Corn snakes need to bathe and relax in water to keep them healthy. There’s much more to giving corns access to water than just staying clean.
Corns enjoy bathing in water. It softens and loosens the skin before the shedding process begins. Corn snakes should spend about 15 minutes soaking in a warm bowl of water. Exposure to water can also assist with removing infestations, such as ticks and mites.
We’ll look at why snakes like water and how to bathe your corn snake correctly. This guide covers everything from the temperature of the water to how and where they should be bathed.
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 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 a corn snake. They live in the south-eastern United States, anywhere between New Jersey and Florida. They don’t like hot and arid deserts.
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 that.
Corn snakes, like many other snakes, are mobile in water. They can swim around like eels.
Can Baby Corn Snakes Swim?
The babies of corn snakes naturally know how to bathe because of their wild ancestry. You don’t have to teach them to swim.
However, you should be aware that baby corns are even more susceptible to cool temperatures than older ones. They’re smaller and lose their body heat quicker.
You must be careful to make the bath the correct temperature. Snakes have preferences. Your snakes might be frightened of swimming. If so, they’ll seem agitated, and like they want to get out straight away.
The adverse effects of stressing them out far outweigh the benefits of forcing them to bathe. If your snakes don’t like to soak, whether they’re babies or adults, make sure to increase the humidity high in their enclosure. Regular water spraying helps increase humidity levels.
Do Corn Snakes Like Baths?
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 than in the wild. According to the UK’s Royal Veterinary College, wild corns live up to 20 years in captivity.
You have several bathing options. You can provide a small bowl for them to sit in, or you can bathe them in the bathtub. Don’t fill up the tub too high, though. Make sure they can comfortably raise their heads out of the water.
How Long Can Corn Snakes Hold Their Breath Underwater?
Corn snakes, like any other animal, 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 even kill your snake.
What Temperature Should a Snake Bath Be?
Snakes are ectothermic. This means that they don’t produce their own body heat, so cooling them down too much with cold water isn’t healthy.
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 snake.
The water temperature for a corn snake’s bath should be about the same as the 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.
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 Bathe a Snake
Every vivarium should have a bowl of water. This bowl isn’t just for drinking, but also bathing. 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 they 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 ten to fifteen minutes, they’re probably ready to come out. If you notice that they are agitated and can’t get out of the bowl on their own, you should give them a helping hand.
Dry them off completely before you put them back in their living space. Be aware that snakes tend to defecate after they bathe, so leave them for a few minutes to do so in a separate enclosure before you put them back.
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 their 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 they get agitated at any point, let it get out.
- Make sure you have a soft towel to dry it afterwards. When your snake has finished swimming in the water, it’ll likely be hungry. Here’s some advice on what corn snakes prefer to eat.
And that’s all you need to know about bathing a corn snake.