Eastern Corn Snake Butter (Pantherophis guttatus)

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Eastern Corn Snake Butter
Pantherophis guttatus
Eastern Corn Snake Butter (Pantherophis guttatus)
Name Eastern Corn Snake Butter
Name Lat. Pantherophis guttatus
Synonym Elaphe guttata
Family Colubrids
Family lat. Colubridae
Order Scaled Reptiles
Order lat. Squamata
Origin SE-USA
Habitat Shrubland
Diet Rodents
Humidity 60-80 %
Behavior Nocturnal, peaceful
Keeping Individual, pair, group
Care Level Easy
Reproduction Oviparous
Housing Semi-humid terrarium
Life Span 15-20 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 80-130 cm
Temperature 24-28 °C
Temperature Local 30-35 °C
Housing Size 150 x 70 x 130 cm
US Units
Size 31"-51"
Temperature 75-82 °F
Temperature Local 86-95 °F
Housing Size 60" x 30" x 50"

Distribution and habitat

The distribution area of the mainly crepuscular corn snakes is the southeastern USA, from South Carolina to Florida, where the most colorful animals come from. There they live in coniferous forests as well as in scrub and cultivated land, where they hide under rocks or tree trunks during the day.


Minimum dimensions for the terrarium, according to the size and number of animals:

1-2 animals 1KL x 0,5KL x 1KL (L x W x H)

Body length (KL) is measured on the largest animal. For each additional animal the floor space should be increased by 20%. A terrarium of e.g. L 150 x W 70 x H 130 cm is recommended, which should be placed in a quiet and vibration-free place.

They need a terrarium structured with roots, climbing branches, cork tubes and bamboo sticks (hiding places and privacy screen) with a moisture-retaining substrate, e.g. of sand-humus mixture with peat and foliage, as well as an easy-to-clean water basin as drinking vessel. A quarter of the substrate must always be kept moist (no waterlogging), for which sheets of sphagnum moss are well suited. Once a day, preferably in the evening, the inside of the terrarium should be finely sprayed with water (humidity). A rain or mist system is ideal

Temp. day: 24-28 °C Temp. night: 18-22 °C Temp. local: up to 35 °C Humidity: 60-80

Thermostatically controlled floor heating is recommended. Lighting duration must be 12-14 hrs depending on the season. Daylight fluorescent tubes supplemented with spotlights are ideal.


The food supply consists of live small rodents (e.g. mice, rats) as well as chicks or small pigeons according to their size. After successful acclimatization often succeeds the switch to dead food animals (commercial frozen food). Juveniles should be offered food every 3-5 days, adults every 7-14 days, with occasional periods of fasting (e.g., skipping a feeding). If the snake is disturbed after feeding, this may result in vomiting of the prey. It is better to offer several small feeders, rather than one large one. If it does not eat for a long period of time, both the timing and the food should be varied. It is important to fortify the food animals with vitamins and minerals. Since the snake could be injured by live rodents, it should not be left unattended with them.

Reproduction and breeding

Probing by the veterinarian is the only reliable method of sex determination. The tail shape or a thickening in the area of the hemipenis pockets are not definite sexual characteristics. The female lays her eggs (10-25 pieces) in the substrate. The incubation period is 45-60 days at a temperature of 25-32 °C. The young are 22-25 cm in size and can be fed with nest young mice.


They are bred in numerous color varieties. Among themselves they are well tolerated.

For the resting phase, the lighting duration is reduced by 2-3 hours and the temperature is lowered by 3-4 °C for approx. two months.

Always have snake hooks and protective gloves ready when handling.The terrarium must have good ventilation without drafts and meet the species specific needs. Measuring devices such as thermometers, hygrometers, etc. are necessary. The lighting has to correspond to the species-specific day-night rhythm and has to be placed in such a way that the animals cannot injure themselves. The terrarium should be locked in such a way that neither unauthorized persons can open it nor the animals can escape. Contamination must be removed regularly

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: petdata; Image: petdata

Source: BMELV (1997): Tierschutzgutachten -  Mindestanforderungen an die Haltung von Reptilien; ENGELMANN (2006): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Reptilien und Amphibien, Harri Deutsch Verlag

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF