We've had our cornsnake 2.5 years and she has always eaten once a week, no issues the entire time. About 7 weeks ago,

Expert's Assistant chatimg
Customer: Hi. We've had our cornsnake 2.5 years and she has always eaten once a week, no issues the entire time. About 7 weeks ago, she stopped eating and tried like crazy to get out of her cage. She succeeded and was out for 2 weeks. She came back and has been in her home for a week, still not eating. The pet store said 'sometimes they just do that'. Is that true? I keep making the offer, inside and out of the cage. I've put a shield around her glass so it's private, she has her warm rock and I don't know what else to try. Any suggestions?
Answered by Anna in 3 mins 11 years ago
30+ years of experience

17,034 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary


Some additional information will help me to answer your question.

Are you certain your snake is a female?

What temperature gradient do you have in the cage?

What have you tried feeding her?

Do have another heat source besides the rock?

Is she a special color variant?

Is there any swelling anywhere on her body?

Thank you.


Are you certain your snake is a female? No, that is what we were told when we purchased her

What temperature gradient do you have in the cage? Not certain, we were told that the heating element beneath the rock was sufficient when we purchased her and have not had any issues as a result.

What have you tried feeding her? Frozen, from what we were feeding her back down to pinkies. Even read that rinsing them off would help and has not.

Do have another heat source besides the rock? No

Is she a special color variant? Not sure what you mean, she's bright orange and has shed twice since she has not eaten

Is there any swelling anywhere on her body? No and she is still very active, taking her out to hold her each day both myself and the kids as we always have.
Thank you for getting back to me. I'm working on your answer, and will post it as soon as it is typed up. I appreciate your patience.

Please don't reply to this post as that can lock me out so I won't be able to post your answer.

I'll be back shortly.

Thank you for waiting. Unfortunately, pet stores often give out incorrect information on care of reptiles, and I'm afraid that has also happened to you. after months to years of things not being quite right, problems result.It's not your fault, but there are some changes you'll need to make.

Heated rocks are dangerous. The information stating that they are good is only put out by the manufacturers of heated rocks. Snakes and lizards do not have very good heat sensors on their undersides. That means even if the heated rock is maintaining the temperature it is set on, burns can result. The snake simply doesn't know when its underside has become too hot. In the meantime, the air in the cage can be too cold, and the snake stays on the rock even longer. An under-the-tank heat pad is a better solution. The snake has no direct contact with it, and it warms the air above the pad. You can also use an overhead heat source. Regardless of what you use, proper temperatures are very important. You should have a temperature gradient of 75 to 85*F (23 to 29.5* C) in the non-basking areas. A basking area that's warmer (around 85 -90*F or 29.5 to 32*C)) than the rest of the enclosure is also needed in the day time. An overhead basking light is an easy way to provide that. Any sort of lamp that will take a 40-60 watt incandescent bulb (or you can buy a ceramic light fixture made just for reptiles). If you live in an area that has farm stores, you can buy a metal light fixture made to keep baby chicks warm for just a few dollars. Don't buy the accompanying bulb, however. You need an ordinary incandescent bulb in the basking light. Home improvement stores and hardware stores also sell similar lights as work lights. You’ll want to invest in a good digital thermometer to accurately measure temperatures.

Make sure your snake also has a hide box, a water bowl big enough to bathe in (it doesn’t matter where you place it), and a branch to climb on. If you take a small branch from outside rather than buying it from a pet store, it will need to be disinfected. There is a lot of conflicting and false information available. Here's a site specific to corn and rat snakes with lots of good information, including how to disinfect a branch.

Corn snakes

Because your snake hasn't been eating, she may be a bit dehydrated. Buy an electrolyte solution. In the USA, that would be unflavored Pedialyte (yes, the kind for human infants). Prepare a shallow bath consisting of 1/2 water and 1/2 electrolyte solution. Soak your snake for about 20 to 30 minutes. Reptiles can absorb the electrolytes and fluids through their vents, so make the water deep enough to cover the vent.Be sure to supervise closely.

