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Tessera Corn Snake Morph

Nicole Cosgrove

The Tessera corn snake is a really interesting corn snake because of its unique mutation. These corn snakes don’t look like other corn snakes, yet they are just as easy to care for as pets.

To find out how to take care of a Tessera corn snake, read on. In this comprehensive guide, we explain why they make good pets, how they differ from other corn snakes, and how to take care of them.

divider-snakeQuick Facts about Tessera Corn Snakes

Species Name: Pantherophis guttatus
Common Name: Tessera corn snake
Care Level: Beginner
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Adult Size: 4-5.5 feet
Diet: Small rodents
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Temperature & Humidity Low 70s to 80 F gradient

Room humidity or slightly higher

Do Tessera Corn Snakes Make Good Pets?

Corn snakes as a whole make great pets. These snakes are much more docile and accustomed to handling than many other snakes. Snake lovers who want a low maintenance pet find corn snakes to be the best option.

All of these benefits of regular corn snakes apply to Tessera corn snakes as well. As a result, Tessera corn snakes make good pets. That being said, this morph is much rarer than many other corn snake varieties. As a result, expect to do a bit of hunting and pay a bit more for a Tessera corn snake specifically.

Tessera Corn Snake above the rock_Kwiatku_Shutterstock
Image credit: Kwiatku, Shutterstock

Appearance

One reason that corn snakes make great pets is that they are the perfect size for captivity. The adult corn snake will grow to be between two and six feet long in total, as will the Tessera corn snake.

The Tessera corn snake stands out from other corn snakes because of its morph. This corn snake has dense square lateral blotches around its body. More so, it has a thin dark edged dorsal stripe that runs down its back.

Divider-snakeHow to Take Care of Tessera Corn Snakes

As we mentioned above, caring for corn snakes is very easy. However, you do need to know how to set up their enclosure to maximize their health and life span.

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup

The most important part of caring for your Tessera corn snake is its habitat. In comparison to many other reptiles, corn snakes do not have that intense of habitat requirements, luckily.

Tank

To begin, select a tank that is at least 20 gallons in size. If you have room for a bigger terrarium, go with that instead. Because snakes are not social, you do not need to put more than one corn snake into the same enclosure. In fact, it is dangerous for the snakes.

Make sure that the terrarium you select is escape proof. Even though snakes do not have arms and legs, they can very easily escape from their enclosure.

You will need to clean out the terrarium frequently. We recommend spot cleaning the snake’s enclosure every night before bed. Once a week or so, you will want to deep clean the enclosure using reptile-safe cleaner.

Lighting

One reason why corn snakes are easier to care for than other snake varieties is that they do not need a special lighting. Place the corn snake close enough to a window so that it has access to natural lighting. This natural lighting will adjust the snake to a regular day, night, and season cycle.

Make sure not to place the terrarium in direct sunlight, though. Placing the terrarium directly under the sun can cause the enclosure to get too hot for the snake.

Heating (Temperature & Humidity)

Temperature and humidity requires a bit more effort than lighting. Still, the Tessera corn snake’s heating requirements still aren’t as extensive as other reptile varieties.

Generally speaking, most corn snakes are comfortable at room temperature, but you still will want a temperature gradient for the enclosure. The warm side should be around 85 degrees, whereas the low end will be about room temperature.

Corn snakes don’t need specific humidity either. Regular room humidity works just fine. That being said, make sure to mist their enclosure for slightly more moisture, especially while the snake is shedding.

Substrate

Substrate is the bedding that you put at the bottom of the enclosure. Aspen shavings tend to be the best for corn snakes because they are not aromatic, yet they are also absorbent and hold shape whenever the snake burrows. You could also use Cypress mulch.

Newspaper and reptile carpet are OK options, but shavings tend to be best for corn snakes.

Tank Recommendations

Tank Type: 20-gallon glass vivarium
Lighting: Access to natural lighting
Heating: Heating light or pad
Best Substrate: Aspen bedding

new snake dividerFeeding Your Tessera Corn Snake

Corn snakes mainly eat rodents in the wild. In captivity, you want to provide them appropriately sized rodents as a result. Feed hatchlings newborn mice, but increase the size of the mouse as the snake ages.

