You’re going to need a few bits of equipment to re-create the conditions of a corn snake’s natural environment. Perhaps most important of all are the thermo- and photo-gradients regulators in a snake’s enclosure, namely: heat lamp, UV lighting or LED light, thermostats, heat mat, thermometer and a hygrometer.
UV lighting is optional, and snakes can live without it. If you choose not to install UV lighting (it also illuminates the setup) you can use an LED light instead. Read about the benefits of UV lighting.
To learn the ins and outs of setting up the best habitat for your corn snake, read reptile expert Peter Hawkins’s piece ‘Corn snake setup, vivarium, heating, UV and substrate advice’.
To learn how much a corn snake set up would cost, read on:
In this article: How much is a corn snake vivarium? | How much does a heat mat cost? | How much is a UVB lamp? | How much is a UVB lamp reflector? | How much is an LED light? | How much is a heat lamp? | How much do bulb holders/lamp fixtures cost? | How much is a thermostat? | How much does corn snake substrate cost?
Make sure your vivarium is appropriate for your snake's size
How much is a Vivarium?
From around £50 to over £250.
The exact price of the vivarium will depend on its size, type and material. if you get your snake when it’s still a baby, a smaller vivarium will suffice; however, as your snake grows so would have to your snake's enclosure.
A number of temperature controlling tools will be needed to re-create your snake’s natural environment. These are a heat-mat, thermostats and a UVB lamp.
How much is a heat mat?
Around £10 to £30.
A heat mat is optional - if you're using a heat source that emits light such as an LED light, then when you turn it off at night, you can use the heat mat.
However, if you're using a non - light emitting heat source then you can leave that on at night-time, reducing the temperature slightly. And you won't need a heat mat.
Heat mats vary greatly in sizes and shapes. You can get a square or rectangular mat; you can even get a mat that is stripe-shaped. Mats can be as small as 5 cm and as big as a meter.
When choosing a size, it is important to remember that the mat is not supposed to cover the whole floor of the snake’s enclosure, but only the section in the basking area.
How much is a UVB lamp?
A UVB lamp costs between £12 to £35.
The cheapest UBV lamp that we found during our research was this £12 ZooMed, while the most expensive was a £33 ZooMed. Note, both have been reduced, from £14 to £12 and £41 to £33. There’s a great variety of sizes, and prices vary based on that.
Reptiles absorb UVB rays to produce Vitamin D, which helps them metabolise Calcium. Without the presence of both compounds in their bodies, they are in danger of developing something called Metabolic Bone Disease.
Reptiles can’t absorb Calcium without Vitamin D which is why they need the UVB lamps.
Read more of Peter’s advice on looking after corn snakes here.
How much is a UVB lamp reflector?
A UVB lamp reflector costs between £10 and £16.
The reflector needs to be at least half the size of the enclosure.
How much is an LED light?
If you decide not to use UV lighting, you can illuminate your setup using a White Python LED light.
These cost around £29.69 reduced from £32.99 at Northampton Reptile Centre.
Many snake keepers will use LED lights to illuminate their set up, and it was the 'norm' for many years. However UV also has many benefits for snakes - as it would in the wild.
A heat lamp does not emit any light; it's needed to keep the habitat warm
How much does a heat lamp cost?
Bulbs go from around £5 to £30.
Snake breeder Peter Hawkins uses the new Arcadia Deep Heat Projector (DHP) for all his enclosures.
The heat lamp does not emit any light, it’s sole purpose being maintaining the temperature in the enclosure.
How much do bulb holders/lamp fixtures cost?
Prices vary depending on the type of lamp, screw, etc. The most basic ones cost around £4 a piece. The most expensive one we found was £35.
If your vivarium doesn’t have built-in fixtures, you might have to get those separately.
There’s a good variety of holders and fixtures, allowing you to select the ones that will be most convenient for your setup.
You’re now well on your way of having a fully functional snake habitat. There’s one more thing that is of crucial importance to the temperature in your snake’s habitat - you’re going to need to control the temperature of every heating appliance in the habitat.
To do that you’ll need thermostats.
A thermostat is essential for controlling the temperature in the enclosure
How much do thermostats cost?
A thermostat for a corn snake costs from around £30 to over £100.
All of your heat sources will need to be connected to a thermostat.You might need a dimming or a pusle thermosttat if you have a heat-source like a DHP or a ceramic bulb.
Reptile expert Peter Hawkins uses the Microclimate Evo Lite for his setups as it has both options.
How much does the substrate for a corn snake cost?
Corn snake substrate can cost from around £4 to around £20.
The exact price of a bag of substrate depends on the size and type you go for. Larger bags are naturally more expensive. There are quite a few alternatives when it comes to substrate.
To learn more read Peter Hawkins' corn snake bedding advice here.
Running a vivarium would most likely mean having heating equipment plugged in 24/7
How much does it cost to run a vivarium for a corn snake?
About £1 a week on avarage.
It is very difficult to give an exact estimate as everyone’s number will depend on the type, size and number of heat sources and thermostats they run for their snake’s enclosure.
Reptile owners on forums say it costs around a pound. No one indicates to have particularly felt a rise to their energy bills because of owning a vivarium.
How much do hygrometers cost?
You can buy hygrometers for around £4.48, reduced from £5.59 from the Northampton Reptile Centre.
They're useful to measure the humidity level inside your corn snake's vivarium.
A corn snakes humidity level should be around 30-60%. This can be achieved through spraying a couple of times a week. A humidifier is not really needed.
How much is a thermometer?
A thermometer costs between £5 and £27.
As with hygrometers, manual thermometers are cheaper and digital ones more expensive.
How much to create the décor in the enclosure?
To decorate your vivarium can cost anywhere between £10 to over 100s of pounds.
It all depends on how much décor you’d like your snake to have, how big the vivarium is, and where you get the materials for the décor.
Of course, many of those things you can collect from outside.
It is difficult to say how much the set up will cost you overall, as it depends on the size of your snake, where you live and the type of equipment you choose to buy.
Roughly, we think that the overall price of a corn snake setup can be anywhere between £204 to £752.
Prices correct February 2018.