-85°F (27-29°C), while the cool side should be around 75-78°F (24-26°C). Using under-tank heating pads or heat lamps can help achieve these temperature ranges. It is crucial to use a reliable thermometer to monitor the temperature inside the enclosure accurately.

Lighting is another factor to consider when setting up a corn snake enclosure. While corn snakes do not require UVB lighting like some other reptiles, providing a regular day-night cycle can help regulate their biological clock. A natural lighting schedule of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness can be beneficial for the health and behavior of your corn snake.

Humidity and Water

Maintaining the right humidity level within the enclosure is important to ensure proper shedding for your corn snake. In Florida, where the climate is generally humid, achieving the ideal humidity level can be easier compared to drier regions. Corn snakes require a humidity level between 40% and 60%. This can be achieved by spraying the enclosure with water or using a reptile-friendly humidifier if necessary. It is important to avoid excessive humidity, as it can lead to respiratory problems for your corn snake.

A shallow water dish should be provided in the enclosure to allow your corn snake access to fresh water at all times. The water dish should be large enough for the snake to soak in if desired. It is important to clean and refill the water dish regularly to maintain hygienic conditions.


Choosing the right substrate for your corn snake enclosure is important for maintaining a clean and healthy environment. There are several suitable options for corn snake substrates, including aspen shavings, cypress mulch, or paper towels. Avoid using substrates such as sand or cedar chips, as they can cause health issues for your snake if ingested or inhaled.

The substrate should be kept clean and spot-cleaned regularly to remove any feces or soiled areas. It is also recommended to perform a complete substrate change every few months to prevent the buildup of bacteria and odors.

Decorations and Hiding Places

Providing enrichment and hiding places within the enclosure is essential for the mental and physical well-being of your corn snake. You can include various decorations and structures such as branches, rocks, and artificial plants to create a stimulating environment. These decorations should be securely placed to avoid any potential hazards for your snake.

Additionally, corn snakes require hiding places to feel secure and reduce stress. Hide boxes can be placed at both the warm and cool ends of the enclosure. These can be commercially available hide boxes or simple DIY options such as half logs or plastic containers with entrance holes. The size of the hide box should be appropriate for your corn snake to comfortably fit inside.

Feeding and Handling

In addition to providing an appropriate enclosure, it is important to understand proper feeding and handling techniques for your corn snake. Corn snakes are carnivorous and primarily feed on small rodents, such as mice and rats. In captivity, they can be fed thawed frozen rodents. The size of the prey should be appropriate for the size of your corn snake, with hatchlings typically starting with pinky mice and gradually increasing in size as they grow.

When it comes to handling your corn snake, it is important to approach them gently and confidently. Regular handling can help to socialize your snake and make them more comfortable with human interaction. However, it is important to avoid excessive handling, particularly during shedding or after feeding, as this can cause stress and potentially lead to regurgitation.


Setting up a suitable and comfortable enclosure for your corn snake is vital for their overall health and well-being. In Florida, where the climate is generally warm and humid, maintaining the ideal environmental conditions may be easier compared to other regions. By providing the appropriate tank size, temperature gradient, humidity level, substrate, and decorations, you can create a home that replicates the natural habitat of your corn snake. Regular care, feeding, and handling will ensure that your corn snake thrives in their new Florida home.