Corn snakes, also known as red rat snakes, are a popular pet snake among reptile keepers. They come in a variety of colors and morphs and are relatively easy to care for. Corn snakes make good pets because they are docile, non-venomous, and can live up to 15 years with proper care. The cost of owning a corn snake can vary greatly depending on the type of snake, morph, and where you buy it.
Bringing Home a New Corn Snake: One-Time Costs
The cost of a pet corn snake can range from roughly $30 to over $200. Typically, the cheaper snakes are wild-caught or not as colorful and unique. Morphs (genetically altered color and pattern variations) tend to be more expensive due to their rarity. Baby corn snakes are usually a few inches in length and weigh around 40-60 grams. You can also find older, adult snakes for sale, which will cost more than babies but have a better chance of adapting to captivity.
In addition to the snake itself, there are other one-time costs you should consider when bringing home a corn snake. First and foremost is a secure enclosure. A 20-gallon tank is generally recommended for adult corn snakes and should cost around $30-$50. You will also need substrate, such as cypress mulch or paper towels, that costs about $10. A bowl of water, a hide box, and some climbing branches can be found in most pet stores for just a few dollars each.
You may be hard-pressed to find a corn snake for free, unless someone is just giving one away. You can check social media groups, neighborhood postings, and other outlets for someone that may be giving their corn snake away just because they can’t care for them or didn’t know what they were getting into.
If you decide to adopt a corn snake from a rescue or rehabilitation center, the cost will be much less than buying one from a pet store. These centers usually have many different types of snakes available for adoption. The fee is often minimal and covers basic supplies such as food and water bowls. Additionally, most rescues offer ongoing support and advice to new owners.
If you are looking for a rare morph or have specific requirements, buying from a breeder may be your best bet. Breeders often specialize in certain colors and morphs of corn snakes and can provide valuable advice regarding care and feeding. Prices from breeders vary greatly depending on the rarity of the snake, but can range from $50 to over $1,000. Just make sure to research breeders thoroughly to find one that is reputable and breeds healthy animals.
Initial Setup and Supplies
The initial cost of setting up a corn snake habitat can vary depending on the type and size of the enclosure, as well as any additional supplies (lighting, heating, decorations, etc.) you may need. A basic 20-gallon tank setup with substrate, water bowl, hide box, and climbing branches typically costs between $50 and $100. Heating and lighting equipment can add an additional $50-$150 to your setup costs, depending on the type and size of the enclosure you purchase. You can check out secondhand shops and online marketplaces for some of the equipment in order to get a cheaper price.
List of Corn Snake Care Supplies and Costs
When bringing home a new corn snake, there are several supplies and items that need to be purchased.
|Tank (20 gallon)
|$10-$20 per month
How Much Does a Corn Snake Cost Per Month?
The monthly cost for a pet corn snake varies depending on the type of snake and where it was purchased. Generally, the costs associated with feeding and maintaining your pet will range from $30 to $50 per month. This includes food such as feeder mice or rats, as well as any supplies or items needed to care for the snake, such as a habitat and bedding. You also have to figure in health care, which can cost hundreds of dollars, although this may not be a monthly recurring cost.
$0-$200+ per month
In addition to the general costs associated with feeding and maintaining a pet corn snake, you should also consider any potential health care costs. In most cases, corn snakes do not require additional veterinary care beyond periodic health checks. However, if your snake becomes ill or injured, you may need to take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. This can cost anywhere from $50 to over $200 depending on the type of care required. Additionally, purchasing a health guarantee or insurance policy for your pet may be beneficial in case of emergency medical costs.
$10-$20 per month
The cost of food for a pet corn snake will vary depending on the size and type of snake. Generally, adult corn snakes need to eat one or two feeder mice or rats each week, costing an average of $10-$20 per month. Live prey should always be purchased from a reputable supplier to ensure that the animals are healthy, and it is often cheaper to purchase in bulk. Frozen feeder mice and rats are also available for an even lower cost, although these should not be used as a regular substitute for live food.
$0-$20 per month
Corn snakes typically do not need much in the way of grooming, as they already have built-in mechanisms for shedding their skin and keeping clean. However, you may need to provide additional help in some cases, such as providing a warm bath or cleaning the tank. This usually does not require any additional supplies beyond what is needed for regular care, but it should still be taken into account when budgeting for your pet.
