Corn snakes are not aggressive but may become aggressive when stressed or if they feel threatened. They are popular snakes kept as pets in United States and around many parts of the world.
They makes good pets because they grow to moderate sizes, they are docile and come in a beautiful array of colors and patterns.
Snakes have different personalities with some being more temperamental than others. Aggressive pet snakes are difficult to manage and need patient owners. A few corn snakes owners have reported their corn snakes suddenly turning aggressive.
To find out if corn snakes are aggressive we did extensive research by reading widely on the internet. Following conversations on forums and inquiring from experienced corn snake keepers. To answer some questions you may have on corn snake aggression we have compiled our findings in this article. Read on to find out.
Write to us in the comments section to let us know if there are more questions you would like answered and to tell us what you think about corn snake aggression.
What is the temperament of a corn snake?
Corn snakes have a calm temperament. Generally speaking, corn snakes make docile pets that are reluctant to bite. Due to their docile nature, corn snakes are easy to care for and handle.
Corn snakes do not mind being handled when they get accustomed to their owners. They can be feisty or flighty at first. However, they become docile and calm when they get used to being handled by their owners.
We recommend handling corn snakes regularly to get them accustomed to you. You can handle them at least once or twice every week. Avoid handling your corn snake a day before feeding and a day after feeding.
Baby corn snakes may be more temperamental especially if rescued from the wild. We recommend purchasing corn snakes only from a reputable breeder.
Although baby corn snakes may be more temperamental, we recommend a new corn snake keeper to start with a baby corn snake. This is because baby corn snakes easily get accustomed to their owners unlike adult corn snakes who may need more time.
What is the temperament of corn snakes around kids?
Corn snakes are naturally calm. When accustomed to their owners, they are very docile and easy to handle. Due to their calm nature, corn snakes make very good family pets.
Corn snakes will only strike if they feel threatened or stressed. As such, corn snakes have a calm temperament even around kids so long as they are being treated right.
We however do not recommend unsupervised handling of snakes of any type by kids. Make sure that you are around when kids handle your corn snake. Alternatively teach your kids how to handle corn snakes before allowing unsupervised handling.
Are corn snakes aggressive?
Generally speaking, corn snakes are not aggressive. They are docile snakes that are reluctant to bite or lash out. Corn snakes are calm when you go into their cage to clean it up and even when you handle them.
Due to their gentle nature, corn snakes make good beginner pet snakes. They are easy to care for and manage and respond well to handling.
Although corn snakes are not aggressive there are instances where corn snakes may become aggressive. However, this is only occasional.
Are male or female corn snakes more aggressive?
Neither male nor female corn snakes are more aggressive. They have a calm temperament and are reluctant to bite if they are treated right. Owners are divided on whether male or female corn snakes are more aggressive. Therefore, there is not much difference.
A small minority of owners report that female corn snakes strike and bite more frequently than male corn snakes. However, this does not mean that female corn snakes are more aggressive.
Aggression in most snakes is dependent on individual snakes’ personality and is not linked to the sex of the snake.
If two male corn snakes are housed together, they may fight for dominance. On the other hand, female snakes would live together in peace. However female corn snakes that have recently laid eggs, may become aggressive to defend her eggs.
Are baby corn snakes aggressive?
Baby corn snakes in the wild are preyed on by coral snakes and kingsnakes. To survive in nature baby corn snakes need to be feisty. Baby corn snakes can be quite aggressive if they see you as a danger to them. Corn snakes are tiny snakes, your huge size may scare them into seeing you as a predator.
Baby corn snakes bred in captivity tend to be less aggressive. This is because they are accustomed to being handled from when they hatch. As such, we recommend buying corn snakes from a reputable breeder.
Why has my corn snake turned aggressive?
Generally, corn snakes are docile snakes. However, corn snakes may become aggressive if they feel threatened or stressed. There are many things that can make your corn snake feel threatened or stressed.
