Corn snakes need to bathe and soak in water to keep them healthy. There’s much more to giving corns access to water than just staying clean.
Corns enjoy relaxing in the water. It softens and loosens the skin before the shedding process begins. Exposure to water can also assist with removing infestations, such as ticks and mites. Corn snakes should spend about 15 minutes soaking in a warm bowl of water.
We’ll look at why snakes like water and how to bathe your corn snake safely. This guide covers everything from the temperature of the water to how and where the snake should be bathed.
Table of Contents:
Can Corn Snakes Go in Water?
Corn snakes do go in the water. They ‘know’ when to bathe both in the wild and in captivity. They do this to soften up their skin before they shed.
This is essential, because if they don’t soften and loosen their skin, then their shed could come off in patches and cause complications. The reduced blood flow can cause necrosis or even death.
And bathing behavior isn’t just something you see from a snake when in captivity. It’s based on their lives in the wild.
Do Corn Snakes Swim in the Wild?
Just think of the natural habitat of corn snakes. They live in the southeastern United States, anywhere between New Jersey and Florida. They don’t like hot and arid desert conditions.
They prefer fields, forests/trees, and rocky areas. In places like these, you’re going to find plenty of water. So, a corn snake’s living environment at home should reflect how it would live in its natural environment.
Corn snakes, like many other snakes, are mobile in water. They can swim around like eels.
Can Baby Corn Snakes Swim?
Baby corn snakes instinctively know how to swim/soak because of their wild ancestry. You don’t have to teach them.
However, you should be aware that baby corns are even more susceptible to cold temperatures than adults. They’re smaller and lose body heat faster.
You must be careful to make the bath the right temperature. Snakes need warmth. Your snakes might be frightened of swimming. If so, they’ll seem agitated, and like they want to get out.
The adverse effects of stressing the snake outweigh the benefits of forcing it to soak. If your snake doesn’t want to soak, whether they’re babies or adults, be sure to increase the humidity high in its enclosure. Regular water spraying helps to increase humidity levels.
Do Corn Snakes Like To Soak?
All corn snakes need is warm water and a bowl. Your aim in raising corn snakes should be to replicate or improve upon its natural habitat. That’s why corns live longer in captivity. According to the Royal Veterinary College, wild corns live up to 20 years in captivity.
You have several soaking options. You can provide a small bowl for it to sit in, or you can bathe them in the bathtub. Don’t fill up the tub too high, though. Make sure it can comfortably raise its head out of the water.
How Long Can Corn Snakes Hold Their Breath Underwater?
Corn snakes know if they haven’t had enough air. They can hold their breath for quite a while. The design of the bowl and the vivarium should be such that they can easily get out of their ‘bath.’
It’s not clear how long a snake will hold its breath, but it’s at least for a few minutes. They’ll also happily sit underwater for an hour at a time, coming up for air every few minutes. They can ‘bathe’ on their own, although it’s advisable to keep an eye on them to make sure that they’re safe.
How to Bathe a Corn Snake
It’s not just about running the faucet and letting them splash around. If you’re not careful, you could hurt or kill your snake.
Corn Snake Bath Temperature
Snakes are ectothermic. This means that they don’t produce their own body heat, so cooling them down too much with cold water is unhealthy.
Not only that, but being in water that’s too hot isn’t healthy either. If the water feels warm to you, it’s too hot for your corn snake.
The water temperature for a corn snake’s soak should be about the same as its vivarium. That’s between about 80 and 85 degrees. The water should feel slightly cooler than your skin.
It’s not supposed to be a nice warm bath like you’d have. Your body temperature is about 98 degrees, so if the water feels warm, it’s warmer than that, and that’s far too hot for a snake.
Clean, Parasite-Free Water
The water should be clean, ideally filtered or spring. Using tap or chlorinated water can irritate a corn snake’s skin.
You can either use bottled or filtered tap water. Using water that isn’t filtered can result in parasites, as pointed out by AVS.
The water level shouldn’t be too high. It should be low enough that your corn snake can easily raise its head above the water level, but high enough that it can completely submerge itself.
How to Soak a Corn Snake
Every vivarium should have a bowl of water. This bowl isn’t just for drinking, but also soaking. Preferably, put a bathing bowl in a separate enclosure. This allows you a chance to sterilize and dry the living space.
Let your corn snake move or swim around. Don’t worry because it won’t drown. Corns may choose to submerge themselves for several minutes as they are able to hold their breath.
That’s normal. You don’t have to wash them with soap or shampoo. Trust in your corn snake to know what they need to do.
After about 10-15 minutes, your corn is probably ready to come out. If you notice that it is agitated and can’t get out of the bowl on its own, you should give the snake a helping hand.
Dry it off completely before you put them back in their living space. Be aware that snakes tend to defecate after they bathe, so leave it for a few minutes to do so in a separate enclosure before you return it.
Bathing a Snake Checklist
Here’s a checklist of how to bathe a snake:
- Choose where to bathe your snake. A bathtub or bowl in your corn snake’s enclosure is preferable.
- Ensure that you have a thermometer to gauge the temperature of the water. It should be 80-85 degrees.
- If the bowl is in the vivarium, you can keep the water warm by using a heat mat underneath.
- Let it bathe in a separate area to its vivarium. Use the time that it’s soaking to clean its living space.
- Leave it to swim and float around for 10-15 minutes. This is all that’s necessary. If the snake gets agitated at any point, let it get out.
- Make sure you have a soft towel to dry it. When your snake has finished swimming in the water, it’ll likely be hungry.
And that’s all you need to know about bathing a corn snake. It will clean your snake’s scales, help with shedding, and remove snake mites.