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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there,

Ok, brace yourselves for some hard work!!

I am looking to purchase a corn snake in the next year or two.

My daughter who is almost 9, is very keen on a pet snake for the family. Everything I have read up, leads me to corn snakes as one of the prettier and more 'family friendly' snakes.

I know very little about snakes, but we all have to start somewhere right?

I was hoping that I could pick brains here as I want to do this right.

I have read a reasonable amount online... google is a wonderful thing :wink:

I have read many threads here, and I have to say that they have given me a lot of information, but I was hoping that individual cornsnake owners could help me here:

Please excuse me if these questions seem a little 'cold' to start with.
ok:

1) Is it better to start with a hatchling, yearling or adult for a newbie?
(knowing little about snakes in particular, I'm 'guessing' that a hatchling would be best as then the snake would know you from the offset but please correct me if this is wrong!)

2) Are corns really happy being solitary or are you better to get 2 snakes?

3) Roughly how much a week does it cost to keep your corn snake?

4) How much time should you set aside for your snake per day/week?

5) Are holidays a problem? Can you leave your snake for prolongued periods? (sounds an awful question, but I dont have any friends that would be that happy to care for a snake if we went on holiday, I could probably get them to change water and feed a snake, but its doubtful that they would handle it, so would 2 weeks of non-handling be terribly detrimental?)


6)How much did it cost to set up your vivarium? (everything but the snake - cost of viv, bowls, hides, substrate etc...)



I 'think' thats it for the moment, but I know there are going to be a lot more questions in the future!
Please bear with me. We would really love a snake, but I need to know 100% that it is going to be right for us. There is nothing worse than getting a pet, and then losing interest through lack of time, and the pet suffering.

Thankyou all so much in advance.

fluffy
xxx
 

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1) I think this is down to your preference. I started off with a hatchling, they're small and quick at that age though so if you wanted something easier for your kid to handle, maybe go for a yearling as they'll be a bit bigger, but still not full size so you can see them grow still. Adults I don't think would be a problem, there are often snakes that are family pets that need rehoming for various reasons, and if they are used to being handled they should adapt to you fairly quickly.

2) Yes, happy being solitary.

3) Including electricity? I have no idea :lol: Food per week is just under £1.50.

4) As much as you want really. They don't need to be handled but the more handling they have the tamer they will be. With a hatchling, you're looking at around 5 mins to start off with and then building that up. Another note on hatchlings though, they are more nocturnal than older snakes so if you want your son to handle them maybe an older one would be a better option.

5) Two weeks of non-handling would be no problem at all.
 

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1) In my opinion its good to start with a hatchling. Means your daughter can watch it grow and learn about it as it grows.
2) Most snakes are happy being alone. Only a few snakes live in colonies and thats not corns. It is generally better to get them to live on their own so you can monitor them alot better. Know whos pooing, shedding etc etc.

3) It will cost you for electricity and food. If its a hatchling you will have to feed a pinky or 2 every 5 days so will cost you about £1 a week. The only other thing is substrate which is changed monthly.

4) Its up to you... snakes don't need to be handled but its good to when young to make sure they calm down with you.

5) As snakes are fed weekly you can leave it about 2 weeks with just changing water etc... just be ready for a hungry snake when you get back.


6)Depends on what set up you go for... its up to you what you get.. you can get a natural set up or just a home job of tubs and jar lids for a water bowl.
 

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1. I'd say start with a hatchling - it's nice to see how they grow and change over the first couple of years. Just make sure that it's had a few feeds before you get it - you don't want to end up with a difficult feeder.

2. Corns (or any snake) are fine on their own. They'll tolerate being kept together but they don't need company. It's easier to keep them singly as well - you don't have to worry about separating them for feeding, easier to keep the viv clean and you won't have the risk of any unwanted breeding.

3.Cost - food for an adult corn, even a large one would cost no more than £1 a week. A hatchling/juvenile would cost a bit less.
Heating costs - if you house is centrally heated and kept warm thoughout the year it'll be fine with just a heatmat, which would have a power of less than 20 watts. This should be used on a thermostat so that the temperature is properly controlled - which also means that it'll only be on roughly 2/3 of the time, so cheaper to run too.

