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Corn Snake Shedding Process: How Often Do Corn Snakes Shed?




A close-up photo of a corn snake shedding its skin, revealing its vibrant scales.

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Are you curious about your corn snake’s shedding habits but don’t know where to start? Shedding is a natural and vital part of a corn snake’s life; Often, they shed every 4-6 weeks for Juvenile corn snakes and 12 weeks for adult corn.

This article will guide you through everything you need to know about the shedding process in corn snakes, from understanding why and when they begin shedding to recognizing when it’s happening and how best to care for your pet.

Trust us; unraveling the secrets of your slithering friend’s skin change will be fascinating!

Key Takeaways

  • Shedding frequency in corn snakes varies based on age, with baby corn snakes shedding more frequently (about once every few weeks) than adult corn snakes shed every three months or around 4 times a year.
  • Recognizing the symptoms of shedding in corn snakes, such as cloudy eyes, dull skin color, and changes in behavior and appetite, is important for providing proper care during this process.
  • Proper humidity levels (around 40 – 60%) and gentle handling support a successful shedding process in corn snakes.
  • The snake’s skin can be addressed by creating a humidity box using damp moss or paper towels to help soften the remaining skin and facilitate its removal.

The Corn Snake Shedding Process, How Often Do Corn Snakes Shed?

An intact shredded skin of a corn snake left inside its enclosure.

Corn snakes must shed their skin regularly, with the frequency varying depending on their age.

Shedding frequency in different age groups

The shedding frequency of corn snakes varies according to their age.

Age GroupShedding Frequency
Baby Corn SnakesYoung corn snakes tend to shed their skin more frequently, about once every few weeks, as they grow and develop. This is due to their rapid growth, a sign of a healthy snake.
Adult Corn SnakesAdult corn snakes, on the other hand, shed less frequently, approximately every 12-16 weeks. This decrease in frequency occurs as their growth rate slows down.
Older Corn SnakesAs corn snakes age, the time between their sheds increases even further, reflecting their slower metabolic rate and reduced growth, so they will only shed as they outgrow their skin.

This varying shedding frequency is a natural part of a corn snake’s life cycle and growth process. Each shedding process typically lasts 7-10 days, regardless of age. However, if improper humidity levels are present, they will not shed properly and come off in one piece. They will end up shedding in pieces that might occasionally take a little longer.

Symptoms of shedding in snakes

Spotting the shedding process in corn snakes is crucial for their wellness. Here are some symptoms to aid you in identifying when your snake is ready to shed:

  1. Their eyes turn cloudy or blueish, called the “blue phase.”
  2. Skin color becomes dull and less vibrant.
  3. The snake’s behavior changes; it may hide more often or become less active.
  4. The belly of the corn snake takes on a pinkish hue.
  5. Corn snakes tend to lose their appetite and eat less or stop eating altogether.
  6. Increased activity levels, including rubbing against enclosure items, can indicate imminent shedding.
  7. A sudden return of clear eye color signals imminent shedding within 24 – 48 hours.

Causes of shedding – A natural process

Corn snakes shed their skin as a regular part of their growth process. The snake discards old and damaged skin cells with each shedding, allowing new skin to develop. As corn snakes mature, they undergo this process less frequently – they will shed once every 12-16 weeks compared to baby corn snakes shed their skin more often.

Environmental factors such as humidity also play an essential role in the shedding process of corn snakes. Indeed, maintaining proper humidity levels inside the snake’s enclosure promotes successful shedding.

Low humidity can lead to difficulty in shedding or stuck sheds, so it is crucial to ensure suitable conditions are always present during this period. Moreover, often observed behavior like rubbing their nose on enclosure objects indicates an impending shedding cycle caused by the irritating feeling of separating from old skin layers.

Treatment and care prior to shedding and during shedding

Corn snakes require extra attention and care to ensure a smooth process during shedding. Here are some important steps to take:

  1. Monitor humidity levels: keep the humidity levels in the enclosure (around 40-60%) to keep the skin moist and aid in shedding.
  2. Provide a shedding aid: Place a damp hide box or a piece of damp moss in the enclosure to create a humid microclimate that can help them shed by softening the old skin and making it easier for the snake to shed.
  3. Avoid handling: Refrain from handling your snake during shedding, which can cause stress and disrupt the shedding process.
  4. Offer plenty of fresh water: Make sure your snake has access to clean water. Drinking water is essential for hydration during shedding.
  5. Remove sharp objects: Remove any sharp or rough objects from the enclosure that could cause injury or damage to the snake’s delicate skin during shedding.
  6. Observe closely: Pay attention to your snake’s behavior and appearance throughout the shedding process. Look for any signs of stuck sheds or incomplete sheds, such as retained eye caps or patches of old skin left behind.
  7. Seek veterinary help if needed: If you notice any difficulties or complications during shedding, such as repeated incomplete sheds or excessive difficulty removing the old skin, consult a reptile veterinarian for guidance and assistance.

Proper Care for When Corn Snakes Shed Their Skin

Corn snake shedding its skin in a dark corner.

Maintaining proper humidity levels and not handling your snake unless necessary during shedding is crucial for its health and well-being. Learn more about the necessary care steps to make shedding more successful.

