What Do Corn Snakes Eat – What Can Corn Snake Eat and How Often

What Do Corn Snakes Eat

To keep your corn snake healthy and happy, you need to know the answers to these questions. 

The corn snake is a constrictor snake that has become a common domesticated species. Their calm demeanor, attractive looks, and more manageable size make them ideal for people new to snake ownership as pets. 

In terms of size, corn snakes typically reach between 2 to 6 feet in length when fully grown. Some exceptional specimens may get even larger. Their lifespan in the wild is approximately 15 – 20 years, but corn snakes can live even longer when kept as pets with proper care and feeding.

When it comes to habitat, corn snakes are very adaptable. They can thrive in overgrown fields, forest openings, prairies, as well as around barns or abandoned buildings where rodents may be found.

What Do Corn Snakes Eat?

What Can Corn Snake Eat
What Can Corn Snake Eat

As juvenile hatchlings, baby corn snakes will first eat small pinky mice or pieces of pinky mice. They need food that is small enough for their tiny mouths and digestive systems.

Once they begin growing, juvenile corn snakes will graduate to eating mice fuzzies – young, fuzzy mice that are larger than pinkies but still quite small.

Adult corn snakes will eat adult mice, or sometimes multiple mouse hoppers fit for their mouth size. Mice and rats should make up about 75% of a captive adult corn snake’s diet.

However, rodents like mice, rats, and gerbils contain the best nutritional profile. Snakes may need supplemental calcium and vitamins depending on their growth needs and diet.

The key is providing your corn snake with appropriately sized, high protein prey animals or meat-based foods to mimic their natural carnivorous diet. Variety and gut loading/dusting prey items with nutrients is also important.

What Can Corn Snake Eat in the Wild

What Can Corn Snake Eat in the Wild
What Can Corn Snake Eat in the Wild

In the wild corn snakes eat mice and rats, these likely make up the biggest proportion of a corn snake’s wild diet.

As effective constrictors, corn snakes can kill and consume rodents with ease to meet their nutritional needs.

The snake’s jaw structure and body size contains their wild prey to these smaller animals. This gives clues for structuring their captivity diets for health.

What Do Corn Snakes Eat as Pets?

What Do Corn Snakes Eat as Pets?
Corn Snake Diet in Captivity

Corn snakes as a pet can eat whole prey items like chicks, quail and their eggs on occasion too in captivity.

Pet corn snakes have slightly different dietary staples than their wild counterparts. There are optimal feeder animals and feeding techniques to keep pet corn snakes healthy and content in their enclosures. As responsible reptile owners, we must mimic their natural nutrition and behaviors as closely as possible.

When feeding pet corn snakes, frozen/thawed mice make up the bulk of a balanced diet. Look for appropriately sized mice to correlate with your snake’s body mass and age. Most adult corn snakes can eat adult mouse feeders as their mice-of-choice. Some larger individuals can take small rats or rat pups as well. Live rodents should be avoided as feeders due to safety concerns and nutrition retention in frozen prey.

Though corn snakes specialize in hunting small mammals for sustenance, in captivity they can eat other whole prey items like chicks, quail and their eggs on occasion too. Hard boiled eggs also offer recreational snacking. Just don’t overdo it on the variety – mice feeds should comprise 75% or more of total diet. Supplements are likely unnecessary if feeding complete whole prey.

By tailoring your corn snake’s meals to their age and size, monitoring their weight, and providing proper feeds plus clean water, your pet snake will thrive. Consult an exotics vet if health issues related to nutrition or husbandry arise.

What Do Baby Corn Snakes Eat?

What Do Baby Corn Snakes Eat?
Baby Corn Snake Diet

Baby corn snakes eat small, easy-to-digest prey items that are rich in nutrients. Proper nutrition is critical for rapidly growing baby corn snakes, but their tiny bodies can’t start out eating the same feeders as adults.

Newly hatched corn snakes emerge from eggs at just 8 to 13 inches in length.