4. Time - a single corn would take about 2 hours a week to maintain, and that includes a trip to the shop for food if you don't want mice in the freezer. You just pick up their poo whenever they do one, change their water 3 times a week, and give them a total clean out every couple of months. They only need feeding once a week, maybe every 5 days for a hatchling at first.

5. Holidays - I'd happily leave a corn of 6 months old or more for 7 days completely unattended as long as the heating is properly controlled and the viv is clean. If you give them a feed the night before you go they'll sleep for 3 or 4 days anyway. Any longer than that you'd ideally need someone to change their water and pick up any poo, but a healthy corn will go 2 weeks or more without food no problem.

As long as their enclosure has sufficient space for excercise they don't have to be handled at all, so no handling for a couple of weeks is no problem at all.


6. For a hatchling all you need is:
Heatmat:
http://www.camzoo.co.uk/pd1392741484.htm?categoryId=15

Thermostat: (essential in my opinion)
http://www.camzoo.co.uk/pd-1167048544.htm?categoryId=12

Something to live in:
http://www.camzoo.co.uk/pd914208471.htm?categoryId=10
(You could also use a large plastic lunchbox with ventilation holes drilled along the sides)

Also, a decent (preferably a digital) thermometer, a water bowl (a ceramic hamster food bowl or ramekin dish would be fine). Kitchen towel as substrate, and sections of cardboard tube for hiding places.

Then when it's older you'd need a 3ft viv which would cost around £80, or cheaper if you got one through classifieds. Plus larger water bowl, larger hides (upturned plant pots/plant pot saucers with an entrance hole cut out work well) and substrate of some kind - you could use newspaper but beech chip looks nicer and allows the snake to burrow.

Over all it'll be about £150, unless your house gets cold, then you may need a heat bulb of some kind and maybe a different stat - which would mean about £50 extra.

Hope this helps!

Mark.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thankyou silvershark and NNY.

I think the 'biggest' issues have been addressed, although I guess I just have to research into setup costs.
To be honest, the initial outlay is the least of my worries (as long as we are not talking many hundreds!!)
It sounds as though corn snakes are pretty minimal for ongoing care and cost which is handy, especially the feeding cost, which my daughter could pay for with her pocket money.
That seems mean, but I am hoping that this will be a successful project in responsibility and value of money too.

I am thinking we will look for a hatchling, as you said NNY, its nice to be able to see it grow into adulthood.

I am so excited to get a snake now. Hubby has said that we cannot replace our hammies when they expire, so I think snake will replace them eventually. With any luck they still have at least a year or so in them, so that gives me plenty of time to really research and put money aside for a really nice setup.

If there is anyone here from Essex who would like to help mentor me, that would be most cool!

fluffy
xxx
 

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1) i would go with a hatchling as a 1st snake... its nice to watch them grow and you get to know character too.
2)corns do not go in pairs or more, although most seem to live happily together.. BUT they have been known to eat one another.
3)once you have all the equipment, the cost is as little as 50p a week i would think.. thats fresh water, heat and feeding... very cheap. also you can leave them when you go on holiday.
4)handling corns should be done 3/4 times per week for 20 mins or so a time... not the same day as feeding or the day after if you can help it.
5)answered that above
6)ebay is a good start, you will get cheap stuff on there, or on a site like this a good 2nd hand one, sometimes new are available at good prices too.
other than that, its a good choice.
 

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If you were to get an adult corn those "hammies" could have considerably less than a year left..............


Sorry, i had to say it :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sorry Mark, we crossposted!

Thats excellent help thankyou so much!

I think its sounding more and more like a corn is for us :D

One question just to clarify though. I am used to keeping rodents, which I appreciate is TOTALLY different... but...

You say that you dont HAVE to handle a snake for it to be happy, but I'd like it to be as tame as can be expected for a snake. If it wasnt handled for 2 weeks, is it likely to be jumpy when you return and go to handle it or are they good at remembering you?

I am not 'too' worried about getting bitten, from what I have heard in the past, a corn bite is more of a shock and a 'scratch' than an actual bite? I have been bitten by rats, including one that didnt care to let go and went through to the bone on my index finger. I really couldnt imagine a corn to be anywhere close to that experience!
 

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reticulatus said:
If you were to get an adult corn those "hammies" could have considerably less than a year left..............


