Keeping two corn snakes in one cage seems like a good way of saving money. You don’t need to duplicate your costs, and it makes life easier because you don’t have to clean out two enclosures. Unfortunately, snakes aren’t social creatures, and they dislike the company of other snakes.
Two female corn snakes that are about the same size may be able to live together in the same tank. However, two males corns or one male and one female corn snake should always live separately. Putting two corns together can result in unwanted breeding, stress, the spread of parasites, disease, aggression, and cannibalism.
We’ll begin by explaining why the general rule is that two corn snakes should not be kept together. After, we’ll explain why you may be able to keep two female corn snakes in the same tank.
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Can Corn Snakes Live Together?
Corns are naturally solitary creatures and dislike being housed together. They don’t live in packs, hunt together, sleep together, or eat together. They don’t need any company, and they don’t need friends.
It’s not just a question of what they prefer. It’s a question of what will happen if you were to put two corn snakes in one cage. It’s likely to have negative consequences that can and should be avoided.
Corns, like all snakes, can be cannibalistic. So, snakes will eat other snakes. Not always, but it can happen. This behavior has many causes.
Female snakes need to recover after pregnancy and can recover their lost energy by eating their own eggs and dead offspring after birth.
Research in Science Daily explored the issue as it related to rattlesnakes, but it also applies to all other species of snakes.
Corn snakes are opportunistic cannibals. If they need to feed, and they’re in a cage with another smaller snake, then they may eat them to survive.
The snake that they kill and eat is usually significantly smaller. That’s at the heart of opportunistic cannibalism. The snake wants to be able to kill the other snake with hardly any risk of getting hurt or killed.
The only time you’ll ever have success with two corn snakes in one vivarium is if they’re both female, are the same size, and they’ve known each other for a long time. Even then, there are still risks.
You should also know that corn snakes can become aggressive in certain circumstances. On its own, a corn snake is naturally a shy snake. But, if you put two corns together, they can become competitive and fight.
This is most likely to occur if you feed the two snakes together. Both of them have a natural response to seeing/smelling prey.
According to the BBC, two-headed snakes don’t often survive. That’s at least partly because the two heads start fighting over food. If a two-headed snake will attack itself, then two different snakes will definitely fight over a meal.
If you must keep two corn snakes in the same vivarium, whatever you do, separate them before you feed them. Many instances of cannibalism could be explained by fights over food.
Corn snakes have a natural instinct to mate, regardless of age, during the breeding season. Their natural mating season is roughly between March and May, but in vivarium conditions, they may mate out of season.
Most corn snakes reach maturity between 18 and 24 months, at which point they will be of adult size. The problem with unexpected mating is that it can be fatal for young corn snakes when they’re not quite ready to breed.
If the female snake is too young or too small to breed, then having eggs will result in egg binding. This is where an egg takes too long to come out of the reproductive tract. Here’s some info about how snakes reproduce.
Corn snakes get viruses, illnesses, and diseases. Both viral and bacterial infections can cause problems for a snake. One such issue is Inclusion Body Disease (IBD), which affects constrictor snakes, such as corns.
IBD causes a range of unpleasant symptoms: staring upwards, breathing problems, and paralysis. IBD is caused by a virus in the arenavirus family.
If a corn snake has IBD, keep it quarantined. It’s highly contagious, and IBD will easily pass from one snake to another in the same vivarium.
Here’s some further info on health issues in snakes.
Snakes mite infestations spread quickly if not identified and treated. It doesn’t take long for the population of mites to multiply and grow. With thousands of mites feeding on a corn snake’s blood, this will lead to anemia.
If you keep two corn snakes together and one has parasites, it won’t be long before the other(s) are also affected. Keeping each corn snake in a separate enclosure allows you to isolate and tackle the issue more easily.
How to Keep Two Female Corn Snakes Together
Snakes are asocial and don’t need a companion, but you may be able to keep a pair of female corn snakes in the same enclosure. If you do, make you that you adhere to the guidelines below:
Both Snakes Need To Be The Same Size
Ensure that the two snakes are similar in size, age, and health. This prevents cannibalism from taking place, and the bigger snake from bullying/dominating the smaller snake.
A smaller snake might not be able to eat because of stress, and might not even get the chance because the bigger one eats all its food.
Large Enough Vivarium
There should be sufficient room for both females to have their own ‘personal space,’ i.e. a place for them to hide. All snakes like hiding places that are big enough for them to curl up in.
There should also be ample room for both corns to climb, e.g. on branches, rocks, and stones. However, too much space leads to vulnerability.
Temperature And Humidity Requirements
Make sure that the vivarium has the correct temperature and humidity. According to Reptiles.com, corns need 40-50% humidity.
The two sides to a corn’s enclosure should have different temperatures. The cool side should be 75-82°F and the warm side should be 80-85°F.
It’s recommended that you keep your corn snakes in separate tanks. If you don’t, make sure that they’re both females of about the same size, and never feed your corns in the same enclosure as it could lead to fighting/injury.