1. Fear of predation
One of the reasons corn snakes may become aggressive, is if you try to pick your corn snake from above. Most corn snake predators strike from above hence the paranoia. Try not to hover over their heads for long and make sure they see your hands when you reach out into their enclosure.
Additionally, try to approach them from the side and not from the top. We recommend housing them in an enclosure that opens from the side such as the REPTI ZOO Large Reptile Glass Terrarium.
Another reason that may cause your corn snake to strike you, is if he feels exposed. Corn snakes like to hide in caves or hides. If you approach them when they are in the open they may panic and lash out. We recommend picking corn snakes from their hides where they feel safe and thus will be calm.
2. Improper handling
The second reason that a corn snake may become aggressive, is if they are not treated right during handling. If your grip suddenly becomes tight your corn snake may panic and strike you.
Make sure you are calm and comfortable when handling your corn snake. If you are calm, your snake will also be calm.
Another reason that your corn snake may strike you, is if you smell like their food. DO NOT handle your corn snake after feeding them. You may still smell like their food and they may bite you thinking it is food. We do not recommend handling your corn snake a day before feeding and a day after feeding.
Additionally, corn snakes may be aggressive during feeding. Corn snakes kill their prey by rapidly striking them then coiling around them to constrict them.
During feeding, your corn snake may strike your fingers. To avoid being bitten, make sure you use long tongs when feeding. You may also use snake gloves such as the REPPICA Animal Handling Gloves.
Alternatively, you may warm the prey slightly in a warm water bowl. This makes it easier for your corn snake to locate its prey as they are heat sensitive.
Another reason that corn snakes may become aggressive is during shedding. During shedding especially when the skin is peeling from the eyes, your snake will not see you. If you handle them, they may panic and strike you as they cannot see you. We do not recommend handling or feeding a corn snake during shedding.
How to handle an aggressive corn snake
Generally speaking, corn snakes are not aggressive. They may however strike or lash out if they fear for their safety or feel stressed. Additionally, your corn sake may become aggressive during feeding. Fortunately, you can easily tame an aggressive corn snake through regular handling.
But how do you handle an aggressive snake?
Use an appropriate feeding technique if your corn snake strikes you during feeding. You can purchase long tongs/tweezers or pet handling gloves to assist you during feeding.
A corn snake that attacks out of fear needs regular handling to remove the fear factor. You need to purchase a good snake hook like the DocSeward Snake Hook to assist you during handling.
You can easily handle an aggressive corn snake using the following simple technique.
- Open the corn snake terrarium
- Slide the snake hook gently under the corn snake at the middle of the body
- Lift the snake with his or her head facing away from you
- Place the snake on top of the cage. The snake may potentially fall off the hook.
- Slide one of your hands under the snake where the hook is
- Set the hook aside while supporting the snake
- Slide the other hand under the snake
- Enjoy handling your snake
When you handle your corn snake consistently every week, the aggression will eventually fade.
Are corn snakes venomous?
Corn snakes do not have a functional venom. They are therefore not venomous or poisonous to man. Corn snakes however physically resemble copperheads who are venomous. Due to this resemblance, corn snakes have been killed in the wild as a result of mistaken identity.
So how do they kill their prey?
Corn snakes belong to a group of rat snakes that subdue their prey by constriction.
When hunting, corn snakes first rapidly strike their prey to stop the prey. They then coil their body around the prey and kill it by constriction. Once dead, corn snakes then swallow their prey whole headfirst.
Are corn snakes harmful to man?
Corn snakes do not have a functional venom. They are therefore not harmful or poisonous to man.
Additionally, corn snakes in the wild prey on small rodents hence are useful to man. They help keep the rodent population in check.
Your pet corn snakes on the other hand cannot harm you even if they bite you. Their bite does not get worse than a cats’ scratch. The only time the bite will be harmful is if the wound gets infected. Seek medical attention immediately if you have an infected wound.
Related; Are ball pythons aggressive?