Are Corn Snakes Nocturnal Or Diurnal?

Reptile owners around the world want to know more about corn snakes, especially their sleep patterns. When are these slithering beauties most active? Are corn snakes nocturnal or diurnal? What do they do during their active time?

Key Takeaway:

Corn snakes can exhibit both sleeping patterns. It means they sleep during the day and night, both. They are crepuscular – most active during the twilight hours. Their first sleep cycle ends at dawn. This is when they hunt, gobble their food, find a sweet sleeping spot, and doze off till dusk.

Do all corn snakes show the same behavior?

If we are talking about corn snakes in their natural habitat, then yes! But for pet corn snakes, their environment affects their hunting behavior and sleep routine.

Ready to learn how to make sure your corn snake is living his best crepuscular life? Keep reading as we discover more about the sleep cycles of America’s favorite pet snakes.

nocturnal corn snake

Nocturnal Vs. Diurnal – The Difference

Nocturnal and diurnal are terms that describe an animal’s activity patterns, particularly regarding their sleep and wake cycles.

Nocturnal animals are active during the night and sleep during the day. They have heightened senses like enhanced night vision, hearing, or sense of smell, to navigate and hunt in low-light conditions.

In comparison, diurnal animals enjoy sunshine hours and rest when it gets dark. These animals can see in colors, and some, like turtles, use the sun to migrate.

Are Corn Snakes Diurnal or Nocturnal?

Snakes are interesting species. Some are strictly diurnal, whereas others are religiously nocturnal.

Black mambas, king snakes, and garter snakes are diurnal snakes. On the other hand, ball pythons, boa constrictors, and rat snakes are all strictly nocturnal.

When are corn snakes active? Are corn snakes nocturnal or diurnal?

Corn snakes fancy lurking in the twilight, so they are crepuscular – they like to hunt and hide in the late afternoons and early mornings.

But beware, your pet corn snake can stay active during the day and night too.

How? Why?

It’ll happen if your pet snake isn’t comfortable in his environment. Food availability is a major cause too. You’ll find more about providing a cozy environment for corn snakes further down in the article.

Corn Snake Hunting Behavior

As snake lovers, we all want our pet snakes to have the time of their lives when in captivity. And so, understanding their natural behavior in the wild becomes unquestionably important.

Let’s see how and when these patterned wonders hunt.

Corn snakes are crepuscular. They prefer hunting during the sunrise glow and the evening hues – dawn and dusk.

But why? Isn’t it too dark to hunt and find hiding spots during those hours?

For humans, yes, it’s dark. But for snakes, it’s just what they want.

Low-light settings make stalking and hunting easier. They also follow the traces left by other predators to reach the burrows of their innocent prey - rodents.

When they’re done with the hunt and munch, wild corn snakes slither into abandoned buildings and tree branches to relax. Since not all animals can see so well in the dark, there are slimmer chances for corn snakes to become someone’s meal themselves.

Corn Snake Sleep Cycles

Corn snakes have two sleep cycles – post-dawn to pre-dusk and post-dusk to pre-dawn. Basically, they sleep during the day and night. That’s what makes them crepuscular animals.

Breaking news: Corn snakes can be nocturnal at times!

Corn snakes can become primarily nocturnal during warmer months. When the daytime temperatures get higher than 85°F, they prefer to stay active during the night and sleep during the day. It helps them escape the extreme heat and intense light.

corn snake close up

How Do Corn Snakes Sleep?

It doesn’t matter whether your snake is nocturnal, diurnal, or crepuscular – he sleeps.

But my pet corn snake never closes his eyes? Does he not sleep?

Did you know snakes have no eyelids? Yep, no eye shutters at all. And so, it appears that their eyes are always open. But rest assured that your pet snake is getting enough sleep. He closes his retina to prevent light from entering.

If his eyes are always open, how can I tell if he’s sleeping?

Look at his tongue. Is it flicking? No? He’s asleep.

If your pet doesn’t move when you lift the tank’s lid or change the water, he’s in a state of deep slumber. It’s going to be a hunting party when he wakes up.

Where Do Corn Snakes Sleep?

Corn snakes prefer keeping a low profile. So, in the wild, they find a pleasant, out-of-sight spot under rocks and foliage, on logs and trees, and in abandoned buildings.

Pet corn snakes don’t like it any different. So, you’ll have to make sure their vivarium has enough hiding places.

Find more about providing an ideal, as-close-to-natural environment for your corn snake below.

Corn Snake Environment

In their natural habitat, corn snakes sleep twice a day. They hunt and hide during the twilight hours. But you have a pet corn snake – a slithering friend who expects you to provide for him.

What can I do?

Keep your focus on two things, and your pet will be happy with you: enclosure comfort and food timing.

Corn Snake Enclosure Comfort

What do you have to say about sleeping in a chilled room with a bright light shining on your face? Not comfortable, right?

Corn snakes feel the same. They like their peace and quiet during their sleeping hours. So, dim those flickering lights during the daytime and past dusk. It’ll stimulate your friend’s hunting and snoozing behavior.

If you want to give your snake the perfect day-night rhythm, keep the temperature in check. During the day, shoot for around 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit, and when night falls, dial it down to a cool 75° F-80° F.

Your snake also needs a special spot to bask. It’s like his survival haven, a place to chill out and soak up some warmth. Remember, they’re not big fans of bright lights, so keep it nice and dim around there. Aim for a toasty 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit in the basking area.

Is the basking spot optional? Can I skip it?

Oh, no, you can’t. The basking spot isn’t only for show. Your corn snake uses it to regulate his body temperature.

Do corn snakes need heat at night?

No, they’re cool with low temperatures at night. But the low shouldn’t be too low – as we said, keep it around 75 degrees Fahrenheit minimum.

corn snake inside enclosure

Corn Snake Feeding Time

Since most corn snakes hunt at dawn in the wild, that’s when you’ll have to drop a rat or mouse in their vivarium in captivity.

But sometimes, my corn snake doesn’t even touch his food during those hours.

Okay, no problem. That behavior implies that your snake is tired and (surprisingly) not hungry. So, you let the appetite build and feed him at dusk.

A corn snake that’s feeling cold will also show no interest in his meal. Check his home’s temperature to ensure it’s warm enough for him.

The Final Word on Corn Snakes’ Sleeping Habits

So, corn snakes are neither diurnal nor nocturnal? Correct.

Corn snakes are crepuscular. It means they hunt at dusk and dawn. While we think the lighting conditions are too low to find a decent meal or a cozy hiding spot, corn snakes believe otherwise. They find it easier to stalk and grab in low lights.

Pet corn snakes can sometimes show signs of being nocturnal. It’ll happen if their human-designed habitat isn’t up to the mark in terms of temperature. It can disturb your pet’s behavior.

So, make sure you keep his home sufficiently warm during the day at 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit and slightly cold at night at 75-80 degrees. Also, only feed during the twilight hours.

Did you find the article helpful?

At Oddly Cute Pets, we want our snake-lover friends to stay as well-informed about the species as possible. So, if you’re looking for more information on snakes, do check out our website. There, you will also find information on rodents and other reptiles.

Thanks for reading, pals!

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