You’ll need to create a ‘photogradient’ that varies from light to shade. Fit a 2 to 7 per cent UV tube at the hot end.

Snakes are cold blooded and get heat from their surroundings. In the wild, snakes move between warm and cooler spots to regulate their temperature, this is called thermo-regulation.

The reptile was finally found behind a piece of plastic panel on the passenger side of the car on Halloween night.

It went missing in June shortly before she sold her car. She came forward to claim ownership after reading about the couple pulling over.

Heat should be provided using either a heat mat with thermostat or a bulb with a dimming stat on the roof of the vivarium. If you decide to heat the vivarium with a bulb a guard must be used as snakes coud easily burn themselves when moving around the vivarium. Heat mats should only cover between a third and a half of the floor space to allow your snake to thermo-regulate. This heat mat should be regulated by a thermostat to ensure that it does not overheat.

Monitor their health daily and seek advice from your specialist reptile vet if you’re concerned.

After many generations of selective breeding, domesticated corn snakes are found in a wide variety of different colors and patterns. These result from recombining the dominant and recessive genes that code for proteins involved in chromatophore development, maintenance, or function. New variations, or morphs, become available every year as breeders gain a better understanding of the genetics involved.

They pulled over but continued their journey when they failed to find him.

Make sure it’s a secure and solid material that holds heat and will prevent escape.

Wild corn snakes prefer habitats such as overgrown fields, forest openings, trees, palmetto flatwoods and abandoned or seldom-used buildings and farms, from sea level to as high as 6,000 feet. Typically, these snakes remain on the ground until the age of 4 months old but can ascend trees, cliffs and other elevated surfaces.[19] They can be found in the southeastern United States ranging from New Jersey to the Florida Keys and as far west as Texas.

Corn snakes can become used to regular handling. Gently lift them with one hand underneath the animal near the head and another hand nearer the tail, but never grab them.

Central Motorway Police Group came across the couple on the hard shoulder of the M5, between junctions seven and eight, at about 21:00 BST on Thursday.

All snakes may bite under stress or if they smell food. However, they’re not venomous.

An adult needs a vivarium that matches their length, allowing them to stretch out fully, and the minimum width and height must be a third of their length.

Most corn snakes for sale in the UK are bred in captivity. However, it’s still important their captive environment mimics the wild as much a possible.

They are also sometimes called the red rat snake. 

Like most reptiles, they are normally housed in an enclosed cage with glass doors, known as a vivarium. They have specific requirements, therefore it's essential that the environment within the vivarium is controlled precisely and monitored at all times.

Claire Brealey and her partner Gavin Reed became aware of the snake when it wrapped around their dog's legs as they drove home on the M5 in Worcestershire on Thursday.

Corn Snakes in the wild mostly stay hidden and out of sight during the day seeking shelter beneath logs and rocks, they do come out on warm days to soak up the heat of the sun. At night they are more active, climbing trees and going underground into rodent burrows to hunt. When threatened, Corn Snakes will often strike repeatedly while vibrating their tail, this is sufficient to fool predators. 

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"We unclipped this thing and there he was, perfectly healthy. It was bizarre."

Healthy corn snakes flick their tongue frequently and have clear, bright eyes. Their skin should be smooth without blisters.

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Corn Snake

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There is no specific UV requirement for lighting of any kind for corn snakes; however snakes will react differently to the different amount of daylight. It is good practice to mimic the seasonal changes that the snake would find in the wild, meaning 12-14 hours of daylight in the summer months reducing down to 8 hours in autumn.

Download our guide on caring for a corn snake (PDF 420KB)

There are tens of thousands of possible compound morphs. Some of the most popular are listed.

In colder regions, snakes hibernate during winter. However, in the more temperate climate along the coast they shelter in rock crevices and logs during cold weather, and come out on warm days to soak up the heat of the sun. During cold weather, snakes are less active and therefore hunt less.

Mice should be their most common food, but you can feed them other prey such as suitably sized quails or rats.

Download the corn snake care sheet now (PDF 420KB)

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These snakes come in a variety of patterns and colours depending on the geographic location and the age of the snake. They are usually orange, red/yellowish brown. The belly is checkered with white and black markings, resembling a piano keyboard or Indian corn. Other distinguishing characteristics include a spear-shaped blotch on top of the head, pointing toward the nose, black stripes on either side of the bottom of the tail and smooth scales.

Reptiles require a ‘thermogradient’ - meaning placing a guarded heat lamp at one end of the vivarium and leaving the opposite end cool.

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The corn snake is named for the species' regular presence near grain stores, where it preys on mice and rats that eat harvested corn.[7] The Oxford English Dictionary cites this usage as far back as 1675. Some sources maintain that the corn snake is so-named because the distinctive, nearly-checkered pattern of the snake's belly scales resembles the kernels of variegated corn.[8][9] Regardless of the name's origin, the corn reference can be a useful mnemonic for identifying corn snakes.

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The basking zone should range from 28 to 30 degrees C, and the cool end 20 to 24 degrees C. Monitor temperatures daily using digital thermometers at each end.

Make sure prey is thoroughly defrosted and the width is no greater than 1.5 times the widest part of the snake’s body.