Maintaining proper temperature and humidity levels

Corn snakes require specific humidity levels in their enclosure to support a successful shedding process. Proper humidity levels help ensure the snake’s old skin comes off smoothly and doesn’t stick to its body.

You can use a hygrometer to monitor levels and adjust to maintain the right humidity. The ideal range for corn snakes is around 40-60% humidity, which mimics their natural environment.

To achieve this, you can provide a large water bowl for the snake to soak in and increase moisture by misting or using a reptile humidifier. Proper humidity levels can help your corn snake shed its skin without any issues or discomfort. Corn snake temperature should be around 75-85°F

Handling a corn snake while it’s shedding

Handling your corn snake carefully is important during the shedding process. Avoid handling them too much during this time, as the new layer of skin may be sensitive and prone to tearing. If you need to handle your snake, ensure your hands are clean and free of any lotions or substances that could irritate their skin.

Also, avoid pulling on loose pieces of shed skin, which can cause injury. Providing a calm and stress-free environment for your snake will help them feel more comfortable during the shedding process, allowing them to shed their entire skin successfully.

Post-shedding care

After your corn snake has completed the shedding process, it is important to provide some post-shedding care. This will help ensure your snake’s new skin remains healthy and free from any issues.

One essential aspect of post-shedding care is ensuring the corn snakes enclosure is clean and free from old sheddings. You can gently remove any remaining shed skin if necessary. It is also important to continue providing proper humidity levels in the enclosure to maintain good skin health for your corn snake.

Additionally, monitor your snake closely for abnormal shedding or complications, such as stuck sheds or incomplete sheds. By providing diligent post-shedding care, you are helping your corn snake stay healthy and comfortable throughout its growth process.

Common Shedding Problems And What Snakes Need

Intact shedded skin of a corn snake.

Excessive shedding, stuck shed, and using a humidity box are common concerns and FAQs about corn snake shedding.

Excessive shedding – How Long to Shed

Excessive shedding in corn snakes can be a cause for concern. While shedding is normal, if your snake is shedding more often than usual or the shed skin is coming off in pieces, it may show signs your snake has an underlying problem.

Excessive shedding can be caused by stress, inadequate nutrition, or improper humidity levels in their enclosure. It’s important to monitor your snake’s shedding patterns and address any issues promptly to ensure their health and well-being. It is important to realize that every snake is different, and your snake is going to show you it is not happy with its behavior.

Corn Snakes need help when stuck in the shed

The stuck shed is a common issue that corn snakes may experience during the shedding process. This occurs when some areas of the old skin do not come off completely, resulting in stuck or retained skin patches.

The stuck shed can be problematic if left unaddressed, as it can restrict blood flow and lead to complications for the snake. To help your snake with a stuck shed, you can create a humidity box by placing a damp towel or moss inside a hide box within its enclosure.

The increased humidity will aid in softening the remaining skin, making it easier for your snake to remove. It’s important to provide proper care and attention to prevent any potential difficulties associated with a stuck shed and ensure your corn snake’s well-being.

Using a humidity box to soften the snake’s skin

Snake humidity box aiding corn snake's shedding process.

You can create a humidity box in their enclosure to support a successful shedding process for your corn snake. A humidity box is a small enclosed space that provides higher moisture levels to help facilitate shedding in young snakes and old snakes.

You can make a humidity box by placing damp sphagnum moss or paper towels inside a hidden container with an entrance large enough for your snake to enter. The moisture from the substrate will create a humid microclimate within the box, making it easier for your corn snake’s skin to come off smoothly.

This method can be especially helpful if you notice your snake having difficulty shedding or experiencing a stuck shed. Remember to monitor and maintain the humidity levels in the enclosure overall, ensuring they are appropriate for your corn snake’s needs throughout the shedding process.

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Corn snake shedding from start to finish.

Conclusion on when a snake is about to shed and abnormal shedding issues.

In conclusion, understanding the shedding process in corn snakes is crucial for their overall health and well-being. By recognizing the frequency, symptoms, causes, and proper care during shedding, snake owners can ensure a successful and stress-free experience for their reptiles.

Proper humidity levels, gentle handling, and post-shedding care support the process. By addressing common concerns like excessive shedding or stuck shed and using techniques such as a humidity box when necessary, snake owners can provide the best care for their corn snakes during this natural growth phase.

Check out this study about corn snake’s first shed and why it’s chemically different. (Source)

FAQs When Corn Snakes Start to Shed it’s skin. How Long Does It Take?

1. How often do corn snakes shed their skin?

Corn snakes typically shed their skin every 4-6 weeks, although the frequency can vary depending on age, diet, and overall health.

2. What are the signs that a corn snake is about to shed its skin?

Signs that a corn snake is preparing to shed include cloudy or opaque eyes, dull or faded colors on their scales, decreased appetite, and increased hiding behavior.

3. Does a corn snake’s shedding process normally take a long time?

The shedding process in corn snakes usually takes about 1-2 weeks from start to finish. However, it is important to consult a reptile veterinarian for guidance if the process takes longer or complications (such as retained eye caps).

4. How can I help my corn snake with its shedding process?

To assist your corn snake during shedding, provide a humidity level of around 50-60% in their enclosure by misting it with water or using a humidifier. Additionally, you can offer them objects like damp moss or a moist hide box to aid in the removal of old skin layers.

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