Bearded Dragon vs. Corn Snake

Bearded dragons and corn snakes are ubiquitously regarded as two of the most beginner-friendly reptiles to keep as pets. If you are considering adopting a bearded dragon or corn snake, which makes the better pet? 

Bearded dragons are cute, bubbly, and outgoing, whereas corn snakes are passive and laidback. Bearded dragons need more maintenance to keep them happy and healthy, whereas corn snakes don’t need much to be content. Beardies are fun but challenging to keep, but corn snakes are a breeze to maintain.

Read on to learn more about bearded dragons and corn snakes so you can decide which of these reptiles would be more suitable for you.

Bearded Dragons: An Overview

Bearded dragons get their name from the thorn-like collars around their necks, which resemble beards. These lizards are originally from Australia, but the Australian government banned the exportation of bearded dragons and other native species in the 1960s. 

As such, all bearded dragons in the pet trade industry today are captive-bred.

Also affectionately known as “beardies,” bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) are arguably the most popular pet lizard in the United States today. And it is not hard to see why, too.

Bearded dragons are loving and do not mind being handled. They can be playful and goofy and even allow you to fit them with a leash and walk them like a dog!

These are just some of the things behind the allure of beardies as pets. However, before you adopt one, it is crucial to know what you’ll be getting yourself into. That is because these lizards have special care needs that can make them a handful to keep. 

The following section is a summarized all-you-need-to-know guide about bearded dragons:

Bearded Dragon Temperament

Temperament is the most crucial factor to consider when thinking about adopting a pet because most people want a pet they can interact with safely. 

Luckily, Bearded dragons are as sweet as a lizard can be. Beardies have a mellow disposition, explaining why they are so easy to handle. In fact, these lizards can even seek you out when they feel like they need some company.

Beardies are also remarkably curious and playful. They are active critters that tend to run around all over the place, looking for something to quench their curiosity. 

Bearded dragons are also renowned for their somewhat peculiar but cute behaviors, such as arm-waving and head-bobbing. While these behaviors might seem random, they are actually forms of bearded dragon body language

Smaller beardies will wave one arm at larger individuals to indicate submissiveness. On the other hand, dominant males bob their heads at females as a courtship ritual or to assert their dominance over smaller males.

That being said, bearded dragons can sometimes be aggressive. However, aggressive tendencies are typically reserved for sexually mature males, which is why you should never house two or more male bearded dragons in one tank, as they will fight.

Female beardies are more tolerant of each other; however, that depends on the individuals’ inherent temperaments, with some preferring to have the entire enclosure to themselves. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Bearded dragons lead solitary lives in the wild and don’t do well in social settings involving other beardies.

The only time Bearded dragons come together in the wild is to mate or fight. Therefore, if you are considering adopting more than one beardie, be ready to invest in several tanks.

A helpful beardie physical feature for owners is their collar because it can tell you what kind of mood they’re in. Bearded dragons puff up or spread out their thorn-like collars when they are under stress so that they can appear more intimidating. 

Therefore, if you see a beardie with its collar spread out, you might want to give it space to avoid stressing out the animal further. 

Bearded Dragon Care

Ease of care is another critical factor to consider before adopting a pet because some require more maintenance than others. Moreover, a pet’s unique care needs can impact your budget significantly.

As mentioned, beardies require quite a bit of maintenance to keep them happy and healthy.

For starters, you need a large tank. As stated earlier, Bearded dragons are active critters, and they need some room to move around. They also grow according to the size of their habitat, meaning a beardie is unlikely to reach full size (20 -24 inches/51 – 61 cm) if it is housed in a small tank.

The ideal tank size for a Bearded dragon is 40 – 75 gallons (151 – 284 liters). The tank should also come with certain essentials to keep the beardie healthy. They include:

  • UVA and UVB lighting sources
  • Substrate
  • Thermometer 
  • Hygrometer
  • Basking rocks/branhes
  • Water and food dishes

Bearded dragons evolved to live in Australia’s hot climate. As such, you will need both UVA and UVB heating lamps to keep the beardie’s enclosure between 85 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit (29 and 43 degrees Celcius) to allow the animal to function optimally. 

