Corn Snake Handling & Body Language Guide

Corn snakes are beautiful reptiles that come in various morphs and sizes. They are lonesome creatures in the wild but they can get used to your touch as pets.

Not sure how to handle a corn snake?

In this article, we have listed the best method for handling a corn snake and also some body language tips that will let you know when it is a good idea to touch your snake and when it’s not.

Key Takeaway:

Wash your hands before touching your corn snake. Put one hand under the head and the other towards the tail. Do not handle it for more than 15 minutes. Never handle it if it is hissing, shaking its tail, or forming an “S” shape with its head and neck.

But do corn snakes like it when you handle them? And, what’s the best method for handling a corn snake for the very first time?

To find out the answers to these questions and more, take a look at the upcoming guide.

Corn Snake Handling Guide

corn snake on hand

You’ve just taken your corn snake home from the pet store and you want it to get used to handling, remain tame, and feel comfortable in its new environment.

But how can you tell when is a good time to start handling a corn snake and how must you begin?

Up next, we’re going to go into detail about how to read a corn snake’s body language and teach you how to pick it up for the first time.

Let’s slither right to it.

Corn Snake Body Language

Corn snakes are generally very placid reptiles that are indifferent to handling whenever you use the proper handling techniques. (More about those in a mo.)

But even still, if you’re in doubt about your snake’s mood and whether now is the right time to start handling it, take a look at the following information.

  • Do not begin handling sessions if the corn snake is hissing at you. This is a defensive instinct and it is telling you to go away.
  • Do not attempt to handle a corn snake if it is shaking its tail. This means the corn snake currently views you as a threat and feels uneasy.
  • Do not touch your corn snake if it’s head and neck coil into an “S” shape. This means the animal views you as a threat. It is best to try again later.

Corn Snakes and Handling

You’re putting in a lot of effort to learn how to handle your corn snake safely, what to do, and what not to do. But now you’re wondering whether the animal likes it or not when you handle it.

Do corn snakes like to be handled? Or is this a very uncomfortable experience for them?

Your pet, although it will not look for human interaction, is tame and will get used to you handling it if you do so regularly. But snakes are not like other pets and will not seek your company.

How to Pick Up a Corn Snake

domestic corn snake

Although corn snakes do not seek human companionship, your pet snake might get used to handling and tolerate you holding it if you do so regularly.

So, you’re poised and ready to pick up your snake, now what must you do?

Take a look at the following steps that will help you pick up a corn snake properly.

  1. Make sure the snake is awake. If its tongue starts flicking, you know it is awake.
  2. Approach the snake from the side not from above its head.
  3. Place one hand underneath the head.
  4. Put your other hand under its main body.
  5. Gently lift it. Avoid grabbing it.
  6. Do not handle the snake for more than 10 to 15 minutes. After this, its core temperature will begin to drop too low and your snake might struggle to get warm again.

How to Hold a Corn Snake for the First Time

Do you have a new corn snake at home?

No matter if it is a baby corn snake or an adult, you might feel a little intimidated when it comes to handling your pet for the first time. You want your snake to feel secure and comfortable while you hold it, but perhaps you’re a little nervous.

Here are a couple of tips that will help you when handling your snake for the first time.

  • Use a snake hook. Use this hook to gently guide the snake out of its enclosure.
  • Wear light gloves. If you worry the snake will bite you gloves will give you more confidence.
  • Supervise children. Make sure they do not handle corn snakes without the proper supervision.
  • Put your hands under the main body of the animal. Avoid restricting its extremities.

When to Avoid Handling Your Pet Corn Snake

Your corn snake will soon warm up to regular handling if you give it attention in short spurts every day. But although you’ll love interacting with your animal, there will be times when you need to avoid holding it.

When must you never handle your corn snake?

Take a look at the following information to find out.

After Eating

No one likes moving around too much after eating, and your corn snake is the same. Too much handling shortly after feeding time could cause regurgitation which is highly stressful and possibly life-threatening to your pet.

Only begin resuming regular handling 48 hours after its last meal. This will give the reptile time to digest its meal and feel comfortable again.

how often to feed corn snake

When It Feels Threatened

Corn snakes are very docile animals and rarely bite, but they are more likely to when they are very stressed or when they feel under threat. The snake's head will pull back and it will form an "S" shape with its neck if it feels threatened.

Do not attempt to handle a corn snake while it is in this state.

After Handling Prey Items

Snakes recognize the smell of their food with their excellent senses of smell. They may attempt to bite as a feeding response if they smell prey items on your hands.

Always wash your hands after touching your snake’s food and before a handling session.

During Shedding

Your corn snake will feel extra defensive when it is shedding. During this time, the snake might have cloudy eyes which makes it tricky for it to see.

Social interaction during shedding is not a good idea. Wait until shedding is completely over to begin handling your corn snake again.

Become a Pro At Handling Your Corn Snake

Handling your corn snake is a bit of a daunting task when you’re doing it for the first time. But thanks to this article, we’ve seen some of the best tips for picking up your corn snake and reading its body language.

Always wash your hands before you touch your pet snake. Approach it from the side and hold it gently.

If your snake is in an “S” shape, if it is hissing at you, or if it shaking its tail do not approach it. Handle it often for it to get used to it but keep handling sessions short, (no longer than 15 minutes).

Did you find this article interesting?

At Oddly Cute Pets, we always strive to provide you with the best articles on corn snake handling. For more information on the best food for reptiles and other small pets, take a look at our website.

Thanks for reading!

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