You were on the right track by rinsing off the frozen mouse. Some snake keepers also report improved appetite when they offer a mouse that has been what is called 'brained.' A clean needle is inserted into the mouse's head until brain fluids leak out. There is an odor to the fluids that stimulates the snake's appetite. Also, be sure the mice you feed are completely thawed. You can even warm them a bit by dipping in warm water. Some snakes respond to a different kind of food. You might try a small lizard, such as an anole. However, if the snake won't eat it, you'll have to have some provision for it afterward.

The two sheds are somewhat of a concern. Since she hasn't beene ating, she probably hasn't grown enough that she should ahve shed twice. Abnormal sheds can indicate an underlying health problem. If you try the emasures above, and your snake doesn't eat within another week, or if she sheds again, it woudl eb ebst to have a vet examine her. Thsi link will take you to a directory of reptile vets:


The desire to escape often indicates a snake has reached sexual maturity. A male will want to get out to search fro a mate. A female may need to lay eggs. a female will lay eggs (infertile ones) even if she has not been with a male. A male snake that is intent on mating will often lose his appetite during breeding season, so that is another possibility. Corn snakes usually reach sexual maturity between 18 months and 3 years of age, or when they get to be approximately 2 feet long.

Less likely, is a condition called corn snake anorexia. Because corn snakes are easy to breed and come in interesting colors and patterns, people who breed them have resorted to inbreeding to get and keep those colors. This has led to genetic defects in corn snakes. The most common defects involve eating. Some babies are actually unable to eat at all, and simply waste away at a young age. Others may not have a good appetite and will have to be coaxed and prodded to eat throughout their lives. Some seem to able to only eat small lizards. This rarely first shows up in an adult snake that has been eating well, but it's not impossible. I simply wanted you to be aware of it. Don't be concerned about this until all other possibilities have been ruled out.

If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope a few simple steps will entice your snake to eat.


(If you find my answer helpful, please click on the green ACCEPT button. Thank you.)

Read less
17,034 satisfied customers
30+ years of experience
+ years of experience

17034 satisfied customers



Licensed veterinarians

31,131 satisfied customers

Pearl avatar
Pearl Wilson, Veterinarian's Assistant
116 Veterinarians are online right now.
Related Veterinary Questions
She is not moving much. I found her in her water bowl, she
Dr. Sara
315 Satisfied Customers
Cornsnake that we thought had passed, but now is lifting his
Dr Adrien
1,648 Satisfied Customers
I have a beautiful corn snake, he used to have a great
Associate Veterinarian
1,845 Satisfied Customers
My 6 month old bearded dragon is going crazy in her new
Lead Veterinarian
86 Satisfied Customers
I just got a ball python last Wednesday. She's 1 1/2 feet. I
Veterinary Nurse
4,085 Satisfied Customers
How it works
logoAsk for help, 24/7
Ask for help, 24/7
Members enjoy round-the-clock access to 12,000+ verified Experts, including doctors, lawyers, tech support, mechanics, vets, home repair pros, more.
logoExpert will respond in minutes
Expert will respond in minutes
After you reach out, we match you with an Expert who specializes in your situation. Talk, text, chat, whichever you prefer.
logoSave time & money
Save time & money
No scheduling hassles, missing time from work, or expensive consults.
A JustAnswer membership can save you significant time and money each month.
Sarahesq and 87 other Veterinarian specialists are ready to help you.
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.
Why you’ll love JustAnswer
JustAnswer is the best way to get expertise on-demand from doctors, lawyers, vets, mechanics and more. Since 2003, we’ve helped more than 9 million people in 196 countries and have an A+ rating with BBB and a 9.6/10 rating with TrustPilot.
Highly rated, verified Experts
We pride ourselves in our 8-step verification process including license and credential checks. Vetted by us and rated by customers, like you.
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal ...leave nothing to chance.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
JustAnswer, Professional Services  General, San Francisco, CA
Google reviews
TrustPilot Reviews