do corn snakes bite

Do Corn Snakes Bite?

Not everyone can keep a dog or cat as a pet. They live in small apartments in the city, they work all day and excess noise isn’t permitted. Snakes can make good pets for people who love animals but who are restricted in their choices.

Do Corn Snakes Bite?

Whatever your reason is for inviting a snake into your home, they can offer a form of companionship which suits many different people. True, there are some species of snakes that don’t make good pets.  But there are plenty more that do.

Whatever pet you bring into your home, there will be some kind of outlay – food, equipment etc. but more importantly they require you have some specialized knowledge about their characteristics so that you can provide well for them.

Do Bright Colors Spell Aggression in a Snake?

The Corn Snake has lovely bright yellow/orange coloring, but it isn’t known as an aggressive serpent. Aposematism refers to the colors and looks of an animal that warn predators that it is toxic or dangerous. The Corn Snake is deceptive with its bright skin because it is neither toxic or dangerous.

Some people say Corn Snakes gets their name from regularly being around grain stores. This is because the snake knows that this is where the mice and rats are as they are corn eating rodents.

Others say that the snake gets its name from the corn-like pattern on its skin. They are bright yellow /orange in color with red black-edged blotches. There are color variations, put down to the age of the snake and where it comes from. In the wilds, you’ll find the Corn snake in meadows, on rocky ground, in barns, and in old buildings no longer in use.

A Silent, Low Maintenance Pet

Snakes are low maintenance, they’re beautiful to look at, they can become habituated to handling, and they’re silent. This is good news when you live in a small apartment close to your neighbors.

If you are undecided about what kind of pet snake you want to keep, you might want to consider the Corn Snake. It’s a great snake for anyone who hasn’t owned a snake before. It is an easy going pet, a small non-venomous North American snake and a species of rat snake.

Do Corn snakes need a heat lamp?

Like all reptiles, the Corn Snake is ectothermic, meaning the snake depends on its environment for regulating body temperature. Heat is important for reptiles as it –

  • allows them to digest their food.
  • circulates the blood
  • enables the snake to reproduce.
  • enables them to move their muscles and catch prey. The Corn Snake doesn’t inject its prey with venom – they constrict the likes of mice until they die from lack of oxygen. Corn snakes do have teeth, and these teeth all point backward. Using their teeth to grip their prey, escape is all but impossible for the rodents, birds, and lizards it feeds on.

Your Corn Snake needs heat, relying on you to provide it.  Keeping a Corn Snake requires responsibility on your part, and that includes trying to make your snake’s enclosure as close to living in the wild as possible. Certainly, you will need to meet the snake’s heating requirements.

With heating the snake’s enclosure, you have a number of options. You can heat the enclosure from above. You can make use of a heat lamp or basking bulb. You can also heat the habitat from the ground up. This requires using a heating pad. The idea is to create a temperature range of about 75° Fahrenheit to 85° for your snake.

The Corn Snake likes to Burrow

Corn snakes are semi-fossorial, spending quite a bit of their time underground. Most snakes like to hide, more so during the day if they’re a nocturnal type of snake. The Corn Snake is more a nocturnal snake than being a day time snake. It likes to spend time curled up in holes.

Snakes in the wild do this to keep themselves protected from predators and also to maintain stable body temperature. Snakes are also private creatures, so when you prepare an enclosure for your Corn Snake, you’ll need to provide it with a cage-like enclosure.

If your snake is burrowing into the bedding, some snake experts suggest you try and buy a bigger hide, making sure that you keep the enclosure uncluttered. A crowded enclosure can stress your snake, and when a snake is anxious, it becomes less active and it burrows.

When are Corn Snakes Aggressive?

You can’t just assume that your Corn Snake is constantly calm and placid, because even a reptile has a bad day. There are actually a few aggressive behavior types you’ll discover in your Corn Snake – territorial-, feeding-, or defensive responses.

With the Corn Snake, male and female are much the same when it comes to temperament. Both are fairly gentle, placid snakes and they rarely bite or strike out at humans. Even a worm can turn though, and this seemingly gentle reptile can display aggression occasionally, particularly in certain situations, such as the following –

Being threatened

Who wouldn’t show some aggression if you were being tormented or harassed? There is a thin line between a snake recognizing you as the handler and seeing you as a predator. Any sudden, unfamiliar movements can cause your gentle pet to flare up.

When they’re shedding

If you’re in the change room trying on clothes, you become highly irritated when the salesperson sticks their head in and asks if everything’s okay. So it is with Corn snakes. When they’re ‘changing’ or shedding, they can be irritable, and they want their privacy.

At shedding time, you’ll notice that your snake’s eyes turn milky blue and the skin also takes on a dull whitish sheen. When the Corn’s eyes clear again, the snake is ready to shed. Help your snake over this ‘aggressive’ shedding period by providing the reptile with a shallow dish of tepid water to soak itself in.


Snakes like routine. They don’t like change, preferring calm consistency. Many humans find moving house very stressful, and your Corn Snake may find being moved to a bigger enclosure stressful and frustrating. Small wonder it’s aggression levels rise.

During Feeding

Any snake is naturally aggressive when feeding as it wants to protect its food from predators. Also, a snake is sluggish after a meal, and it’s best to avoid handling your snake for about 48 hours once it has fed.

Fortunately, should your Corn Snake be feeling a wee bit aggro and it bites you, it is really no cause for alarm. It’s merely a warning to be more cautious around your pet.

Do Corn Snakes Smell?

Snakes out in the wilds have the sun, fresh air, and nature, in general, looking out for them. Even so, there are herpetologists that say most snakes, even in nature, have a slightly fishy smell – not offensive, but a whiff nonetheless.

But what happens with a snake in captivity were shedding, urinating and defecating all happen under one roof?   Snakes are clean animals, but some tend to emit a musky smell when threatened. Corn snakes don’t really have an odor, particularly if you keep their enclosure clean. You can do spot cleaning where you pick up the poo or feces as they occur or you can do a  full cage clean once a month.

It is important not to be hesitant or dithery around your snake but to handle it with confidence. Wash your hands before handling your snake. It is important to support your snake’s body when handling it. Never grab your Corn Snake by the end of its tail to pick it up. Calmly remove the lid of your Corn Snakes cage. If you prefer, you can put on light gloves for grabbing the snake.

Reach in calmly and confidently and grasp your snake about 1/3 of the way along the body with your one hand. With the other hand grab your snake about 2/3 of the way along the body. This ensures your snake is well supported as you lift him out. Later on, as you gain experience, you can use a hook to remove your Corn Snake from the enclosure.


All Corn Snakes are individuals with different personalities. They are one of the most popular pet snakes, due to their calm temperament. They’re also popular because they’re non-venomous constrictors and easy to care for.

Perhaps one of their biggest draw-cards as a pet is that they rarely bite. Even when they feel threatened, biting their human handlers isn’t their style. Having said that, there are times when they do resort to biting. A bite from a hatchling causes no pain and a bite from an adult may draw a bit of blood. It will feel like a pinprick. For their prey, your Corn Snake will bite to get a grip, constricting themselves around their prey. The Corn Snake’s fangs are aligned in a row on the sides of the mouth, enabling the snake to move its prey back into its throat.

Beautiful colors, low maintenance, as ‘friendly’ as any reptile can be, slow to anger and slow to bite, the Corn Snake’s good reputation as a fantastic pet remains unquestionable.


Leave a Comment