At first, they require extremely small prey that matches their highly localized metabolism and digestive capabilities. Newborn pinky mice are the staple food source, though the pinkies must get chopped into pieces to allow the hatchling’s small mouth and body to ingest and break down the meal through digestion.

After roughly a month of growth on chopped pinky bits, juvenile corn snakes reach adequate length and strength to consume a whole pinky mouse at each feeding session. The snakes should reach around 6 inches now. Within another month or two, “fuzzy” mice take the place of pinkies as the prey of choice, as juvenile snakes tend to hit a rapid stage of development between 1 to 2 months old.

By 3 to 6 months old, the young snakes grow large and robust enough to step up to slightly larger “hopper” mice for feedings every 5 days. One or sometimes two hoppers can sustain their nutritive needs.

Waxworms are the larvae of the wax moth and are high in fat and protein. They are a good source of nutrients for baby corn snakes, but should be given in moderation as they are high in fat.

Crickets are also a good source of protein and can be fed to baby corn snakes, but they should be dusted with a calcium supplement to ensure proper nutrition.

How Often Do Corn Snakes Eat?

How Often Do Corn Snakes Eat
How Often Do Corn Snakes Eat

Corn snakes are generally healthy and active, and they eat about once or twice a week. The feeding frequency for corn snakes varies depending on the age and size of the snake.

Hatchling and newborn baby corn snakes have remarkably fast metabolisms. They require small but frequent feedings about 5-7 days per week in order to grow and thrive. At this stage, owners should provide appropriately sized meals like pinky mice that are easy for a tiny hatchling to digest.

Baby corn snakes may need to eat more frequently, about every 5 to 7 days, until they reach maturity at around 18 months old. As the juvenile snake increases in length rapidly during the first few months of life, feeding schedules should adapt accordingly.

Around 3 months old, healthy corn snakes can shift to eat one properly-sized rodent meal every 5 days now that they are larger. Key appropriate prey size upgrades to fuzzies, hoppers, or mouse cubs to fuel their activity levels and cell growth.

Once a corn snake reaches adulthood at 1 to 2 years old, their feeding needs plateau compared to juveniles. The adult snakes’ slower metabolic rates and cell turnover cycles mean they do fine with rodent-based meals just once every 7-10 days.

This weekly feeding cadence aligns with the natural cycles of hunting in the wild to satiate their hunger. Adult corn snakes readily eat nicely sized adult mouse or rat feeders.

Shedding cycles can temporarily suppress appetite and hunting behaviors for short periods spanning a week or two.

Don’t force feed during this time. Otherwise, use age and body size as a guide for calibrating appropriate corn snake feeding frequency and prey dimensions.

Top 10 Foods Corn Snakes Eat

Here is a ranked list of the top 10 foods that corn snakes eat:

  1. Mice – Frozen/thawed feeder mice of varying sizes make up the majority of a pet corn snake’s diet. They offer complete nutrition.
  2. Rats – Some larger adult corn snakes can eat small rats or rat pups as convenient rodent prey.
  3. Lizards – Small skinks or anoles supplement wild diets when available.
  4. Frogs & Toads – Tiny tree frogs, toads, or other amphibians found in their habitat.
  5. Birds – Nestling birds, eggs from ground nests or songbird nests in shrubs/trees.
  6. Quail & Chicks – Captive corn snakes can eat farm-raised chicks or quail.
  7. Insects – Beetles, crickets, grasshoppers and other larger insects may be eaten.
  8. Eggs – Hard boiled eggs or eggs from chicken, quail or other fowl. Good occasional snack.
  9. Fish – Some keepers offer vitamin-rich feeder fish, though not all snakes take to them.
  10. Chicken, Beef, Turkey – Pre-killed meat bits can add variety but lack bone/organ nutrients.

Focus feeds on pre-killed rodents, but selectively incorporate other whole prey items for dietary flexibility that mimics wild feeding habits. Dusting prey in supplements can help cover nutritional bases too.

Corn Snake Feeding Chart

Feeding a corn snake involves providing appropriately sized prey items at regular intervals, taking into consideration the snake’s age and size.

