How To Tame A Corn Snake

Is your corn snake aggressive when you handle it?

Did you just get a new corn snake and aren’t sure how to begin handling the animal?

Corn snakes are a popular pet for anyone interested in owning a snake, as they are more docile than other snakes, and they usually don’t mind regular handling.

On occasion you might find you have a corn snake a bit more aggressive and you might ask:

How can I tame a corn snake?

Wait about two weeks until your corn snake has settled into its new home, then begin with brief sessions of handling, waiting to return the snake to its tank until it stops struggling. Gradually increase the handling time, but for no more than one hour as your snake will get too cold.

For more detailed information on how to tame your corn snake, continue reading this article.

how to tame a corn snake

Taming Your New Pet Corn Snake

Corn snakes are known for not minding regular handling, but hatchling corn snakes are the most likely to be defensive and aggressive.

The nervous nature of these young corn snakes makes them aggressive, and you might be unsure how to proceed with taming them.

With a new to you hatchling or adult corn snake, it is essential to let the animal settle into its new home before you attempt a handling session.

This can take about two weeks, and once they begin eating, you will have a good idea they are becoming acclimated to their new environment.

Handling sessions should start in short intervals gradually increasing in length.

It is a good idea to approach your new pet from the side rather than from above, so it doesn’t think you are a predator.

Gently and with confidence, lift your snake from the enclosure to begin each session.

Regular sessions will see your corn snake acclimate to you and to being held, and soon they will realize you are not a threat.

Why Is My Corn Snake Aggressive?

As discussed, corn snakes are usually known to be rather docile and great beginner pet snakes.

There are multiple reasons why your corn snake might be acting aggressively and defensively when you handle it.

We have compiled a list to help you narrow down the reason for the aggression in your snake.

Reasons your corn snake might be aggressive towards you:

  • The snake is a hatchling and naturally more defensive and nervous.
    • Your snake is hungry
    • If your snake is ill or injured, it will be exceptionally defensive
    • Your snake perceives you as a threat
    • The improper environment can cause stress and aggression
    • Your snake was caught directly from the wild and made to be pet
    • Its previous owner mishandled your new snake and made it fearful of humans

Many of the items on this list, like a hungry snake, are easy fixes.

If you determine your snake is ill or injured, a quick trip to the vet can cure the sickness and the aggression.

A less than ideal environment is easily remedied by checking the temperature, humidity levels, and size of the tank is suitable for your animal.

Improper handling by the previous owner or owning a wild-caught snake is trickier to fix, and you might never have a fully tame pet because of these reasons.

Corn Snake Body Language

If you are able to decipher the body language of your corn snake, you have a far better chance of having a positive interaction with your corn snake.

You will be able to tell if your snake is agitated if they hiss, rattle or shake their tail, assume a prominent position, or strike at the glass of their enclosure.

There is little difference in the aggression levels of male and female corn snakes, so these will apply no matter what sex snake you have in your home.

Once you understand how your snake acts when they are feeling threatened or acting aggressively, you will be much better able to judge when and when not to handle them.

If your corn snake is calm, you will more than likely see them flicking their tongue regularly, and you won’t see any of those signs mentioned above.

How Long Will It Take To Tame Your Corn Snake?

If you are looking for an exact timeline, unfortunately, there isn’t one.

All snakes, like all people, are different, and they are going to each takes their own time to be tame.

Your snake might be fearful of humans based on past experiences of improper handling and taming might take longer or never fully happen.

Regular handling will make it easier to tame your snake.

This will help them realize you are not a threat to them, and once they understand, your snake will become much more docile.

General Tips For Handling Your Corn Snake

There are some general tips for handling your corn snake to help keep you and your snake happy and healthy.

One of the first tips is to be sure to wash your hands before handling, as this will reduce the risk of transferring any bacteria to your snake.

Fully support your snake, so it feels safe when you are doing these sessions.

Hold your corn snake with one hand 1/3 of the way along its body and the other 2/3 of the way along its hull to give it proper support.

Handling sessions should not occur until about two days after feedings.

If you handle them before, it causes digestive problems in your snake and can make them regurgitate their latest meal.

Regurgitation is exceptionally stressful for your corn snake and can even be fatal.

Further reading: How to pick up and hold a corn snake


Corn snakes are aggressive towards their owners for a variety of reasons, but training them to understand you are not a threat is a great start to tame them.

Be sure to continue regular handling sessions after they have become acclimated to their new home, and soon your new corn snake will likely be used to you and being handled.

Proper handling will also assist in the taming of your corn snake.

We hope after reading this, you will be better able to tame your corn snake.

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