We recommend feeding your Tessera corn snake frozen mice specifically. Frozen mice are much easier to feed. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the mice fighting back and injuring your snake in the process.

While you are feeding the snake, we recommend moving it to a different enclosure first. This will prevent your snake from thinking it is being fed every single time you open its lid. If you feed the snake inside its own enclosure, it may try to strike at you when you go to pick it up because it expects food.

Related Reads:

Diet Summary

Meat 100% of diet – small/medium sized rodents, preferably frozen and thawed
Supplements Required N/A

Keeping Your Tessera Corn Snake Healthy

Corn snakes, including the Tessera corn snake, are pretty healthy. If you provide the corn snake a clean and proper environment, it should last for several years. More so, providing it the proper nutrition furthers its lifespan.

Keeping the terrarium clean is key to keeping your corn snake healthy. Most corn snake illnesses are caused by poor environmental maintenance. As we mentioned above, spot cleaning daily and deep cleaning weekly are how you keep your corn snake healthy.

Common Health Issues

Most of the common health issues found in corn snakes are caused by poor environment or diet. Issues such as mites, parasites, respiratory infections, and other similar illnesses are common and caused by issues in the environment. Rarely are corn snakes victim of genetic health concerns.

Lifespan

If you have never owned a snake before, you are likely shocked to find out how long they can live. Corn snakes often live into their later teens if not their 20s. In fact, most corn snakes are reproductive for 10 to 15 years, which is pretty shocking. Maintaining the proper environment helps to ensure your snake lives this long.

Breeding

Tessera corn snakes are very difficult to breed, though all snakes are. They require a very specific set of environments and needs that must be met before breeding can begin. This is true of any corn snake.

The Tessera corn snake morph is even more difficult to breed simply because you have to account for the genetic mutation that causes the morph. In other words, you must know about snake genetics in order to replicate the morph as desired.

We would not recommend trying to breed Tessera corn snakes simply because of how difficult it is. You will most likely waste your time and resources in the process.

Divider-snakeAre Tessera Corn Snakes Friendly? Our Handling Advice

Snakes don’t love being handled in the way dogs like being pet, but Tessera corn snakes are much friendlier than other snake varieties. Especially if you get the corn snake when it is young, it quickly grows accustomed to human touch.

We do not recommend handling hatchlings because baby snakes are much more defensive than adult ones. Additionally, you need to be gentle but not hesitate when holding any snake, no matter its age.

Begin by introducing the corn snake to your hand. You can put it inside its tank just to show that your hand is not a threat. You work your way up to holding the snake as it becomes more accustomed to you.

Shedding: What to Expect

As your Tessera corn snake grows, its skin will shed off so that new skin can take its place. You should expect corn snakes to shed a lot whenever they are hatchlings and young. Whenever your corn snake becomes an adult, they can shed anywhere between 2 and 6 times a year.

During the shedding phase, you will want to increase moisture and humidity inside the enclosure. There’s no need to feed the snake during this time because it will not eat. Instead, try to leave the snake to its own devices so that it can shed in peace. As soon as you see that your snake is beginning to shed, leave it alone but kick up the moisture.

How Much Do Tessera Corn Snakes Cost?

Corn snakes are readily available at just about any exotic pet store you go to. Tessera corn snakes specifically, however, are more difficult to find because of the unique morph. You may need to order the snake online. The morph often costs between $200 and $300, not including shipping.

Care Guide Summary

Leopard Ball Python Ball Python Pros
  • Docile Nature
  • Unique morph
  • Likes handling more than other snakes
Leopard Ball Python Cons
  • Must be housed individually
  • May move around a lot during handling
  • More expensive than other corn snakes

divider-snakeConclusion

Tessera corn snakes are a really stunning type of corn snake. Like all other corn snakes, they make great pets because they are the perfect size, easy to care for, and tolerate handling much better than other snakes.

The most difficult part about owning a Tessera corn snake is finding it at the store. Unlike many other corn snakes, this one is not as readily available, meaning you will have to look online and pay more money for it. Its unique appearance may be worth it, though!


Featured Image Credit: Kwiastku, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.