Here is a general feeding chart for corn snakes:

Corn Snake Feeding Chart
Corn Snake Feeding Chart

Hatchling Corn Snakes:

  • Less than 6 months old
  • Feed 1/2 pinky mouse, chopped
  • Feed 5-7 times per week

Juvenile Corn Snakes:

  • 6 months – 1 year old
  • Length: 20” – 30”
  • Feed 1 pinky OR fuzzy mouse
  • Feed every 5 days

Sub Adult Corn Snakes:

  • 1-2 years old
  • Length: 30” – 40”
  • Feed 1-2 hopper mice
  • Feed every 7 days

Adult Corn Snakes:

  • 2+ years old
  • Length: 40” – 72”
  • Feed 1 adult mouse or rat pup
  • Feed 7-10 days

Adjust mouse/rat type and sizes to best match the snake’s width and length as they grow. Monitor weight as well. The feeding frequency declines from multiple times a week to weekly from birth through adulthood.

Predators That Eat Corn Snakes?

Corn snakes face predation threats from a variety of animals in their natural habitats. Some of their most common predators include:

  1. Birds of Prey – Hawks, eagles, owls, and other raptors will prey upon both young and adult corn snakes if given the opportunity.
  2. Wild Cats – Bobcats, lynx, cougars, and even domestic cats can stalk and kill corn snakes.
  3. Foxes – Foxes frequently hunt corn snakes attracted to barns or farms due to the abundance of rodents.
  4. Raccoons – As opportunistic predators, raccoons may feed on corn snake eggs or juveniles.
  5. Opossums – Like raccoons, opossums take advantage of finding corn snakes in farm buildings or wood/field habitats.
  6. Wild Boar & Feral Pigs – If rooting around rural corn snake shelters, pigs will consume all snakes they discover.
  7. Other Snakes – King snakes and indigo snakes are known to feed on other snakes, including juvenile corn snakes if encountered.
  8. Humans – As a sometimes feared or disliked snake, humans have historically persecuted corn snakes.

Unfortunately, corn snakes must evade a wide array of natural predators to survive in the wild due to their relatively small size. Their camouflage patterning and secretive nature help protect against attacks.


Can You Feed Corn Snakes Anything Other Than Mice?

Yes, corn snakes can be fed other prey items besides mice, such as rats, hamsters, and rabbits. However, mice are the most common and preferred prey item for corn snakes.

Can Corn Snakes Eat Human Food?

No, it is not recommended to feed corn snakes human food, as it can be high in fat and sugar and can lead to obesity and other health problems. Stick to a balanced, commercially available snake food or feed them appropriate prey items.

Do Corn Snakes Eat Fruit?

No, corn snakes do not eat fruit. They are carnivores and only eat animal-based prey items.

Can I Feed My Corn Snake Crickets?

You can try feeding large insects like crickets, though they may refuse or have difficulty digesting the chitin. Better to stick with mice and similar small vertebrates.

Do Corn Snakes Only Eat Live Mice?

No, corn snakes do not only eat live mice. They can be fed frozen/thawed mice, and some owners prefer this method as it is easier and less messy.

What Do Corn Snakes Eat Other Than Animals?

Nothing – corn snakes are obligate carnivores, meaning they only eat other animals like mammals, birds, eggs, reptiles, fish, insects and rarely carrion. No fruits or vegetables.

What Size Mice Do Corn Snakes Eat?

Hatchlings – pinky mice chopped up. Juveniles – fuzzies & hoppers. Adults – adult mouse or rat feeders matched to their size, about 1.5 times the snake’s width.

What Type of Mice Do Corn Snakes Eat?

They eat feeder mice of various stages – pinkies when young, then fuzzies, hoppers, rat pinks. Adults eat adult feeder mice.

What Insects Do Corn Snakes Eat?

The largest insects like grasshoppers, crickets, beetles and larvae may supplement their diet at times. Not a primary food though.

What Age Do Corn Snakes Eat Fuzzies?

At around 1 – 2 months old and 6+ inches in length, corn snakes upgrade from pinkies to fuzzies.

About Dean Eby

An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan. He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning. An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.

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