The Best Beginner Corn Snake Enclosure Setup

Are you getting a corn snake, but worried you’re setting up the tank wrong? This is a critical step to keep your new snake healthy and safe. Without the proper equipment your new friend could get sick, or worse!

Here’s the exact corn snake enclosure setup I recommend for beginners. We picked high quality, budget friendly equipment to make your snake feel at home. I’ve been breeding corn snakes for years, and this is everything you need to bring your corn snake home safely.

Corn Snake Tanks and Screens

After trying out more expensive reptile enclosures and cheap plastic tubs, we think a standard size aquarium is the perfect middle ground for beginners. It doesn’t look fancy, or have special glass doors on the front. But it’s affordable, and the standard sizing makes finding a screen cover and clips a breeze. 

This 20 gallon long aquarium is just the right size for a baby corn snake. Go with a 40 gallon breeder size for an adult snake.

Make sure you get the right size screen cover  for the tank you choose. The screen clips will fit any tank. Get 6 clips for either tank size to be sure your lid is secure.

Heat and Temperature

After setting up 100+ snake enclosures, we think the Zoo Med ReptiTherm is still the best heating pad, and ThermoPro TP50 is the best thermometer/hygrometer for your corn snake enclosure. Add in a ReptiTemp Digital Thermostat Controller and you have safe and reliable heat to keep your cold-blooded critters feeling toasty and warm. It’s the perfect way to keep your tank at just the right temperature.

Substrate, Water, and Hides

Rock shaped reptile hide for snake tank on aspen mulch substrate
Rock shaped reptile hide on aspen mulch substrate

We love lining the tank with an aspen mulch substrate because it’s cheap, odorless, and makes cleanup a breeze. Pick up a couple 4qt bags and you’ll have plenty to get you started. Then add a simple water bowl and a couple basic hides (for the hot and cool ends) to complete your bare-bones setup.

Corn Snake Tank Decorations

Reptile terrarium climbing branch decoration
Add some cover and climbing branches to your snake enclosure setup

Adding some foliage is a great way to get your snake to be more fun to watch. Snakes are secretive creatures. They feel more secure when they have plenty of brush to hide in. A secure snake moves around and explores the cage more often, so you’ll get to watch them in action. Otherwise they may just stay inside their hide all day and only come out at dusk.

Snake Feeding Tongs

Zoo Med snake feeding tongs
Stainless steel snake feeding tongs

Tongs aren’t just for keeping your fingers safe from snake bites. They also help your snake eat better because they see in thermal vision. What happens when your big hot hand is holding a teeny tiny mouse? It looks like a giant rat or a predator and that’s scary! But don’t worry, tongs are a simple way to fix the problem.