In addition, beardies need UVB radiation to help them synthesize vitamin D3 for calcium absorption. Without UVB, Bearded dragons become more susceptible to metabolic bone disease due to the inability to absorb calcium from their diet.

In light of the above, I highly recommend checking out this REPTI ZOO 50-Gallon Tempered Glass Reptile Terrarium Tank from Amazon. It is beautiful, easy to install, and secure and has slots for UVB and UVA lamps. Additionally, it works for all reptile pets, making a good home for corn snakes. 

Bearded Dragon Food

When it comes to food, beardies are omnivores, and they get their nutrition from both animal and plant sources. Luckily, finding food for beardies shouldn’t be too difficult since they can thrive on a diet of insects and veggies.

However, you should be warned that beardies eat a lot! They eat between one and three times per day, depending on their age. As you can imagine, that means they poop a lot, too, necessitating frequent cleaning.

Corn Snakes: An Overview

Most people don’t think that snakes are cute until they meet corn snakes. These guys are unbelievably gorgeous. Couple that with their laidback, gentle demeanor, and you understand why almost everyone who meets one of these serpents wants to cuddle it.

Corn snakes (Pantheropis guttatus) are native to the United States. They are non-venomous constrictors, killing their prey by embracing them to death. Corn snakes are also known as red rat snakes. They are called corn snakes since they typically live close to corn granaries, preying on rats that feed on harvested corn.

Corn snakes can grow to a maximum of 5 feet (1.5 meters) and weigh up to 3 pounds (1.4 kg).

Corn Snake Temperament

Corn snakes are incredibly shy, laidback critters. Consequently, they spend most of their time hiding in burrows, as they are highly susceptible to predation by larger carnivores. That is why you should include hiding spots in your corn snake’s enclosure to allow it to hide when it’s feeling stressed.

Fortunately, corn snakes can get accustomed to their owners rather quickly, which is why they allow you to handle them. However, most corn snakes prefer to be left alone, as constant handling stresses them out.

As you can see, despite being cute, corn snakes don’t always enjoy company. They’ll spend hours on end doing nothing and are content that way. Therefore, if you are looking for a pet that thrives on interaction, a corn snake might not be a good fit for you.

The upside of a corn snake’s aloofness is that they are low-maintenance. They are content as long as they eat once or twice a month and their habitat is clean.

Corn Snake Care

Corn snakes are a breeze to care for. They don’t have stringent requirements and only eat once or twice per month, meaning a lot less cleaning up for you.

Nonetheless, you must keep your corn snake in a tank to avoid losing them in your house. As mentioned, these serpents are incredibly passive, only moving when they need to, typically when looking for food. As such, a corn snake can find a small hidden space in your home and stay there for weeks. 

A good quality tank is also vital for a corn snake’s well-being since it allows you to provide them with the necessary conditions for optimal health, such as warmth from heating lamps. 

Remember that corn snakes are ectothermic (cold-blooded) animals, and they need exposure to UVA light to function properly.

Consider getting this inexpensive MyComfyPets UVB Light and UVA 2-in-1 Reptile Bulb from Amazon for your corn snake. It is self-regulating to ensure temperatures remain within the optimal range. It will also help raise your snake’s energy levels, as reptiles actively seek out UVA radiation. 

This radiation also helps bring out your corn snake’s gorgeous colors, and it works for bearded dragons, too. 

Nonetheless, unlike beardies, corn snakes don’t require UVB radiation, making them a bit less expensive to maintain.

The ideal corn snake tank should be a plastic, escape-proof enclosure because corn snakes  

are highly-credentialed escape artists. 

You should also ensure that the tank has only one transparent side, as it will make the snake feel safer. You could also throw in a cardboard box to allow the serpent a place to hide.

Corn Snake Food

Feeding a Corn snake is easy, as you only need to give them a thawed “pinkie” (a tiny mouse) every other week. You can buy these from pet stores or online. 

Avoid feeding live animals to pet corn snakes, as the serpent might get injured during the struggle.

Final Thoughts

Both bearded dragons and corn snakes make excellent pets. However, they have different temperaments, food requirements, and care needs. As such, your preferences are what will determine which of these reptilians would be a better fit for you.



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