I recently became the owner of a corn snake and have had some time to reflect on their temperament and personality. Before I got my snake, I did a little research to learn all about the species. With my knowledge and now experience, I’d like to share this information with you here today.
So, are corn snakes friendly? Corn snakes can be considered a friendly species of snake that can be handled and held regularly. They are docile, timid and will rarely display aggression or look to lunge at their owners. However, this does not mean that they will not attempt to bite you – they will do so if you are not careful and they feel threatened.
Familiarizing yourself with a corn snake’s temperament can help you ensure your snake does not become stressed, and you can look after them safely and appropriately.
Corn snakes make popular pets, but there are many questions and misconceptions about them when kept.
While their diet and habitat needs are different, potential snake owners often have concerns about their personalities and behaviors.
Namely, what are their aggression levels?
As they are not mammals, they are incredibly different from us, and it is not natural for us to be aware of their needs and requirements.
Educating ourselves is one of the best things that we can do to set our expectations and to plan for their care accordingly.
Let us now take a closer look at this snake species, what they are like to own and how they express themselves.
This way, if you are contemplating getting this species, you’ll know what to expect.
Corn Snake Temperament
Generally, corn snakes are considered a relatively docile species, small in size and timid in nature.
These tiny snakes don’t have a thirst for blood or lunge at their owners for the fun of it.
Most people find these snakes pretty easy to handle in comparison to other snakes as they have a natural, laid-back nature.
Although these snakes are considered rather friendly, they should not be mistaken as completely “harmless.”
Almost all animals can develop aggression. Even little hamsters tend to be a bit nippy.
As natural hunters, corn snakes have the “ability” to be able to attack something.
They have sharp teeth that can penetrate through the skin.
If a snake is feeling threatened, cornered, or provoked, it may use its teeth to defend itself.
Even if you mean no harm to them, they can become agitated, feel nervous, and be tempted to bite.
This is true for all snakes, and corn snakes are no exception.
Don’t let this scare you off, though.
Corn snakes are tiny; they are unable to cause any real or lasting damage to a person if they do bite.
You need to make sure that you keep any small bites clean so that they don’t get infected if a bite breaks the skin.
It is a good idea to use a natural-antiseptic and keep one in the house if you are keeping snakes.
I keep Neosporin stocked up at all times – just in case I am bitten.
On the brighter note, this snake species do not produce any venom at all, so you don’t need to worry about finding an antidote!
There are some essential things for you to keep in mind when learning the corn snake’s characteristics.
As a small snake, it does have one very devilish trait – they are natural Houdini’s.
These little escape artists will look high and low for a place to leave.
If there is a space they can fit through in their enclosures or cage – they will attempt to use it and escape as far as they can. They will also spend time looking for these areas.
Unfortunately, snakes are unlike other pets (such as cats or dogs) and will not instinctively come back to you for ongoing care.
If they can escape, they will, and it is rather unlikely that they will try to come back.
Additionally, you need to make sure you find them. This is especially true if you have other pets. Equally, you don’t want them to go into the wild ill-prepared.
The snakes that you get at a pet store were raised and bred in captivity. It can be difficult for them to adjust to the outside world.
Aside from the climate, they may not be ready to go about and hunting down their dinner.
Small corn snakes also can make an easy target and excellent snack to a wide variety of other animals (including some of the pets you may have walking around your house).
Are Corn Snakes Affectionate?
While a snake won’t give you a little kiss or hug, this doesn’t mean that they don’t care at all. Snakes have very different ways of expressing themselves as they are very different animals.
The topic of whether or not snakes can feel positive emotions like love is a complicated topic.
This controversial topic is a hard one to discuss. Many experts believe that snakes do not have the cognitive abilities or emotional capacity to feel complex emotions.
Snake owners tend to have very different opinions on how they feel about the topic.
It mostly is down to their relationship with their snake and if they have observed any signs of affection.
You should really consider that just because they can’t feel love, per se, doesn’t mean that they can’t have a positive association with you.
Snakes can get attached to their caretakers and associate you with being safe.
When they don’t view you as a threat, you will handle them to your heart’s content.
They will be less likely to bite you and seem excited to see you walk in the room.
In a way, this is a kind of affection.
We can’t expect snakes to behave in the same way as humans do, but we can nonetheless foster a good relationship.
How Do Corn Snakes Show Affection?
How can you tell if a snake is feeling excited to see you?
Well, it is all in reading their body behavior.
They don’t purr or part with excitement, but this doesn’t mean it’s not easy to see them expressing their appreciation for you.
If your corn snake watches you or attempts to approach you when you come over to their enclosure, this is a sign that they like you!
If a snake doesn’t like you or is uncomfortable in your company, they will hide from you.
This is to be expected in the early days following adoption, as they look to become familiar with their new environment.
A happy snake will also let you handle them or approach your hand without adopting a defensive approach.
That being said, you should be careful how and when you pick up your snake.
Never do so before, during, or shortly after they have eaten.
Also, do not do so when they are shedding their skin as this will be uncomfortable for them and cause them pain.
If any snake starts to pose in a way where it looks as if it is preparing to lunge, you should leave the snake alone. Give them time to calm down and become relaxed.
You want your snake to be happy to see you and observe signs that they are not likely to attempt to lunge at you.
How Do I Get A Corn Snake To Trust Me?
Trust is something that must be earned.
If you are adopting a baby corn snake or one that is trained, you will be able to do this a lot easier than if you get an older snake who is not used to being handled.
If they get a little snippy, make sure that you don’t lash out.
Raising your voice or getting aggressive back will only get them to associate you with fear.
Try always to be slow and avoid trying to handle a snake when they are shedding.
When snakes are shedding, they tend to be more sensitive and more easily agitated.
Shedding skin also disrupts their vision. Even if you are used to handling your snake, it could be good practice to avoid picking them up unnecessarily when they are shedding.
Handle them properly and make sure not to hurt them – they may be a little cautious at first, but once they experience that you won’t hurt them, they will be more open to letting you handle them more often.
Make sure that you also fulfill their other needs and requirements.
You want them to feel comfortable in their enclosure and ensure the environment is optimized for their needs.
Ensure they are being fed enough, with access to fresh water and that you are using a suitable substrate.
Corn snakes can be considered as friendly species of snakes.
They are small, docile, and generally like to be handled when they learn to recognize and trust their owner.
While biting is possible, it is not likely to happen unless you are cornering your snake or they feel threatened.
If they were to bite, rest assured they cannot inject and venom, nor will they be able to pierce your skin.
Just make sure you clean the wound to prevent infection.
For the most part, corn snakes are a great pet snake to look after and take care of.
There is a reason why they are such a widespread species and why they are often the first snake species a new owner looks at adopting.
Corn snakes make a great pet – especially for first-time pet snake owners. They are small, generally calm, and easy to tame. They are not likely to bite, curious and active, making them enjoyable to observe. They also are not overly challenging to look after and maintain. This makes them a suitable choice of pet, even for children.
Corn snakes are not an aggressive breed of snake. They will not look to attack and would rather flee and escape than a lunge. Aggression can be displayed if they feel threatened, but small bites are infrequent and used as a last resort by this species.
Corn snakes do bite. However, they will only attempt to do so if they cannot escape or feel the need to defend themselves. Biting is rare, although it can occur. Corn snakes have small teeth, so the damage will be relatively painless and unlikely to pierce the skin if a bite was to occur.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.