Corn snake terrarium size requirements are a little more spacious than the average snake because they can be very active. And because they are terrestrial, floor space is more important than vertical space. However, placing a corn snake in too large of a terrarium can actually be detrimental rather than beneficial.
Hatchlings (8-20″ or 20-51 cm): 5 gallons or 16x8x10 (43x23x28 cm)
Juveniles (21-36″ or 52-91 cm): 10 gallons or 20x10x12 (50x28x33 cm)
Adults (36″+ or 92+ cm): 20 gallons or 30x12x12 (76x33x33 cm)
Hatchlings and juveniles have a predator avoidance instinct which compels them to stay hidden while they are small and vulnerable. It also compels them to avoid open spaces, as those are the most dangerous for a young, virtually defenseless snake.
The predator avoidance instinct weakens as corn snakes age and grow larger. By the time they are adults, they have become much more confident, and thus will explore their enclosure more. Larger and/or particularly active adults do well in a 40 gallon breeder-style terrarium.
Front-opening terrariums are the preferred method of housing for many snake keepers because they make terrarium access easy, hold heat and humidity well, and are fairly attractive to boot. Brands like the Animal Plastics T5 and DIY Cages’ 36″x24″x24″are especially popular.
However, appropriately-sized glass aquariums, tubs, and rack systems may also be used to house your snake. Keep in mind that if an all-glass enclosure is used (such as an Exo Terra Large/Tall Terrarium), three of the four walls should be blacked out/covered to help the snake feel more secure.
Securing the Terrarium
Because they are small, slender, and love to explore, corn snakes are particularly talented escape artists. The best way to prevent an escape is to secure the lid properly. Whatever you do, DON’T USE TAPE! Tape is notorious for injuring snakes who accidentally come in contact with its sticky side.
If you’re using a glass aquarium, invest in at least 4 (more are required for larger tanks) lid clamps to keep it firmly in place.
If you’re using a front-opening terrarium, a lock or latch will keep it secured.
If you’re using a tub, make sure that it has a latching lid.
If you’re using a rack system, make sure that the top of the tub is flush with the rack, and that the snake is unable to push the tub out on its own.
Finally, if your snake somehow manages to escape, here are some tips for finding a lost snake.
Can 2 or more corn snakes be kept in the same cage?
Why not? There’s a variety of reasons, including risk of cannibalism, disease/parasite transmission, stress-induced appetite loss, stress-induced weakened immune system, etc. You get the gist — cohabiting corn snakes is a bad idea and should never happen.
PRO TIP: Do not place your snake’s terrarium in front of a window, as the sunlight will heat the enclosure, possibly “cooking” your snake. This is especially dangerous with glass enclosures.