Corn snake or Kingsnake?

So I’ve been thinking of getting another snake (I can’t decide between a kingsnake or a corn) but I’ve read that they need a basking spot, how do you set that up and what does it look like?

I have overhead heat for my ball python so I can get the right dimmer thermostats and I know how that sets up and everything.

I’d wanted another snake who’d be a garbage disposal (lol) it would provide daytime handling while my ball python would get night handling, and I had a kingsnake in the past and wanted another doable snake that wouldn’t get big and would be more forgiving if I mess up.

What are your thoughts? ( this is like a year ahead)


As far as heating I’d recommend a UTH or CHE, either needs a thermostat. If you use a under tank heat pad then place it under the basking area (under the tank) and place the thermostat probe in between the pad and the glass. If you use a CHE then place it above the enclosure on the screen. Place the thermostat probe on the basking spot (most people recommend hot glue to secure it as long as it isn’t too hot).


Corn snakes and kingsnakes are both garbage disposals. The biggest difference is color and pattern. Personality and hardiness may be factors to a lesser extent, depending on whether you’re looking to start with a hatchling or a full grown adult. I’ve found that kingsnakes are usually a little more hardy and a little more feisty as babies, but if they’re handled well either type of snake can grow into a great pet.

If you’re already using overhead heat for your BP, heat for a king or corn won’t be too difficult. Most kings and corns are going to be comfortable with temps from 70-85 degrees and humidity between 40-60%, whereas BPs like temps from 80-90 and humidity from 50-70%. If anything you won’t have to worry about humidity as much and they don’t need as much heat. Corns and kings will be a lot more forgiving of husbandry mistakes than BPs, though we should still strive to provide optimal conditions for them.

Here are a few good care sheets from Reptile magazine:

Ultimately it comes down to personal preference, so you just have to ask yourself which you like better.


i litteraly just got a cali king snake yesterday, I would honestly say kingsnake but thats just my biased opinion, Just because therye pretty and the temperment is up to you. Kingsnakes tend to have a stroing feeding response but ive never owned a corn

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I chose the king (MBK), but I don’t think you can go wrong w a corn either. Can you choose both?


I’m biased toward corn snakes, they’re my reptile passion. Great disposition, fabulous range of color and pattern, easy keepers. (ings are also great, but I prefer corns. That said, corns don’t need a basking spot, though they might enjoy it. They do need under-belly heat for best digestion and optimal health. I know as I type this that someone is going to say that they have kept corns for years successfully with only an overhead light. Of course that’s possible, particularly if room in which they live is on the warm side. But it’s not the best setup for the snakes.


I love them both. Had a corn for 12 years. Now we have 2 grey banded kings and an MBK. You can’t really go wrong with either.

Look through the market until you fall in love with one. The one you look back at like a dozen times.

That’s the one. Love it and respect it and care for it. And it will love you back.


Well said! :heart:

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You can’t go wrong with either species. King snakes are going to generally take more handling to calm down. You’re also more likely to have a king just take a random taste of your body. Corns are a lot less bitey. Baby corn snakes are extremely easy to lose, kings are a bit more manageable there. Both are escape artists though and a secure enclosure is important.

This is a normal occurrence handling kings so if it bothers you I’d go the corn route. Baby colubrids are simple minded, they just want to eat. I had been holding this MBK for 5-10 minutes when he decided to take a taste just in case I would fit in his mouth.

Most neonate and juvenile colubrids have strong feeding responses. If you’re bitten like this, stay calm and give the animal a chance to release it’s teeth. It’s rarely ever painful, but it can be stressful for both of you. If the snake cannot release, you’ll need to gently help it, which may require another set of hands at times. Try not to pull away as you can damage their teeth and yourself in the process. Most times, if you can just stay calm enough, they’ll let go on their own.

When working with hungry young colubrids try not to present your hand (especially finger tips) in their line of sight.