Corn snakes are among the most popular pets for many pet owners, and many of them want to know if their Corn snake needs UVB lighting in its vivarium.
In this blog post, we will explore whether you need to have UVB light in your Corn snake enclosure.
We will also look at other lighting and heating requirements. We will also discuss the ideal temperature for your Corn snake.
Do Corn Snakes need UVB Lighting?
Although Corn snakes can live without UVB lighting, however, UVB lighting can be of immense benefit for their overall health.
Corn snakes depend on sunlight in the wild to help regulate their body temperature.
When they are not avoiding predators, they bask in the sun.
In captivity, they have no exposure to this sunlight, hence the need for UVB lighting to simulate natural sunlight.
While it is not mandatory to have it in your Corn snake’s cage, exposure to it can make your Corn snake stronger and more active.
The UVB lighting also gives your Corn snakes the vitamin D it needs and increases their appetite.
If you want your Corn snake to live a wholesome, healthy, and long life, you must ensure its environment is as close to its natural habitat as possible.
When you can emulate their environment, they feel more at home. That is how UVB light helps.
You can get a 5% T8 UVB tube or a smaller one. You can set it up on a timer for 10-12 hours daily.
Once you have this setup, the timer will do the rest by switching on and off at the set time every day.
How to install UVB lighting for Corn Snakes
The UV should be mounted on the ceiling (the basking area should be safe).
The strength of the UVB light depends on the distance between the bulb and the Corn snake.
Corn snakes prefer low-length UVB lights.
I recommend the Zoo Med Reptisun T5 HO 5.0, 22″
Zoo Med Reptisun 5.0 T5-Ho Uvb Fluorescent Lamp – 24 w – 22″
- Eliminates the risk of vitamin D3 overdose from synthetic sources
- Increases appetite and physical activity
- Help to induce reproductive behaviors
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It would help if you placed the UVB lamp above the basking area.
If with mesh, it should be 9-11” over the basking area, and if without, 12-14” above.
The UVB light is not the only requirement for your Corn snake enclosure.
There are other things you need to make sure are proper or provided. Let’s look at other items of importance.
Your Corn snake needs to differentiate between daylight and nighttime time like it is in the wild.
They need to do daytime and nighttime cycle in captivity to help regulate their natural biorhythms and encourage natural behaviors.
They need lights for at least 12 hours per day to easily differentiate between night and day.
Corn snakes are active in the wild during the evening and early mornings. To imitate this, you may have to dim the lights in the evening, so the Corn snakes know it’s time to leave their hiding spots and come out.
The Corn snakes have two natural sleeping periods. They usually sleep during the day and come out to hunt at dusk, then break the cycle at dawn when they also come out of their hiding spots.
Zoo Med Day Night Reptile Bulbs (60 watts) Combo Pack
- Pack of two bulbs – one daylight blue and one nightlight red
- The blue bulb provides heat with bright naturalistic light for the day
- An actual red glass heat lamp offers 24-hour heating
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So, the proper lighting will help them understand the time of the day and make them more comfortable.
If your Corn Snake follows a different pattern from this, it is unnatural and may mean it is not comfortable in the enclosure yet.
You need to dim the lights at the right time and provide a calm environment to get them to return to more natural behavior.
To encourage this, you must also feed them at the right time.
The most natural time to feed a Corn snake is at dawn and dusk.
If they don’t eat during these periods, then they are either cold or feeling weak.
After UVB and lighting, heating is another requirement for a corn snake environment.
Heating is of particular importance because Corn snakes are cold-blooded animals.
They rely on their environment to generate the heat their bodies need for metabolism.
If you don’t provide them with the proper heat, they may fall sick or have low energy.
Corn Snakes need a basking surface of 90°F, while the other side should have a temperature of 75°F.
You can measure the temperature with a thermometer.
The daytime temperature in the enclosure should be around 80°F. And at night, the temperature should be 70°F.
At these temperatures, your Corn snakes should be able to regulate its body correctly.
Do Corn Snakes need a heat lamp?
Yes, they do.
They need a heat lamp for their basking area, which should have a temperature of 88-92 F.
I recommend the Halogen heat bulbs of the three prominent heat lamps (halogen and incandescent, deep heat projectors and other carbon filament bulbs, and ceramic heat emitters).
Place the halogen heat bulbs on a warm hide on one side of the enclosure.
I advise you get two bulbs with a ceramic socket.
While a lamp may be enough for a juvenile corn snake, you will need two lamps as your Corn snake grows.
It would help if you also got a lamp dimmer to help reduce the intensity of the bulb in case they get too hot.
It would be best to place the heat lambs over the basking area.
Corn snakes need a humidity of 65-75% to thrive.
Humidity helps with respiratory health and shedding and prevents dehydration.
You will need to maintain proper humidity for your Corn snake to thrive and live a healthy life.
Let’s discuss how you can get and maintain the proper humidity level in your Corn snake enclosure.
- Mist daily:
Always wet the enclosure every day. You can do it in the morning and at night. You can either use a traditional spray bottle or a pressure sprayer.
- Install a humidifier:
Moreover, you can install and schedule a humidifier to mist at a set time and for specified periods. I advise you to allow it to run at night for a short period. It is best to use distilled water.
- Use dry substrate:
I recommend using only a substrate that retains moisture and stays dry. An example is Aspen.
- Leaf litter:
You can put this on top of the substrate to help retain humidity. The leaf litter can also serve as decoration.
- Always Measure the Humidity level.
Get a hydrometer and track the humidity levels in the enclosure at all times.
You should note that humidity levels rise at night and go down during the day.
Also, humidity levels will depend on how far the heat lamp is. The further away, the higher the humidity will be.
While it isn’t mandatory to have UVB lighting in your Corn snakes enclosure, it is recommended as it can improve the overall health of your Corn snakes.
And it would be best if you did not end there. Also, please take note of the proper heating and temperature requirements for a Corn snake enclosure, and ensure you have it right at all times.
Failure to do that can have health implications for your corn snake. It would help if you also wet the enclosure at least once daily to create the proper humidity for your pet to thrive.