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Can You Overfeed a Corn Snake?

Feeding your corn snake a healthy and appropriate diet is the best thing you can do to ensure optimum health. Naturally, the question arises ‘can you overfeed a corn snake?’

After all; a Corn snake is a natural carnivore so there is a chance that it feasts on too many pinkies.

Naturally, overfeeding is never a good thing for any animal species and could manifest in the form of various health issues.

The following guide gives you all the inputs you need to feed your corn snake optimally and ways to avoid overfeeding.

Can You Overfeed a Corn Snake?

Overfeeding corn snakes can make them fat
Overfeeding corn snakes can make them fat

Yes, it is very much possible for a corn snake owner to unknowingly overfeed their pet. Some pet snakes simply stop eating once they are full or might even regurgitate out the ‘extra’ food. But som corn snakes might continue eating several pinkies or fuzzies, which is never a good thing.

Overfeeding can manifest as weight gain and obesity in your corn snake. Worse, it could result in choking or breathing issues and could even be fatal for the snake.

As with most pet snakes, overfeeding a corn snake happens unintentionally. Pet owners continue feeding and the snakes simply cannot stop.

This is why every corn dnake owner should know exactly how much to feed their snake according to its age. Some snakes stop feeding once they feel full and if that is the case, you should promptly discard all uneaten food.

Different species of snakes have different needs. So, make sure to research your species. If needed, consult a herpetologist or a vet.

How Does Overfeeding Occur?

Overfeeding a corn snake could occur due to the following reasons:

Feeding Too Frequently

should allocate a reasonable feeding time for your corn snake
Should allocate a reasonable feeding time for your corn snake

Many snake parents make the mistake of feeding their snake daily. If your corn snake is refusing food, then you are probably feeding it too much and too frequently. (If you are feeding it live prey, be very careful. The prey could hurt the snake when it isn’t in a mood to eat).

Corn snakes do not need daily feeding. If you’re feeding your pet the right size of prey, then you need not feed it within 24 hours of the earlier feeding. 

Most corn snakes need 1 frozen or thawed mouse every 7 to 10 days. Naturally, this quantity will vary based on the snakes’ age and the feeder’s size. Smaller and younger corn snakes need to eat at least 2 times a week while older snakes need to eat just once a week.

Feeding too Much to Prevent Aggression

Aggression in pet corn snakes is one of the main indications that it is hungry. However, pet parents often think that almost every form of aggression stems from hunger. This can lead to overfeeding as well.

The Feeder Size is Big

a corn snake is trying to swallow a big rat
A corn snake is trying to swallow a big rat

If the size of the food is too big in proportion to the snake’s size, then it won’t get digested properly. This could result in choking and breathing troubles. Therefore, always watch your pet while it is feeding.

Your Corn Snake has a Slow Metabolism or Digestive Issues

Every snake is different. Although we have a handy feeding chart for corn snakes (given in the subsequent sections), your snake could simply have a slower metabolism. Likewise, digestive issues could cause the snake to have poor appetite in which case it won’t need too much feeding. 

What Happens When You Overfeed a Corn Snake?

If feed corn snake too much, it can cause diseases and death
If feed corn snake too much, it can cause diseases and death

When you overfeed a corn snake, you could face the following issues:

  • Some overfed snakes, simply refuse food. In case you are feeding live prey, the prey could harm your snake that doesn’t want to eat it.
  • Overfed corn snakes might also regurgitate the food. This could lead to choking or breathing issues.
  • One of the main symptoms of overfeeding snakes is unhealthy weight gain in the snake. This could restrict movement as the snake is unable to carry that extra weight.
  • Young snakes that are overfed end up growing rapidly. This could endanger them, lead to diseases, and even shorten their lifespan.
  • Overfeeding over a long period of time can lead to long-term diseases, managing which can be difficult for pet owners. The diseases can end up being fatal for the snake.

Signs of an Overfed Snake

a corn snake with obstruction due to choking might stop eating and drinking completely
A corn snake with obstruction due to choking might stop eating and drinking completely

There are several signs that indicate that your snake might be overfed:

  • One of the main signs is obesity or weight gain. Your snake could appear bloated and have a bulky belly.
  • The food bolus of undigested food in the lower intestines could result in paralysis of the hindquarters. This is because of undue pressure on the spinal cord.
  • If the snake has a hard time moving due to the extra weight, it could have difficulty doing its normal activities.
  • An overfed snake might choke over the food. This could obstruct its airways and result in breathing difficulties. Your snake might gag or cough to remove the blockage.
  • In extreme cases, a snake with obstruction due to choking might stop eating and drinking completely. This could result in dehydration, weight loss, and wasting away of the snake’s body.

How Much Do You Feed a Corn Snake?

Corn snake is about to shed, it won't eat
Corn snake is about to shed, it won’t eat

The exact quantity you feed your corn snake depends on its age, activity levels, size of the feed, etc.

  • Feed your young or small-sized corn snake 2 times weekly.
  • Feed your larger or mature snake once a week or every 10-12 days.
  • If your female snake is approaching breeding season, feed it more frequently.
  • If your snake is about to shed, then do not feed it, especially if it has been refusing food.
  • When in doubt, consult your vet to know exactly how much to feed your snake.
  • Snakes will also indicate when they are hungry. They might become more active, restless, and aggressive.
  • Your snake will also show you how hungry it was by quickly finishing the food you offer it. Thus, your snake’s reaction to the food can tell you how hungry it is. If your snake does not eat the offered feed right away, it is probably not hungry.
Corn Snake Age/WeightFeeder SizeFeeding Schedule/How Often
First few meals One small Pinky 1-3gEvery 5 to 7 days
Up to 25g1-2 Pinkies/small mouse about 6gEvery 7 to 10 days
Up to 50gRat pup/adult mouse 10-15gEvery 7 to 10 days
Up to 80gSmall rat up to 8gEvery 10 days
Up to 125g2-3 small rats with a total of 12gEvery 10 to 12 days
Up to 175 gOne large rat or 2 medium rats or 3 small rats 17-20gEvery 10 to 12 days.
175g and upRats up to 20gEvery 12-14 days.


Will a Snake Stop Eating When It’s Full?

Some snakes stop eating when full. However, others could overeat and start gaining weight. Still, others might vomit out the extra food which could increase their chances of choking.

How Do I Know If I’m Overfeeding My Snake?

If your snake has just eaten a day or up to a week before and it refuses food, then you might be overfeeding it. Another sign of overfeeding in snakes gradual weight gain. You might even notice it with a bloated belly.

When Should I Feed my Corn Snake 2 Pinkies?

Once your hatchling is slightly older it might accept 2 Pinkies. However, for baby snakes, it is best to limit them to one pinky only.

What Size Mouse to Feed Corn Snakes?

The ideal size of a mouse to feed a corn snake should be the same size around as the snake’s body at its widest point.

Key Takeaways – Can You Overfeed a Corn Snake?

Yes, it is possible for pet corn snake owners to overfeed their corn snake unknowingly. Some corn snakes continue eating even when they are full. This can be detrimental to their health in more than one way.

That is why pet snake owners should know exactly how much to feed their corn snake based on its age and also the size of the feed. Always follow your snake’s feeding schedule strictly.

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