How Do You Handle A Corn Snake?

Are you not sure where to begin handling your new corn snake?

Do you want to make sure you’re handling your new pet correctly without hurting the snake?

Corn snakes are a great beginner pet, and one reason why is because unlike many of their reptile cousins, they are comfortable with regular handling.

Correctly handling your corn snake can keep you and your pet safe, while ensuring it stays a tame snake.

How do you handle a corn snake?

When going to handle a tame snake used to handling, approach with your hands from the side. Then pick it up supporting as much of the body as possible, without restraining the head or grabbing the tail.  Once you have taken the corn snake from the tank, support its body and allow it to slither from hand to hand.

Keep reading this article for complete instructions on how to best handle your corn snake and what to avoid.

how to handle a corn snake

How To Handle a Corn Snake Properly

There are a few things to keep in mind when handling a corn snake for the first time.

The snake is likely more afraid of you than you are of it, so approach the animal calmly and with confidence, but make sure the animal is tame and ready to be held.

Before handling this mild-mannered reptile, it is a good idea to wash your hands so you do not risk transferring any germs causing sickness in your snake.

How To Pick Up a Corn Snake

When you are ready to pick up the snake, slowly use your hands and approach the reptile from the side.

Approaching from above may trigger a defensive reaction in the corn snake, as many predators in the wild are known to attack from this direction.

After ensuring your snake will not believe you to be a predator, take hold of it about 1/3 of the way along its body with one hand.

Use your other hand to hold about 2/3 of the way along its body.

Holding it in this way will fully support the snake as you lift it out of the tank.

Now you have the snake out of the aquarium, allow it to slither from hand to hand while still supporting its body fully.

When Should You Start Handling Your Corn Snake?

If you are just bringing your corn snake home, it is a good idea to wait until it has become comfortable in its new environment.

You’ll know it has gotten used to its new home when it begins eating regularly.

Getting used to a new environment can usually take around two weeks, and once the snake is acclimated, it is a great idea to start the handling session slowly.

Keep these first sessions no longer than five minutes in the beginning and slowly increase the time.

In these first handling sessions, make sure the snake has become calm before returning it to its cage, as this will let your pet understand these sessions are not going to be harmful.

Safety Tips For Handling Your Corn Snake

Safety for this popular pet should be a top priority when handling occurs.

Corn snakes make great pets as they are very even-tempered, are easy to handle, and rarely bite, but they can become afraid if you restrain their heads.

This could spark a defensive reaction as they can see you as a predator.

When handling your corn snake, make sure you are not holding them at a great height as a fall could hurt the animal.

Hold your corn snake over something soft like a bed or couch just in case you do lose your grip.

Being near their cage during these handling sessions will allow for easy replacement if something does start to go wrong.

Do not handle corn snakes outdoors, because it is nearly impossible to find them if they get away from you.

Is It A Good Idea To Let Children Handle Corn Snakes?

Corn snakes are a great starter pet because they are such docile creatures who rarely bite.

Be sure to give proper instruction to your children before turning them loose with the corn snake.

Sometimes children are jumpy with a squirming snake, so proper supervision is a great idea to keep the snake from being injured.

How Often Should You Handle Your Corn Snake?

Handling a corn snake, or any snake, is stressful for the animal.

Regular handling is a great way to keep your pet tame and used to being around you, but remember snakes do not need human contact for their mental health.

It is best to keep these sessions handling your corn snake to small-time increments of between 15 and 30 minutes and no more than one hour.

Handling of your snake should occur one to two times per week.

This could increase if the snake’s tank requires cleaning or maintenance. 

Related: How to set up a corn snake tank

When Should You Not Handle Your Corn Snake?

It is not a good idea to handle your snake for 48 hours after it has eaten.

Handling the snake after it eats can cause regurgitation, which is highly stressful to the animal and can lead to death.

Another instance where handling your corn snake is not a great idea, is when it is about to shed its skin.

During this time of shedding its skin, the snake can appear to have bluish or cloudy eyes, which makes it difficult to see, making your snake possibly extra defensive.

It is best to wait until the shedding of the skin is complete before resuming regular handling.


We hope now you’ll be confident while handling corn snakes.

Handling your corn snake is not difficult if you are able to make sure it is aware you are not a predator as you approach it and fully support its body throughout the session.

These snakes are one of the most even-tempered, making them great first pets, and regular handling can ensure they remain tame, keeping you and the animal safe.

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