Many species of snakes are dangerous to humans, but…
…Are corn snakes poisonous? What should you do the next time you come across one?
In this article, we’ll let you in on everything you must know about corn snake bites, how to avoid them, and whether they are dangerous or not.
The corn snake is not poisonous or dangerous. Corn snakes are non-venomous and do not have sharp fangs. They are reluctant to bite humans and only bite when they feel threatened.
So why do people often think corn snakes are dangerous?
Find out in the next section of this article.
Table of Contents
Are Corn Snakes Poisonous or Dangerous?
When some people see snakes, they immediately think they are in danger. On the other end of the spectrum, some people are perfectly comfortable keeping corn snakes as pets.
So, what’s the truth about corn snakes? Are they poisonous and dangerous or not?
Let’s find out.
Is a Corn Snake Poisonous?
First of all, let’s set things straight by stating that corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) are not poisonous. Corn snakes do not have venom that is harmful to humans or animals.
Because they are not poisonous, many people keep corn snakes as pets.
Is a Corn Snake Dangerous?
Many people worry when they find themselves face to face with a corn snake.
But, are corn snakes dangerous?
No, corn snakes are not dangerous. Consider a few reasons why.
- Corn snakes do not inject venom
- Corn snakes do not have sharp fangs but they do have teeth
- They only bite when they feel threatened. They are reluctant to bite humans. When they do bite, they only make shallow marks on the skin.
- The snakes do not have sufficient body length to constrict humans or large animals
Is There a Poisonous Corn Snake?
|Common species name:
|Scientific species name:
|Nearly checkered pattern, round pupils, slender build
|60 to 180 cm
|10 to 15 years in the wild, 23 in captivity
|Rodents, mostly mice and rats
The corn snake belongs to the family of North American rat snakes.
Where did it get its name from?
It might have adopted its name thanks to the fancy patterns on its belly. The pattern of the snake’s belly scales resembles kernels of maize or variegated corn.
It may also be so named because of the species’ regular presence around grain stores where it can find its prey. Corn snakes can climb trees and go to great lengths to find wild rodent pests and any small prey.
The pet corn snake is the second most popular captive snake in the United States, but…
…should you be afraid of it?
Let’s find out!
Are Corn Snakes Poisonous to Humans?
The corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus) is not poisonous. They are non-venomous animals and most corn snakes will not bite humans.
This is because corn snakes eat small rodents and do not have fangs to pierce into tough skin. Corn snakes bite only when they feel threatened.
When a corn snake bites, it will not draw much blood. The affected area will not hurt too much and the pain will soon subside.
It is not likely for captive corn snakes to bite their owners. If they do, it was because they felt the person posed a threat to their safety.
In fact, instead of being poisonous, corn snakes often make good pets. Here are a few reasons why.
- They are docile
- They are easy to feed (corn snakes eat rodents like mice and rats that eat harvested corn)
- They hide during the day and come out at night
Are Baby Corn Snakes Poisonous?
Most corn snakes will not bite humans unless they feel like they are under threat. This is also true about baby corn snakes.
Baby corn snakes, just like adult snakes is not poisonous. Here are some of the reasons you do not need to be worried if one were to bite you.
- Young corn snakes do not have venom
- Their teeth are not sharp. A young corn snake bite will not be painful. A bite from an adult corn snake will not be too painful either.
Are Corn Snakes Venomous or Poisonous?
Corn snakes are often confused with the venomous copperhead snake. This is because of their resembling patterns.
Because of its mistaken identity, people often kill the corn snake out of fear. But this species of snake is not harmful to humans.
Although superficially resembling the copperhead, these two snakes could not be more different in the way they behave.
For example, the bite of a corn snake is not venomous. When the corn snake bites, it does not pass on any venom to animals or humans.
Rather than being a nuisance, the corn snake is helpful to the environment and assists with pest control. They help to kill rodents that spread disease and eat harvested corn in crop plantations.
Corn snakes help to reduce and control populations of pests.
The corn snake’s bite is not poisonous. If you are bitten by a corn snake, you will likely feel some minor discomfort but that will soon pass.
Their bites do not tend to draw blood and are non-venomous.
How to Avoid a Corn Snake Bite
A corn snake might bite when it feels threatened. And although their bite is not particularly painful, it is not pleasant to be bitten by any animal.
So, coming up next, we’re going to consider a couple of ways to avoid a corn snake bite.
Handle It Gently
Sudden movements may make your corn snake see you as a threat. In their natural environment, corn snakes bite at threatening presences as a type of defensive behavior.