Medications and Vet Visits
$50-$100+ per month
In addition to the general costs of caring for a pet corn snake, you should also consider any potential medical costs. Most corn snakes do not require additional veterinary care beyond periodic health checks. However, if your snake becomes ill or injured, you may need to take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment which can cost anywhere from $50 to over $100.
$10-$20+ per month
Additionally, purchasing a health guarantee or insurance policy for your pet may be beneficial in case of emergency medical costs. It is important to research the cost of any medications that may be needed and factor them into your budget when planning for your pet corn snake. Currently, Nationwide is the only insurance provider that offers coverage for pet snakes. Insurance costs will vary depending on where you live but tend to cost an average of $20 per month at most.
$10-$30+ per month
You may also need to consider additional costs associated with updating or replacing supplies. Over time, substrate and bedding can become soiled or contaminated and will need to be replaced periodically. Additionally, tanks and water bowls may need to be cleaned or replaced to ensure your snake’s health and safety. These costs are usually minimal, but it is a good idea to budget for them when calculating the cost of owning a pet corn snake. Finally, if you choose to purchase additional items such as new habitats or décor for your tank, these should also be taken into account when budgeting for your pet.
$0-$20+ per month
Corn snakes are active and curious animals, so it is important to provide them with plenty of opportunities for enrichment and stimulation. This can include adding new items to their tank such as branches, rocks, or hide boxes to help keep them entertained. Additionally, you should provide your pet with regular handling sessions and time outside of the tank to explore and interact with their environment. These activities are typically free, but they can provide hours of stimulation and enrichment for your pet corn snake.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Corn Snake
$20-$250+ per month
Generally speaking, however, a typical corn snake setup can cost anywhere from $10 to $250 per month depending on food, supplies, and additional costs for maintenance or vet visits. While this may seem like a significant expense, it is important to remember that the cost of owning a pet corn snake can be much lower than other types of pets.
Additional Costs to Factor In
In addition to the initial cost of setting up a tank for your pet corn snake, there are also some additional costs that should be taken into account. One of the biggest concerns is caring for your pet in the event that you go out of town. It’s important to find a reputable pet sitter that has experience with reptiles. Costs can vary depending on whether you use a family member or a pet sitter service.
Owning a Corn Snake on a Budget
Owning a pet corn snake can be an affordable and rewarding experience if you plan accordingly. As long as you take the time to research all of the costs associated with caring for your pet, budget accordingly, and provide plenty of enrichment opportunities, you can ensure that your pet is well taken care of while still staying within your budget. All in all, a corn snake can make an excellent pet for those looking for an affordable and interactive companion.
Saving Money on Corn Snake Care
When budgeting for your pet corn snake, there are a few ways to save money. One of the easiest ways is to purchase supplies in bulk, as this can often result in significant savings. Additionally, you may be able to find discounted items such as tanks or décor at local pet stores, online retailers, or secondhand shops. Finally, many pet owners choose to make their own decorations and hide boxes, which can be a great way to save money and provide your pet with additional enrichment opportunities. From researching all of the costs associated with caring for your pet to finding ways to save money on supplies, there are plenty of ways to keep the cost of owning a corn snake within budget.
Other Corn Snake FAQs
Q: Are corn snakes poisonous?
A: No, corn snakes are not poisonous. They are non-venomous and completely harmless to humans.
Q: Can I keep a corn snake with other pets?
A: While corn snakes can be housed together in the same tank, it is not recommended that they be kept with other types of pets such as cats or dogs. Corn snakes should only be kept with other corn snakes for safety reasons.
Q: How often should I feed my pet corn snake?
A: The frequency of feeding your pet corn snake will vary depending on the type, size, and age of the snake. Generally speaking, adult corn snakes should be fed every 5-7 days. Additionally, you may want to provide freshly killed rodents for an occasional treat.
Q: What is the lifespan of a corn snake?
A: The average life expectancy of a corn snake is between 10-20 years, although some may live longer. With proper care and nutrition, your pet corn snake can enjoy a long and healthy life.
Overall, owning a pet corn snake can be an affordable and rewarding experience with proper planning and budgeting. Taking the time to research all of the costs associated with caring for your pet, as well as finding ways to save money on supplies and enrichment items, is key to ensure that you can provide your pet with everything they need while staying within your budget. With the right preparation and dedication, owning a pet corn snake can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for both you and your pet.
Featured Image Credit: Kurit afshen, Shutterstock