Leopard Gecko or Corn Snake? (13 Factors to Consider)

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So you’re about to get your first reptile as a pet. Or maybe you’ve been keeping reptiles as pets but have never owned a corn snake or a leopard gecko before. Which one should you get? Which is a better pet?

Leopard geckos are cheaper to keep than corn snakes if you are on a budget. However, corn snakes and leopard geckos are both extremely popular pets because of their inherent docile nature and eye-catching good looks. It really comes down to personal preference.

Below we will explore the pros and cons of both options and all the different factors you will need to consider when choosing.

leopard gecko or corn snake

Pros and Cons of Owning a Leopard Gecko or a Corn Snake

In this head-to-head comparison, we’ll award the winner with a point based on the criteria they are judged. 

Availability in the Pet Market

Corn Snake + 1

Most pet shops have corn snakes to sell. On the other hand, Leopard geckos are usually found in reptile-centric shops. If you want to get the best morphs, visit a trusted breeder in your area. 

You can also attend expos and conventions where more interesting corn snake and leopard gecko morphs are available. 

Cost of Initial Investment

Leopard Gecko + 1

The cost of initial investment depends on the complexity of your enclosure setup. But if you were to base the initial investment on the very basic equipment you need, leopard geckos would win hands down.

For starters, leopard geckos need a smaller enclosure. The greatly reduced price in the enclosure will cut the initial investment to half what you would need for a corn snake.

At the very least, you need these for both reptiles:

  1. An appropriate-sized enclosure.
  2. A lamp that emits UVA and UVB rays and heat.
  3. A water bowl for drinking.
  4. A basic hide box.
  5. And a small pool for soaking in. 

Note: You can start off with small enclosures for both and increase the size as your pet grows to help save money at the start.

Ease of Feeding

Corn Snake + 1

Corn snakes will thrive on a consistent diet of rodents. You also don’t need to feed them every day. One large rat every week or a smaller one every three days is enough for a corn snake to survive on.

Leopard geckos, on the other hand, have to be fed daily. You will also need to watch what they eat. They usually eat crickets or dubia cockroaches. They’ll also enjoy a super worm or two as a treat.

You will need to ensure they get enough calcium in their diets for both reptiles. You can do this by dusting their food with calcium powder.

Crickets and super worms are easy to find. Frozen rodents have to be sourced out to ensure you have a steady supply. You can also opt to keep rats and mice for feeding purposes.

Handling Ease

Leopard Gecko + 1

Corn snakes, as hatchlings, are very active. They’ll squirm away from you or keep snaking their way out of your grasp. They’re very inquisitive creatures, and there will always be something that catches their attention.

Leopard geckos are calmer and will happily sit where you place them, whether on the palm of your hand or your shoulder. 

Corn snakes are hard to handle when they hold on to something. They will wrap their bodies around it. Despite being a relatively small snake, you’ll find it very hard to pry them off once they have a solid grip.

The only cause for concern at this point with leopard geckos is scaring them to the point that they jump off or break their tails off.


Corn Snake + 1

Corn snakes are hardy animals that can survive a lot of adverse living conditions. They also bounce back faster after getting into stressful situations.

On the other hand, Leopard geckos don’t cope well with stress. Too much stress can lead to them not eating or dropping their tail off.

Housing Needs


You could say both the leopard gecko and the corn snake are tied at this point. Corn snakes do have just a little bit of an advantage over leopard geckos as they are hardier animals and can survive incorrect living conditions longer. 

Corn snakes can survive years living in inappropriate settings before anything serious really happens. That’s not an excuse to give corn snakes better-living conditions, though.

You can keep both in as simple or as elaborate an enclosure as you want. Just make sure it is secure as both are also notorious escape artists who can exploit any weakness found in the cages they live in.

Length of Lifespan

Leopard Gecko + 1

Leopard geckos live an average of 10 to 20 years in captivity with 15 being a good age for a pet to reach. Corn snakes have a shorter lifespan. Most corn snakes live up to 15 years in captivity.

Both will still require extreme consideration, given the fact that they are long-lived pets. 

Note: There are outliers that you have to consider, though. The longest-lived captive corn snake reached 32 years.

Looks Department

Leopard Gecko + 1

While both leopard geckos and corn snakes have stunning looks, leopard geckos look “friendlier”. Subconsciously, this makes the leopard gecko a pet more people will readily appreciate. Everyone will want to pet your leopard gecko.


Corn Snake + 1

Corn snakes don’t necessarily need to be handled or cared for on a daily basis. As long as you keep their enclosure clean, make sure they have enough water, and feed them a mouse every week, they’ll be happy.

Leopard geckos need to be fed more often and can even become attached to their owners.

Price and Diversity of Morphs

Corn Snake + 1

One of the reasons why anyone would be interested in keeping corn snakes or leopard geckos is the vast availability of morphs. Corn snakes, one of the most popular pet snakes in the reptile industry and coincidentally one of the longest traded, will naturally have morph varieties to choose from.

That doesn’t mean leopard geckos are slacking in this department. Many morphs are available, but they tend to be more expensive because they are newer in the reptile industry.

Shedding Issues

Corn Snake + 1

Corn snakes shed quickly, almost perfectly every time. Leopard geckos, not so much. They have to be cared for now and then to ensure they shed completely. 

Sometimes, you will need to assist your pets (whether it’s a leopard gecko or a corn snake) to get rid of the stuck shed.

The best way to do this is to provide a bathing pool or a humid hide where they can spend time and soften the skin they’re about to shed.

You have to give props to leopard geckos, though. When it comes to shedding skin, they will clean up after themselves. Leopard geckos will eat their shed skin after they’ve completed the process.

Size of Your Full-Grown Pet

Leopard Gecko + 1 or Corn Snake + 1 (depending on your taste and room availability)

If you like keeping small reptiles as pets, go for the leopard gecko, the corn snake is best if you want a more impressive size. Leopard geckos can reach a total length of 11 inches and weigh in at only 80 grams, while corn snakes can grow to 6 feet long and weigh around 900 grams.

This is something you should consider if you have a limited amount of space.

Social Acceptability

Leopard Gecko + 1

This is where a leopard gecko has a marked advantage over the corn snake. No matter how harmless, a snake will always be regarded by some people as a thing to fear. 

Leopard geckos, on the other hand, with their cute “smiling” faces and bright colors, will be easier for other people to accept as a pet.

So Which One Should You Get?

Ok, so we’re done with the head-to-head comparison. Now let’s tally the points:

Availability in the Pet Market – Corn Snake + 1

Ease of Feeding – Corn Snake + 1

Hardiness – Corn Snake + 1

Maintenance – Corn Snake + 1

Price and Diversity of Morphs – Corn Snake + 1

Shedding Issues – Corn Snake + 1

Cost of Initial Investment – Leopard Gecko + 1

Handling Ease – Leopard Gecko + 1

Length of Lifespan – Leopard Gecko + 1

Looks Department – Leopard Gecko + 1

Social Acceptability – Leopard Gecko + 1

Housing Needs – Tie

Size of Your Full-Grown Pet – Tie (depending on your taste and room availability)

Corn snakes get 6 clear points, while leopard geckos only get 5. Now, remember we have two slots where they are tied. 

This can swing the vote either way. 

Choose wisely. 

Both leopard geckos and corn snakes are perfect for beginners and pros alike. 

We’re hoping the pros and cons we’ve presented will help you choose which one to get if you’re still on the fence about which reptile is best for you.

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