Sorry, i had to say it :lol:
i dont get it? :cry:
 

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If youve been bitten by rats corns will feel like nothing :lol: :lol: If you left it for 2 weeks without handling it would be ok..if you have handled it alot in the past.. corns arent much for the biting anyway. Prefer to run away.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Blimey, trying to keep up.. its all go here isnt it!! :p


reticulatus said:
If you were to get an adult corn those "hammies" could have considerably less than a year left..............


Sorry, i had to say it :lol:
I have to say, I did have a feeling this would come up sooner rather than later!! :roll:

I'm not sure that a snake that consumes my daughters current pets would be too well recieved though! :lol:

 

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Discussion Starter #12
NNY said:
If youve been bitten by rats corns will feel like nothing :lol: :lol: If you left it for 2 weeks without handling it would be ok..if you have handled it alot in the past.. corns arent much for the biting anyway. Prefer to run away.
See now thats exactly what I wanted to hear!

I'm gutted I missed the Essex show. I am only 15 minutes from Basildon... It probably would have been good to see some varieties in flesh/scales as to speak!! :lol:
 

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ah i see, doh lol
 

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Sorry, should have explained what I meant a bit better. What I meant was a corn doesn't have to be handled in order for it to be healthy.

But if you get a hatchling I'd try to handle it most days, apart from when they're about to shed and not for 24-48 hours after feeding.

With a little hatchling though, bear in mind that your body temp is over 90F so a hatchling is going to get very warm quite quickly especially in warm weather, so maybe only a few minutes at a time at first and then build it up as they grow. If you get a lively hatchling and your hands are really hot try running them under a cold tap for a while before handling and it may be a bit calmer.

With proper regular handling you should have no problems and once they're a couple of years old they'll usually behave how they're going to behave for the rest of their life. No handling for a couple of weeks won't make a difference - they may even appreciate having a rest!
You'd be unlucky to get one that was anything more than a little bit lively as an adult. Most are so calm, nothing seems to bother them.

To give you an idea - I got a 3 yr old male (about 30" long) on Sunday from the Basildon show and even after all the stress of taken to the show, the heat and being on display, plus a 90 minute car journey home, he was still totally calm and relaxed when I put him in his new viv.
 

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90F?, jesus, so my blood is like nearly boiling? :lol: i didnt realise it was that much
 

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Discussion Starter #16
cornmorphs said:
90F?, jesus, so my blood is like nearly boiling? :lol: i didnt realise it was that much
I suspect you are confusing Fahrenheit and Celcius!! :lol:

Boiling point of water is roughly 100degrees Celcuis which is well over 200 degrees Fahrenheit!

90 degrees Fahrenheit is 32 degrees Celcius.

Human core temperature is actually about 37 degrees celcuis, which is almost 99 degrees Fahrenheit...

Us humans are pretty hot stuff, but not 'quite' as hot as many of us would like to think! :wink:
 

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no iwasnt, i just thougt it was lower that that.. ah well, learn something new
 

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mate you cannot go wrong with a corn or a royal. my two sons love both, and my youngest is turning 10 next week, and he's been taking car of his own snake for 3 years, well he does hadnling and stuff, i get stuck with cleaning the viv... ah well, my point was, your daughter won't have any responcibility issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks Andy, Its nice to know that a child so young can be so good caring for an animal..

My daughter currently has a hamster, she is very good with him overall.
I think she would benefit from a pet she could really learn a lot from.

I am planning for her to keep her own snake diary. I have seen that its a good idea to record feeds and shedding. That would make for a great project for her.

Its not quite the same with hamsters...

day 1) Filled pouches, ate lots, ran in wheel until it started to squeak again, chewed bars... went back to sleep..

Day 2) Filled pouches, ate lots, ran in wheel until it started to squeak again, chewed bars... went back to sleep..

day 3) Filled pouches, ate lots, ran in wheel until it started to squeak again, chewed bars... went back to sleep..

Day 4) Filled pouches, ate lots, ran in wheel until it started to squeak again, chewed bars... went back to sleep..

I think you get the idea!! :lol:

 

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Discussion Starter #20
cornmorphs said:
no iwasnt, i just thougt it was lower that that.. ah well, learn something new
Sorry Cornmorphs.. I just reread my post and it could have been taken pretty insultingly.. didnt mean for it to be :oops:
Was just having a bit of fun.

I'm nice really.... I promise :D Honestly.... just ask my friends!!
 
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