What Supplies Do You Need for a Pet Corn Snake?

For your convenience, we have put together a list of supplies that ReptiFiles personally recommends for the health of your new pet corn snake, as well as your own peace of mind. In other words, we did the shopping for you! ? Just pick one option from or click the link for every category.

Although corn snakes are commonly recommended as an ideal “first reptile,” please note that even the easiest reptiles can be expensive and high-maintenance to keep. If you are not prepared to purchase everything required for the health and wellbeing of a corn snake, this is not the pet for you.

Click the link for each item to see which specific products we recommend. This page contains affiliate links.

Approximate cost before corn snake and prey purchase: $800 USD

Keep in mind that everything should be purchased and set up BEFORE you get the snake. This will save you a lot of stress, and does your new pet a big favor, too.

We also recommend finding an experienced reptile veterinarian in your area. It’s always better to do a little bit of research when nothing’s wrong than to find yourself in a panic when your pet gets sick. Start here: ReptiFiles Reptile Vet Directory

Corn snake supplies - inspecting a new corn snake
Photo contributed by Mathew Haigis

Buying a Corn Snake

A “normal” corn snake can typically be purchased for around $25 in the US. Morphs tend to be more expensive from that point.

When buying a corn snake, it’s always best to purchase from a breeder than from a pet store, as you’re more likely to get a healthy animal from the former. Better yet, adopt a corn snake from a rescue or your local classifieds — corn snakes are severely overbred, so buying a “used” reptile can help reduce demand and discourage unnecessary breeding.

Don’t commit to buying the snake before you’ve had a chance to see and handle it. As it’s in your hands, look for:

  • Scars
  • Missing scales
  • Retained shed (tip of tail and eye caps)
  • Mites (tiny black dots, lifted scales)
  • Clear mouth and nostrils (bubbles/blockage may indicate RI)
  • Breathing (wheezing or clicking?)
  • Muscle tone (should feel strong and muscular, if you hold it halfway down body and let hang, should be strong enough to lift head and climb back onto hand)
  • Weight/shape (should not be able to see spine (too skinny) or have fat “hips” (sign of obesity)
  • Vent (old poo? Mites? Swelling?)
  • Spine, visual and tactile check (looking for kinks/deformities)

Also get as much information from the breeder/previous owner as possible:

  • Morph, known het traits
  • Sex
  • Hatch date
  • Feeding habits (live vs frozen thawed, prey size, mice vs rats, etc.)
  • Last feed
  • Temperament
  • Previous health issues
  • Previous sheds/shed issues
  • Last shed date

If you decide to buy the animal, ask the seller not to feed it prior to pick-up. This will prevent any possible regurgitation from relocation stress.

Keep reading:

  1. Introduction to Corn Snakes
  2. Shopping List (YOU ARE HERE)
  3. Terrarium Size & Lighting Guidelines
  4. Temperature & Humidity Requirements
  5. Substrate Options
  6. How to Decorate Your Terrarium
  7. How (and What) to Feed a Corn Snake
  8. Handling Tips
  9. Common Diseases & Other Health Info
  10. Additional Resources