Corn snakes are cold-blooded animals, and therefore they need heat to keep their body warm. They need heat regularly, but too much heat can be harmful to the snakes.
Corn snakes have en optimum temperature range, and a temperature higher than the maximum range is harmful to your corn snake. They can tolerate up to a maximum of 98-degree Fahrenheit temperature.
Corn snakes are unable to synthesize their body heat, and therefore they need energy from outside. Corn snakes are ectotherms – meaning they absorb heat from the outside environment. An adequate amount of heat is necessary for the normal metabolism of the body.
If corn snakes don’t get the necessary heat, they will experience problems like low body heat, slow healing and illness to death. Likewise, if they get too much heat, they can also get health concerns more than the maximum value.
This article will educate you about the optimum temperature and associated health concerns of corn snakes.
Can a Corn Snake Get Too Hot?
Yes! Corn snakes can get too hot. The temperature can affect the reptiles. Reptiles need heat from the outside environment but up to a limit. More than the required amount of heat can cause severe implications in the body.
Therefore, it is important to establish a controlled heating system in the vivarium to prevent your corn snakes from getting too much and too little heat.
Inside the vivarium, you should keep a constant temperature everywhere. For corn snakes, it is best to keep a temperature gradient inside the vivarium according to the needs of your corn snake.
There should be three zones of the temperature inside the vivarium. The gradient exists from high temperature to low temperature so that your corn snake can spend time in any of the temperature zones to be comfortable. The three temperature zones are as follows.
- Basking surface
- Cool zone
The basking surface has the highest temperature that peaks at almost 90-degree Fahrenheit. Reptiles in the natural environment spend time under the sun to heat their body.
Corn snake also follows this pattern after a couple of days. They don’t sunbathe every day. However, corn snakes need to take a sunbath every one or two days, depending on the need to keep alive. Without sunbath, they cannot survive.
The ambient zone refers to the medium temperature zone, which ranges from 72–82-degree Fahrenheit. Whereas the cool zone refers to the coolest zone inside the vivarium that prevents your corn snake from getting too heat.
All the three zones are essential for your corn snake so that it can maintain its body temperature at a normal range. Especially ambient and cool zones prevent your corn snakes from getting too much heat.
Is 90 Degrees Fahrenheit Too Hot For a Corn Snake?
Reptiles, including corn snakes, need a high temperature of about 90-degree Fahrenheit regularly to keep their bodies warm. However, they don’t need a high temperature every time.
Corn snakes only need high temperatures after two or three days. If you provide high temperatures constantly, your corn snake can get health problems.
Heating the enclosure is necessary because your corn snake is unable to synthesize its body heat. Heat is a form of energy emitted by the sun and any heating object.
Heat consists of infrared (IR) wavelengths of light that are invisible to humans and most animals. However, some snakes can detect heat waves. Just as other light waves are of different types, infrared is also of three types. Not to mention, corn snakes identify their prey depending upon the body heat it emits.
- IR (A): is the strongest infrared wavelength that can penetrate deepest the body tissue and transmit heat inside the body. IR-A has the most penetrating ability and has healing power. It has been used in most clinical therapies because of its healing potential. For reptiles, IR-A is the most effective source to keep them warm. In the sunlight, IR-A is present in large quantities.
- IR (B): is also a strong infrared wavelength but less strong than IR-A. IR-B can also penetrate deep inside the body but less deep than IR-A. Still, IR-B is a good quality infrared used to keep reptiles warm. In sunlight, a significant amount of IR-B is present.
- IR (C): is the least effective among other IR waves to keep the body warm. IR-C cannot penetrate the body and can be observed emitted from heated objects. However, it is present in sunlight, though in small quantities.
All three infrared waves are necessary to provide heat to your corn snake because our primary purpose is to mimic the natural heat sources, i.e., Sun.
What Happens If a Corn Snake Gets Too Cold?
Corn snakes need a temperature range of 72-92 degrees Fahrenheit to maintain a healthy body temperature. If the temperature of your corn snake’s cage falls below 68 degrees, they are at risk for medical complications such as respiratory infection and cold stress which can cause muscle rigidity.
Most corn snakes will be comfortable at room temperature, which is somewhere between 75° and 80° F. If the ambient temperature falls below 75° F, it may prove necessary to provide supplemental heat for your snake via a commercial or homemade heating pad set on its lowest possible setting as close as to the cage as possible without coming into contact with it.
If a corn snake does not get enough heat from the sun, basking lights or heating pads it may become cold. You can tell if your corn snake is too cold by checking for signs like:
- Shakey body
- Stuck sheds (parts of shed skin hanging from the sides of the snakes mouth)
- Slowed body movements
So in order to keep your corn snake warm you should make sure they have a good temperature gradient and get regular sun baths. Remember that some animals only need to feel heat, because they identify prey based on their body heat signatures.
Be careful not to overheat them! If there is one factor we stress more than anything else with pet reptiles it’s that it must never be exposed to sources of significant radiant
Often, when people go out for vacation, they turn off the heat lamp. If somehow their vacations prolong and you corn snake stays inside the vivarium without the heat lamp, it may get cold.
Reptiles need heat at any cost to survive. Without heat, their survival becomes compromised. Your corn snake can survive at as low as 65-degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature lower than this will compromise the survival of your corn snake.
Therefore, you should not let your corn snake is cold, whatever the conditions are. This is the reason to recommend preparing a corn snake enclosure one week before the arrival of a corn snake. The heating system of the enclosure is something that you can’t compromise.
Heating mats are widely used to meet the heating requirement of corn snakes. However, they are not the optimal choice to provide heat to your corn snakes. Still, they let your snake live and reproduce inside the enclosure. Automatically controlled heating lamps are a better choice for corn snakes.
They mimic the natural heat source and have an automatically controlled on and off the system. It makes you free from the worries that your corn snake can get too hot or cold. It keeps the temperature at an optimal range and follows the schedule for providing heat in the enclosure.
Corn snakes are cold-blooded animals, so the temperature of their environment has a significant effect on how they behave.
If you have an infrared heat lamp in your corn snake’s enclosure, make sure it is turned off when not needed to prevent overheating. When traveling with your pet corn snake (or any other type of animal), don’t forget to pack some sort of heating source for them if necessary!