To avoid being bitten, handle your corn snake with care. Do not overhandle it and avoid making fast movements when approaching it.
Feed Your Corn Snake Regularly
A corn snake might be more likely to bite when it is hungry. Feed your snake regularly to avoid this problem.
Feed your snake small rodents like mice and rats as these are the animal’s prey in the wild.
How often must you feed it?
Give your corn snake one frozen or thawed mouse every 7 to 14 days.
If you have a large corn snake, feed it slightly larger mice. If you have a small snake, a pinky mouse will do just fine.
Hatchlings will need feeding more often (every 5 to 7 days) whereas adults will need feeding less often (every 14 to 17 days).
Always make sure your corn snake has access to clean water. Change its water every day to make sure it stays healthy.
Do Not Hand Feed Your Corn Snake
Your corn snake might accidentally bite you if you hand-feed it. Leave its food in its enclosure for it to eat on its own.
Did You Know?
Corn snakes are really interesting animals.
Are you ready to find out why we think they’re so fascinating?
Then check out this list of mind-boggling corn snake facts.
- The oldest corn snake to ever live in captivity had a lifespan of 32 years and 3 months
- Studies on corn snakes suggest odor cues are of primary importance for corn snakes whereas visual cues are of secondary importance to them
- The corn snake is also known as the red rat snake
- They have a striking range that is up to half of their body length
- The patterns and colors on the corn snake’s body differ depending on how old the snake is and where it is found. Its underbelly usually has a checkerboard pattern.
- A corn snake will tend to hide throughout the day under logs and rocks and will become more active at night
- It takes cover from the cold and can sometimes lodge under a house during the winter
- The snake becomes sexually mature when it reaches a certain size rather than age
FAQ About Corn Snakes
Have you ever wondered whether the corn snake is poisonous or not, what it looks like, and how long it lives? You’ll find out the answers to these questions and more in this section.
Corn Snakes Are They Poisonous?
Corn snakes are not poisonous as they are non-venomous.
Corn Snake Is Poisonous or Not?
Corn snake bites are not poisonous. Corn snakes do not have venom.
Corn snakes bite with teeth and not with sharp fangs.
What Do Corn Snakes Look Like?
The intricate pattern of the corn snake’s belly scales resembles variegated corn which may be where it got its name. It may also be so named because it is often found around grain stores where it finds its prey.
It has round pupils and a nearly checkered pattern over its body.
Although superficially resembling the venomous copperhead snake they are very different in temperament. It also has a more slender build and brighter colors than the venomous copperhead snake and does not have heat-sensing pits.
Their colors, however, are not as bright as those of milk snakes.
The fully grown corn snake’s body length is between 60 to 180 cm in length. Corn snakes are similar to other rat snakes that are native to North America.
What Do Corn Snakes Eat?
Corn snakes primarily feed on the wild rodent pests they find in corn fields. The species’ regular presence in and around corn fields helps to control populations of wild rodents that damage crops and spread disease.
They often climb trees in order to find a variety of small prey. This includes other reptiles, amphibians, and unguarded bird eggs.
Studies on corn snakes suggest that in the wild, the method of primary importance for prey detection that corn snake uses is odor cues. The method of secondary importance for prey detection is visual cues.
Feed your corn snakes every 7 to 14 days. Hatchlings will need feeding more often and adults will need feeding less often.
Pinky mice are good for feeding small corn snakes and larger mice are good for bigger corn snakes.
How Long Do Most Corn Snakes Live?
Corn snakes live for 10 to 15 years in the wild. In captivity, they live for about 23 years.
The oldest corn snake to ever live reached 32 years and 3 months of age.
Where Do Corn Snakes Live?
Corn snakes live in forest openings and overgrown fields, trees, Flatwoods, and seldom-used buildings in the Southeast United States. The snake usually lives on the ground until it is about 4 months old and after that, it may climb trees or even cliffs.
The Final Word on the Corn Snake’s Bite
Because of its mistaken identity, many people confuse corn snakes with dangerous and poisonous snakes. They are afraid a corn snake bite might endanger their lives.
This article, however, has helped to clear the air. It showed us that corn snakes are not venomous and that they only bite when they feel threatened.
They also help to reduce the number of pests that damage crops.
Corn snakes do not have sharp fangs and are usually reluctant to bite humans. If a corn snake did bite you, it would be very rare and the pain of the bite would soon go away.
Did you find the information in this article interesting?
At Oddly Cute Pets, we are always striving to provide you with the best guides about corn snakes and other animals. To find out more about how to look after many species of small snakes and other reptiles, check out our website.
Thanks for reading!