Severely malnourished cornsnake

Hi all, I just inherited (literally) a malnourished corn. I have a vet appointment scheduled for her, but curious if anyone here has encountered a similar scenario. This snake belonged to a friend of my father’s, she is 6 years old, and has only been fed small pinkies her entire life. Shortly after she was acquired, the owner’s health went downhill, and his wife did her best to take care of the snake while taking care of him as well, which involved just dropping pinkies in once a week and water refills. He has since passed and we discovered the snake and have taken her in. I honestly can’t believe she’s alive. She looks like a very long hatchling. She’s eating very well, someone had her in between his death and me getting her to my house, she’s been eating a fuzzy now once every 5 days. Super sweet, some mild shed issues, besides being emaciated and VERY tiny she is very active and friendly (did try to eat my arm but no hard feelings there). I am worried about overwhelming her system, I’m inclined to keep her on fuzzies every 5 days, maybe even every 7 days so we do’nt move too fast, and slowly bump up prey size if she grows (at 6 i’m honestly not sure how much growth she has in her?). Any advice on the feeding regime and/or experience with good or bad outcomes for neglected snakes welcome!


I would move to rats as soon as able. Rat pinks are about the same size as mouse fuzzies. Not as much nutrition short term but when she gains weight you’ll see more dramatic gain quicker with larger rats than you would mice. I’d also consider coating the butt end of her food with calcium powder for extra umph. Eventually you could offer two food items every 5 days (especially feeding pinky rats) until she looks healthier.

If she’s pooping and not regurgitating I don’t think you’re overwhelming her system. Corns have good fast metabolism, unlike boas or pythons, so don’t fret to much. At 6 years old she should be 300 grams or even larger depending on her length (don’t currently have a6 year old to give you an ideal weight specifically). Just keep a good close watch on her weight and write it down so you can track gains easier.

Pics would be nice as well! And personally if you can an update from the vet when you take her would be nice. Interested if she might have internal damage or other issues from being fed so little for so long.

Will do! great advice thank you. I’ll try to get a picture in a day or two, I actually have a similarly aged cornsnake who I think is a hair on the small size but still a normal adult, I’ll try to get a side by side. Just eyeballing it I bet he’s 5x her size. Maybe more. I need a second set of hands because my normal adult is a handful (he just doesn’t sit still).


This is the best I could do for pics, so the albino is the starved 6 year old, the red guy is my 7 year old corn who’s received normal care. Second pic is just of her head, her eyes are a little buggy, at least compared to Red. She actually looks much better then when she was first discovered, all of her stuck shed is off and she is getting round in the middle a bit. Pooping, eating and active, so we’ll just keep increasing her prey size when we can and keep fingers crossed. Only medical concern is she seems lumpy in the middle, vet isn’t sure what it is except just exceptionally poor body condition. (I have also realized I need to find a better exotics vet, my cat vet treats snakes but I think she’d never seen anything like this before).

She’s definitely big enough to take rat pinks. I’d do every 5 days one, maybe 2 if she seems like she can handle it. Then in another 6 months get a weight and maybe increase to a rat fuzzy every 7 days. It’s her small head that has me worried. I’d definitely delimb prey for a while just to make it as easy as possible. A “sausage” would be much easier to get down.

1 Like

I would recommend a similar sized mouse instead honestly. It is unlikely she will ever get to a size were she can eat an old enough rat to get all of the nutrition from the bones of an older mouse. I would say feed a larger mouse so she gets the vitamins from the bones and not just fat from a rat pink. Keep in mind she has only ever had pinks, so I would imagine she needs a consistent calcium boost (and not just from supplement powder).


I bet she could get to size to eat a appropriate rat. Considering average is what? 20 years on a corn to live in proper conditions? If she’s only 6 she’s got plenty of time to get to weight. And while I agree she probably needs a calcium kick it shouldn’t take her all that long with an increased feeding regime (every 5 days instead of weekly or even bi weekly) to get to a size to take fuzzy rats.

Though while I preach rat I’ll say any large size meal you can get her to eat will do her good. Be that mouse or rat.