Our guide to Snake Care

Snakes make great pets but they do have some pretty specific needs when it comes to their care. The team at Clent Hills Vets knows a thing or three about these fascinating creatures and has put together some tips on care and handling.

Many species make suitable pets – corn snakes are particularly popular – but do research your chosen breed for any specific requirements.

Making a home

It’s best to keep your snake in a vivarium so you can regulate the environment and temperature. Bear in mind that snakes are excellent escape artists – veterinary surgeon and reptile enthusiast, Stephanie, recommends a vivarium that can be securely locked.

The vivarium only needs to be about half the length of a corn snake’s body. Heat should come from a heat mat or a heat bulb, but if you opt for the latter fit a bulb guard so your pet doesn’t burn itself as it explores its home.

You will need to cover the vivarium floor with some sort of substrate – Aspen bedding, bark chips or cage carpet. You can add branches and rocks for your snake to climb or hide behind, along with a small sleeping area which could be a a rock cave or piles of bark.


Pet snakes are happy with a diet of dead rodents, which can be bought frozen from pet shops but must be defrosted at room temperature and offered with long tweezers once or twice a week. Your snake may go off food during shedding.

Your pet will enjoy a bowl of clean water for a drink and the occasional bath – so make sure it’s cleaned regularly.


As snakes only defecate one or two days after being fed, regular ‘spot’ cleaning and a thorough clean with a reptile-friendly disinfectant once every two or three weeks are all that’s required.

Handling Corn snakes are neither venomous nor normally aggressive. They will usually remain docile when handled, but move gently as they may ‘strike’ if startled.

The best way to keep your snake healthy and for you to pick up more tips on care is to book a check-up at Clent Hills Vets.

Book a snake check-up