You probably already know snakes shed, but you may not know what to expect from your corn snake. You might be wondering how often they’ll shed, are there do’s and don’ts when they’re shedding? How can you tell they’re getting ready to shed? Can I hold them while they’re in the shedding process? I will answer most of these questions and more.
So, just how often do corn snakes shed?
How often do corn snakes shed their skin?
Corn snakes, one of the most popular pet snakes, shed at different rates depending on what stage of life they are in. When a corn snake is young and still rapidly growing, they’ll shed every 3-5 weeks. As they get older, this will spread out to every 5-8 weeks approximately and continue to spread out till they’re an adult where their growth rate will drop significantly, and they will only shed about 4-6 times a year.
How do I know if my corn snake is shedding?
A corn snakes shedding process will take place over 7-10 days, give or take a few days. During this time, you’ll notice a few things.
What to look for:
- When corn snakes are getting ready to shed, their skin will start to look very dull.
- They will go through what we call a blue phase, in which their eyes will look like they’ve turned blue, or in the case of albino corns’ their eyes will be a milky purple.
- You might see your corn snake rubbing themselves on rocks and other rough surfaces, this is to help loosen and remove the old shed.
- They can’t see as well during this time so, they might seem agitated, they may even stay out of sight for a few days. This is normal.
- They will sometimes refuse to eat during this time. Don’t worry, it’s completely normal, and once through their shed, they’ll be ready to eat.
Proper humidity levels when your snake is shedding:
You’ve noticed the signs your corn snake is going into the shed. Do you need to adjust the humidity levels?
Corn snakes like a humidity level between 30-50%, but 50% is optimum. If you can keep it around 50% all the time, this will help them shed, and considerably reduce any shedding problems that may occur due to humidity.
Can I handle my corn snake while it’s shedding?
Can you handle your snake while it’s in shed? It can be tempting but it’s better that you resist handling your snake during a shed unless necessary. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to hold your snake, be very gentle as not to tear the skin, it is very fragile.
Keep in mind that your snake is getting ready to go through the process of removing its entire skin. This is a very uncomfortable and stressful time for them. It’s a good idea to give your corn a little space. It is a relatively short period, you’ll be enjoying your snake in no time, and you’ll be oohing & aweing at your corns fresh new skin!
How long after shedding can I handle my snake?
Good news! You may have to wait while they shed, but once they’ve finished shedding, you can enjoy your snake right away.
Why Is my corn snake shedding so much?
It’s perfectly normal for a young corn snake to shed what feels like all the time. As long as their shed is in one piece, you have no reason to worry.
Well, what about if you have an adult that used to shed every few months and is now shedding more frequently. As long as there isn’t a problem with the shed, this is ok. Your corn may be more active or going through a little growth spurt.
We’re still researching the shedding process, but a good rule of thumb is that if it’s in one piece and you don’t notice anything else concerning, you have a healthy snake who likes changing their skin a little more often and showing off their bright new scales!
My snake is shedding in pieces, is this normal?
No, shedding in pieces is not normal. You always want whole sheds.
The good news is, the majority of the time, it’s an easy fix. When there is a shedding problem, a humidity level check will usually do the trick. You’ll most likely find that it wasn’t humid enough. To fix this, you can add a larger water dish or mist your corn snakes enclosure when you see signs they’re going into shed.
This will help keep the humidity levels up. If the humidity levels are where they should be, make sure the temps are right. Your corn snake should have a cooler end that sits between 72-80F, and a warmer end that should be between 80-87F with a basking spot of 83-87F.
My corn has stuck shed what do I do?
Stuck shed does happen, and it can be dangerous. You don’t want it causing any damage, but you can help your snake with a few simple tricks.
You can give them a soak for about 20mins. Make sure they have something to wrap themselves around like a rock. This will help them feel secure and comfortable.
You can use a small wet rag or wet paper towels and let them run through it a few times to remove stubborn shed.
Another great way to help with retained shed is a humidity box.
What is a humidity box, and should I have one?
A humidity box is a great thing to have and very easy to make.
You can use any plastic container with a lid, you can pick this up at your local dollar store. Cut a hole in the side of it, and make sure to soften the edges. Add some type of moisture-retaining material like moss, wet it down, and let them sit in there for about half-hour, and the moisture will help them shed.
You can keep your humidity box in the enclosure at all times so your snake can always have the humidity they need.
Corn snakes shedding is a very routine and natural process, that can be fun to look forward to, you’ll watch them grow, and their colors change with each shed.
If you are having problems with stuck shed, once you fix all husbandry issues, stuck shed will usually stop happening, but if it continues, you’ll want to schedule a visit with your local exotic vet.