Whether you are a beginner when it comes to owning snakes or you’ve had quite a few in the past, the candy corn snake is a great reptile to own. They are very docile and actually seem to enjoy the attention they get from humans. They are also easy to care for and do not mind being handled.
The candy cane corn snake is sometimes referred to as the common corn snake. It is not an aggressive snake which makes it ideal to keep as a pet especially for beginner snake owners. A full grown adult candy corn snake can grow up to five feet. They can live as long as thirty years in captivity. The candy cane corn snake is sometimes referred to as a red rat snake. It has red and white stripes that resemble a candy cane, of course.
Candy cane corn snakes are not venomous and since they prey on small rodents in the wild, they are actually quite helpful to have around barns and other farm buildings. While these snakes don’t mind being handled, they are great climbers and may try to escape if their enclosure is not secure. Here is some more information to help you care for this beautiful, docile creature.
Candy Cane Corn Snake Colors
Candy cane corn snakes are selectively bred for amelanism. Amelanism is an abnormality that affects pigmentation or skin coloring. In candy corn snakes it is a lack of pigmentation that gives it its specific “candy cane” colors.This breed looks almost like a Christmas treat with red, white, and pink patches against a white background.
Candy canes typically have an orange coloration around the neck area as they grow older. This breed also develops a lot of yellow or orange in the ground color.
Usually, they have bright contrasts in colors during their hatchling stage but fade in coloration with maturity.
Candy Cane Corn Snake Genetics
There are three main colors for the candy canes, red, white, and pink. The bright colors such as red and white result from the amelanistic trait, which is a recessive trait among corn snakes.
Using a Punnett Square for corn snake genes, there is only about a 2 in 16 chance that a hatchling is born amelanistic. If you are not familiar with what the Punnett square is, it is a square diagram that is used to predict genotypes in an animal that will be crossbred.
The early candy cane corn snakes were produced using light creamsicle which is an amelanistic hybrid from the Great Plains rat snake bred with Miami Phase corn snakes.
The only main difference between the variety of breeds in corn snakes is their coloration of skin. This is important information to know if you plan on breeding your corn snakes, but for the average snake owner caring for your snake is more important.
How Much is a Candy Cane Corn Snake?
Candy Cane Corn snakes are relatively inexpensive. You can buy them from pet shops such as Petco or online retailers for about $70. With regular corn snakes, they’ll run around $30.
Even though the purchase price for the snakes is quite reasonable, that’s not the only expense you can expect when caring for your snake. You’ll also have other expenses such as the glass aquarium, heat lamp setup, bedding, caging materials and furniture, food, veterinary, and an under tank heater. The setup costs to acquire the material at first will cost a few hundred dollars.
However, the cost of maintaining a Candy Cane is very cheap. It costs only $10 to $12 a month for food because they eat about 4 to 5 mice per month. And veterinary costs are infrequent but cost $75 to $125 per visit. That said, owning a snake is much more affordable than taking care of a cat or dog.
What Do Baby Candy Cane Corn Snakes Look Like?
Baby candy corn snakes hatch at around 8 to 12 inches long. At a young age, their scales are full of color with patches of red stripes throughout their body. They are often mistaken for venomous copperheads.
However, these candy canes have much brighter markings and vivid red or orange eyes. While many people get squeamish when they see a snake, let alone a bunch of squirming baby snakes, snake lovers think that baby candy corn snakes are quite adorable.
Candy Cane Corn Snake Shedding
As your Candy Cane starts to mature, they begin to shed their skin. The scientific term for this process is called ecdysis, but it is also referred to as shedding or molting. Shedding has benefits to the snake in that it allows the snake to grow larger and it also helps it get rid of parasites that have attached to the skin. Snakes shed when their skin has become stretched as their bodies grow.
When they are young, hatchlings will only shed about once a week. As they grow older, the shedding will occur less frequently. Some adult snakes only shed once every couple of months.
You can predict the shedding by paying attention to any changes in their skin and eye color. Before the shedding starts, they will enter the “blue phase.” Their eyes begin to turn a light cloudy blue color and their skin becomes dull and dark.
When your snake is ready to shed, it will usually shed its body skin off in one piece. To prepare for a successful shed, it is helpful to provide the snake with a water dish large enough for them to soak themselves in. This will moisten up their hide and make the shedding process easier. Also, if you add a bit of moss hide and let them slither through it this is helpful in the molting process.
The shedding process can take anywhere from 30 minutes up to an hour for your snake to fully shed. Even if there are pieces left, the skin is usually softened, where you can gently scrape the dead skin off. Once the skin is off, their eyes will clear up, and their scale colors will be normal again. You may not notice it, but your snake has grown!
Candy Cane Corn Snake facts
- The average size of an adult candy cane is 4 to 6 feet long
- You can expect your snake to have a life expectancy of about 20 years if you care for it properly and it doesn’t experience any unexpected health issues.
- The candy cane corn snake loves to eat frozen-thawed rodents such as mice. You can feed your snake one of these tasty treats about once a week.
- Young candy canes like to snack on small frogs and lizards.
- Corn snakes don’t raise their offspring. Once their babies are hatched it’s adios. These youngsters have to fend for themselves. Of course, this isn’t that difficult in captivity but it does present plenty of challenges in the wild.
- Candy canes are not venomous snakes. If one does bite you, it may hurt a bit, but it won’t cause you any lasting injury.
How to Breed Candy Cane Corn Snakes?
The best way to truly breed more candy canes is to have them mate with another candy cane of the opposite sex. However, if that isn’t possible, you’ll need to take your candy cane snake and breed them with another amelanistic breed of snake. This removes the chance of the hatchling having any dark pigmentation.
From there, it’s about pairing snakes with both similar characters to the Candy cane, such as bright colorations along with red or pink eyes. With regards to genetics, dominant genes have a higher chance of transferring than recessive genes.
For example, you can take an albino corn snake who is also amelanistic with similar colors and pair it with a Candy Cane. Depending on who’s got the stronger genes will determine the likelihood of breeding a Candy Cane. It’s quite challenging to breed two non-candy canes together to create one.
Candy Cane Corn Snake Eyes
The eyes of the candy cane corn snake are usually bright and are either bold red or light garnet pink. They will typically have the same color eyes as the spots on their skin. However, like all breeds, the candy cane’s eyes change colors when shedding turning into a cloudy blue color.
Other Popular Corn Snake Morphs
Corn snakes are the most frequently bred snakes in the United States. With selective breeding, there are hundreds of morphs or variations. Here is a list of other common morphs besides the candy cane.
Albino corn snake: Abino corn snakes are amelanistic, meaning they lack dark pigmentation in their skin, the black pigment in particular. As a result of this, their skin is orange, yellow, red, and white. They also have bright orange, red, and pink eyes.
Snow corn snake: Snow corn snakes are an amelanistic snake with vivid yellow and pink colors. Their eyes are a bold pink with darker pink pupils.
Black corn snake: The black corn snakes are an anerythristic type meaning they lack bright color pigmentation in their skin. Most snakes have a red or yellow coloration, but these are just dark gray or black.
Okeetee corn snake: The Okeetee snakes have deep reddle saddles with sleek jet-black borders and originally were bred from corn snakes in South Carolina.
Lavender corn snake: The lavender corn was produced in the 1980s and had a range between a dark grayish color to a lively pastel lavender. They are bred through a snow corn snake with a wild-caught female.
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