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REPTILE / new pets

A Set-up Guide for Your New Kingsnake, Milk Snake or Corn Snake

Tips for home, health and fun


Four things to know about your kingsnake, milk snake or corn snake

  • They can live more than 20 years
  • Kingsnakes and corn snakes grow between 4 and 6 feet long
  • Milk snakes can grow between 18 inches to 6 feet long
  • They are good choices for first-time snake pet parents

Your kingsnake, milk snake or corn snake’s habitat

Corn snakes can live with other corn snakes. King snakes and milk snakes must be housed alone. One fully-grown snake will need a terrarium of at least 20 gallons, and possibly much larger, with a screened lid. Multiple snakes will require more space.

What to put in your kingsnake, milk snake or corn snake’s habitat

  • Line the bottom of the terrarium with 2 inches of aspen reptile bedding.
  • Scoop the poop frequently and treat your snake to fresh bedding once a month.
  • Provide a wide, shallow water dish for your snake to soak in.
  • Stock the tank with branches for hiding and climbing.
  • Add a rock or wood hiding place on the side of the terrarium that will be the cool side.
  • Make sure nothing in the terrarium will wobble or topple if your pet slithers over it.
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Heat & lights

  • Your snake’s terrarium should have a warm side and a cool side. During the day, keep the habitat temperature between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit on the warm side, and between 70 F and 75 F on the cool side. At night, the whole terrarium should be between 65 F and 70 F. A heat bulb or ceramic heater can keep the warm end at the right temperature. Use a thermometer at either end to help you regulate the habitat overall.
  • Habitat humidity should range between 30% and 50%. Use a hygrometer — a device that measures moisture in the air — to keep track.
  • Kingsnakes, corn snakes and milk snakes are nocturnal, but they need lighting that mimics day and a night. Use a fluorescent bulb in the habitat to mimic daylight for 12 hours a day.
  • At night, switch to a night-specific bulb so you can watch your pet with minimum disturbance.
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Help keep your snake healthy

Try not to handle new snakes for three or four days to give them a chance to get acclimated to their new surroundings. Whether your snake is new or settled-in, be sure to contact a vet if you notice any of these symptoms of illness or distress:

  • More time spent hiding
  • Eating or drinking less; weight loss
  • Shedding problems; discolored skin
  • Discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth
  • Runny droppings for more than two days


Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured™ program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well-being of our pets. Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.

The PetSmart Promise: If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.