How old does a corn snake get

How do snakes age?

Snakes also get older, reach the adult stage and eventually begin to age. Many species of snakes can get very old, some boa and python species have been kept in captivity for over 40 years. Elaphe species, too, often reach life spans of around 30 years. The absolute limit values ​​have certainly not yet been reached, as great progress has been made in terrarium construction and technology in recent years.

Unfortunately, in adult, sexually mature snakes, it is almost impossible to determine how old they are. Very old, but still healthy animals can only be recognized - if at all - by the fact that they are comparatively wider and longer than younger specimens. Snakes grow to the end of their lives, so this is not surprising. With age, the heads of animals of some species become significantly larger and wider in relation to the body, this can often be observed in Morelia viridis, for example.

The age can only be estimated with certainty in the first 3 years, as the animals show the greatest increase in length during this period. In the following years the growth in length slows down drastically and the animals become more elongated, especially females. Because of this, it is next to impossible to determine the age of fully grown wild-caught animals.

When the animals approach their biological aging limit, one can often only see a few differences to adult animals "in their prime". Here are some criteria:

The color of the dandruff often changes with age. The coloring of older animals can lose intensity, sometimes fades a little, becomes darker and drawing elements appear washed out. The final color of the adder is often only developed after 6-12 months, depending on the species. For example, young corn snakes are not yet as intensely pigmented as an adult animal. The colors become significantly more intense in the first months of life. Young Thamnophis are also quite inconspicuous shortly after birth, especially Florida garter snakes develop their blue coloration only in the first 2 years of life. Young giant snakes also change their color as they grow up - Morelia viridis, for example, changes color from yellow / brown / red to green, usually within a few days during the first year of life - however, some local forms need a few years until the color is finally developed. It also works the other way around - Epicrates cenchria maurus loses its pretty youthful coloring and is colored uniformly beige / brown as an adult animal.

It is common to notice a decrease in weight in older animals. The root of the tail often looks a little sunken in very old snakes, the animals look comparatively lean.

How do you look after such a "senior snake"? In principle the same as a younger animal, but in addition to a stress-free environment, the animal should be offered more easily digestible food (e.g. baby rats) in order not to overload the digestive tract and especially the kidneys. During the usual health checks, these animals should be palpated for changes in the skin, as well as bumps or lumps in the abdominal area, in order to be able to react immediately to changes. Very old animals, like many mammals, are often prone to heart disease and tumor formation. Kidney tumors are often found in old Elaphe species in particular, but they are easily treatable surgically. Older animals also often suffer from clouding of the lens (comparable to cataracts), which however hardly affects the snake as long as the olfactory senses are still working. In this case you should only feed dead prey so as not to endanger the snake. Since the kidneys of older animals are more susceptible, water should always be available and temperature fluctuations should be avoided, as the older animals dehydrate more easily due to the poorer kidney function. Eventually, dehydration can lead to kidney failure.

Interesting for snake breeders: Even old animals can still form fertile sex cells. However, females should no longer necessarily be admitted to breeding, as laying distress is more likely due to the decreasing muscle tone. Older females should therefore no longer be kept together with sexually mature males. However, males can still provide offspring at an advanced age, as long as there are no organic problems.

If you are interested in further age data of snakes, you should visit this website: