How Big Do Corn Snakes Get (And How Long it Takes to Grow)

Corn snakes are some of the least imposing snakes because of their size. The snakes of your nightmares are usually giant anacondas not small corn snakes that you keep as a pet.

How Big Do Corn Snakes Get?

How big do corn snakes get, and how long does it take for them to grow? Corn snakes can be anywhere from 2.5- 5 feet in length. Males are typically a bit larger than females which can help you distinguish between the two sexes. After hatching, corn snakes will be less than a foot in length. It takes them approximately 2 years to reach their full length.

Corn snakes are very popular in the pet snake community because of their beautiful colors and manageable sizes. However, there is much more to this species’ size than meets the eye.

It’s important to know how to feed, house, and care for your corn snake to allow it the health and room to grow!

Corn Snake Lengths and Sizes

The corn snake is a terrific choice as a pet. Their temperaments are pretty docile, and they are easy to take care of! Another pleasant fact, that corn snake owners find to be true, is that corn snakes don’t grow to unmanageable sizes. 

An average corn snake will rarely exceed 5 feet long; whereas, a lot will vary in lengths between 2 and 5 feet. This means that your corn snake may end up being shorter than you anticipated, which isn’t a bad thing! We love all of our snakes equally here!

The size is a breath of fresh air for beginning snake owners, but the beautiful array of colors that you can find corn snakes in is appealing to even the most experienced care givers. 

When corn snakes are first hatched, they will only be a few inches long. This 8-14 inch baby will grow steadily throughout a 2 year period (approximately) until it reaches its full size. 

In a journal article written by S. M. Barnard, T. G. Hollinger, and T. A. Romaine, published by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH), a study of corn snakes and their size and eating habits was conducted. 

This experiment took place in the 1970’s but the lengths are still relevant. These men took 10 baby corn snakes, measured them at birth, and then measured them twice more throughout their lives.

These snakes were chosen because they would willingly eat the mice they gave them, so it was clear that they could control their food intake. 

Here are the results of that study: 

DateLength (cm)Weight (g)
July 3, 197532.5 (13 in.)7.5
January 8, 197657.7 (23 in.)45.1
July 13, 197689.2 (35 in.)164.3

As you can see, the corn snakes in this study started out at approximately a foot in length and grew to 3 feet over the course of a year!

The data ends there, so we don’t know what they were like after 2 years, but you can really see the development even in the first year of life!

How Captivity Affects Size

We generally don’t like to hear the word “captivity” in most contexts, but in the snake world, this just means that they were not born and raised in the wild. 

It’s true that size may vary depending on whether you are looking at a wild corn snake or a captive bred one. Captive bred snakes tend to be a tiny bit smaller than their wild cousins. This has some to do with balanced diets and the confines of their homes.

Don’t worry too much about the little details of this because the size change is not significant enough for worry. 

Something you DO have to be careful about, though, is keeping your corn snake in a tank that is too small for them. This will naturally limit their growth because they have nowhere to go. 

It is suggested that a full-grown corn snake be kept in a 20-gallon tank at least! If you are nervous about your corn snake not having enough wiggle room and resenting you later in life, then it is fine to allow them a bigger cage. 

We don’t want a 50-gallon tank cluttering up your home if it is unnecessary, but you do what is best for your snake. The only advice I can give, and I will repeat it, is to not put your snake in a tank that is obviously too small. 

BONUS TIP: Here you can find an article we wrote where we list the recommended terrarium size for corn snakes. We also talk about the best way to take care of your terrarium.

Other Housing Requirements That Affect Your Snake

Apart from the basic size of tank that you put your corn snake in to live, you will need to think about how to keep it healthy once it’s in there. There are the basics such as food and water that are very important which I discuss in the next section. 

The temperature and humidity levels in your snake’s tank will affect its health which will , its growth. Your snake’s tank should hover around 85 degrees Fahrenheit at the most! Corn snakes also need approximately 40-50% humidity. 

These two factors will help your snake stay healthy and allow it to have an easy time shedding. It’s important to make sure the humidity doesn’t get too extreme, though, because then you run the risk of deteriorating scale rot for your snake. 

Scale rot is very dangerous. Check out this article for everything you need to know about scale rot in snakes.

If you maintain the correct temperatures and humidity for your corn snake, then it will be able to grow without any problems. 

Feeding Your Corn Snake

If we break down all life to its simplest form (now I’m not talking atoms and cells) then all we need for life is food, water, and sunshine. We’re all just plants with more complicated social lives. 

What I’m trying to get at is that a snake’s diet and care can really affect their growth if it’s not regulated or done right. 

Corn snakes can happily live on a diet of mice. For hatchlings, you will want to get very small baby mice and increase the size of the food as your snake gets bigger. 

It has become increasingly popular among snake owners to use thawed frozen mice as the chosen food for their corn snake. This is popular because your corn snake will get the same amount of nutrients without the trouble (and sometimes danger) of catching live prey.

This will be easy for a snake bred in captivity because they didn’t even have the need to chase down and hunt their food. This also makes life easier on you and saves you any trauma from buying and offering live mice to your snake-like a blood sacrifice.

You just need to find the right method for you and your corn snake.

The most important part of feeding your snake is making sure that you’re feeding it enough and the right things to offer it the nutrients to grow. 

BONUS TIP: This article can tell you even more helpful information about corn snakes dietary needs

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Life Span of a Corn Snake

Size is a big influence on the buying decisions of snake owners, and so is how long your corn snake will live. Beginning snake owners will generally gravitate towards snakes that don’t grow to be very big. 

This is one of the reasons that corn snakes are so popular among beginners. They also are favored for their docile and overall manageable nature.

On average, corn snakes generally live at least a couple of decades. It is documented that corn snakes will continue reproducing until they hit the ages ranging from 10-12 years old.

It’s important to remember that every snake is different, though. Some may live linger than the average; whereas, others may live shorter lives than expected.

With a good diet, excellent care, and a decked-out cage with all the necessities of snake life, your corn snake should live a very long time!

For more information, check out this helpful article about corn snakes longevity in captivity

How long are corn snakes “pregnant” for? Corn snakes will mate and then lay their eggs within a 30-50 day period. The process won’t begin until a few weeks after they do a routine “prenatal shed”.

The actual birthing process can span from an hour to a day depending on the individual snake and possible complications. 

How can you tell if a corn snake is male or female? The size of your corn snake can sometimes indicate gender. The males are generally bigger in overall size than the females.

how big do corn snakes get How Big Do Corn Snakes Get (And How Long it Takes to Grow)

It is impossible to distinguish between genders based on color because there is practically NO variation. The only sure way to know is to have a professional conduct a “probing” test.

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