The care of Colubrid snakes — Corns, Kings, Rats & Milk snakes


  • Glass, Wood or Plastic.
  • Start with a small enclosure for a baby, around 30-40cm long.
  • Adults are fine in a 60cm long vivarium.
  • Must be escape proof.
  • Provide internal decor such as a water bowl, branches, hides & plants.

Heating / Temperatures

  • A perfect temperature is 28C, with a slight drop at night.
  • Heat no more than half the vivarium.
  • Always install a thermostat.


Some keepers provide full spectrum lighting — 2{cb5d0a8cf0c44aef2db327d9ab0dba08dd09aed1126b509e5fa01d3aaa87fe47} will suffice.


  • Aspen is popular.
  • Some keepers prefer newspaper or similar.
  • Sphagnum moss can be used in a humid area.


  • Spot clean daily taking out faecal, uneaten food etc.
  • Change water daily.
  • Strip out and change substrates every four weeks.

Humidity (level of moisture in the air)

  • Generally speaking most Colubrids require a dry atmosphere—around
  • Provide a localised high humidity hide, especially when skin shedding.

Diet and Supplements

  • Commercially available rodents are available in a range of sizes.
  • Start with pinkies for a baby, working up to fuzzies and then onto adult mice.
  • Use a liquid reptile multi-vitamin and calcium supplement.
  • Feed every four to five days for babies and around every seven days
    for adults.
  • Two to three food items for a baby and one or two for an adult.


Babies may go off their food if handled every day. Adults will tolerate more handling, within reason.

Skin Shedding

Babies shed their skin once a month, adults 3-4 times a year. Comes off in one piece, check eye caps and tip of tail has come off.

Signs of Ill Health

  • Poor skin shedding
  • Thin or skinny
  • Sunken looking skin or eyes
  • Sores
  • Lack of appetite
  • Tremors
  • Cloudy or dull eyes
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Thin tail
  • Lethergy

Possible causes of Ill Health

  • Parasites
  • Dirty conditions
  • Incorrect diet / supplementation
  • Incorrect temperature / Humidity control
  • Over handling

What to do in case of Ill health

  • Keep at optimum temperature.
  • Seek help from qualified vet.
  • Keep disturbance to a minimum.


Colubrid is the collective name for the group of snakes that includes Corn snakes, King snakes, Rat snakes and Milksnakes. The Corn snake is the most popular and makes a good tame pet. Ratsnakes can sometimes be a little more aggressive, and Kings and Milksnakes can mistake fingers for food as they are greedy feeders.

Is a Colubrid snake — Corn, King, Rat or Milk snake suitable for me?

  1. I am aware of the long life aspect maybe 20 years plus.
  2. As with all animals I am aware of the risk of salmonella.
  3. I am aware of the need for frozen rodents to be kept in the freezer.

Recommended Supplies

  • Glass, wood or plastic vivarium— up to 90cm for an adult, 15cm for a baby.
  • Floor covering Aspen is popular.
  • Heat mat with thermostat.
  • Temperature gauges.
  • Full spectrum lighting if required.
  • Appropriate multi-vitamin supplements.
  • Water bowl.
  • Livefood.
  • Hides and climbing decor (including plastic plants).
  • Frozen rodents.