When it comes to the fear factor, no creature in the animal kingdom is as spine-tingling as snakes. These silent, slithering beasts are often the stuff of horror movies and nightmares. However, not all snakes are equal.
You may be wondering: are corn snakes dangerous?
Corn snakes aren’t dangerous to humans at all. For starters, they aren’t venomous and have very small teeth. They will rarely bite humans except in cases where they feel threatened or are extremely hungry. Even if they bite, the damage done is in the form of minimal punctures.
Read on to find out more about the characteristics of corn snakes in terms of their venomousness, their bite, and their overall danger. We’ll also reveal whether corn snakes can be kept as pets.
Corn Snakes: Overview
Corn snakes (Elaphe guttatus) are native to North America. They can be found all over the continent in a variety of habitats including meadowlands, tropical forests, and rocky open areas.
These snakes are characterized by their slim, orange appearance as well as the crimson spots that can be found along their bodies. Corn snakes can vary in size, with some of them being as short as 24 inches and others being up to six feet in length.
Their main prey is small rodents and birds, while their predators include foxes, skunks, and hawks. Additionally, they’re even eaten by bigger snakes such as coral snakes and king snakes.
Corn snakes aren’t listed as an endangered species. However, they’re considered a species of special concern in some states, including New Jersey and Florida. The population of corn snakes in these states is dwindling due to habitat loss and destruction.
Are Corn Snakes Dangerous to Humans?
The danger of corn snakes to humans is virtually non-existent. Even if these snakes had ill intentions toward humans, they’re simply not equipped to do any harm.
Their teeth are too small to cause any significant damage when they bite, and they also don’t have fangs or any venom. Therefore, you have nothing to worry about if you’re bit by a corn snake. All that will happen is that you’ll have an exciting story to tell your friends.
Additionally, the constriction that corn snakes use to handle their prey is nowhere near strong enough to cause any damage to a human, even a child.
In fact, corn snakes are actually beneficial to humans. This is because their diet consists of pesky pests, such as mice and rats.
Are Corn Snakes Venomous?
Corn snakes aren’t venomous at all. In fact, these snakes don’t even have fangs, and their teeth are very small.
Their method of incapacitating their prey is by tightly constricting their bodies around them until they suffocate them or damage their internal organs.
However, corn snakes look very similar to another type of snake that is in fact very venomous. This will be covered in detail in a later section.
Do Corn Snakes Bite?
Although corn snakes have been known to bite humans at times, this is a very rare occurrence. A corn snake will only bite for defensive purposes when it views you as a threat for any reason.
Another case in which corn snakes may strike is when they’re hungry and mistake your hand for food.
Even when they do bite, corn snakes are pretty much harmless. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, their bites don’t inject any venom. Additionally, corn snakes’ bites have minimal penetration due to the small size of their teeth.
The only thing you’re likely to feel if bit by a corn snake is a slight pinch, which may not even draw any blood. If you’re bit by a young corn snake, you may not actually feel anything at all.
The only concern surrounding corn snake bites is that their saliva can sometimes contain certain bacteria that may cause a mild infection.
What to Do If a Corn Snake Bites You
If a corn snake happens to bite you, don’t be alarmed. You should be as calm as possible and handle the situation the right way.
What you should avoid doing is aggressively pulling the snake off in an attempt to get it to release its grip. This is because doing this may actually do more harm than good due to the structure of this snake’s teeth.
Corn snakes’ teeth are at an inwardly inclined angle; by pulling the snake, you’re likely to worsen the bite’s damage to your skin.
Since a corn snake’s bite is always defensive, you should wait until the snake eventually lets go and slithers away on its own. If the bite has drawn blood, you’re going to want to disinfect the wound using Neosporin or hydrogen peroxide.
These snakes are also very quick and have a long striking range. They can pounce from up to three feet away, so we should be thankful that these snakes aren’t venomous. If they were, they would have been extremely dangerous!
Additionally, if you have a corn snake as a pet and it bites you, make sure to resist the temptation to handle it aggressively afterward. Corn snakes’ bodies are quite tender, so throwing the snake back into its tank can cause internal damage.
Can You Keep Corn Snakes As Pets?
If you’re looking to get a pet snake, you should definitely consider getting a corn snake. In fact, they’re one of the most popular types of snakes to keep for those who like having reptile companions in their homes.
This is because corn snakes have a peaceful demeanor and you don’t need to do much to keep them happy and content.
All they need is an adequately sized, clean terrarium, and for you to maintain the terrarium at a suitable temperature, lighting, and humidity. Add to that some defrosted mice and you’re good to go.
This, in addition to their relatively small size, makes them an ideal option for someone who’s getting a snake as a pet for the first time.
Is it Safe to Have Corn Snakes Around Other Pets?
If you have other pets such as a dog or a cat at home, you may be wondering if your furry friends and your corn snake will get along.
Snakes don’t usually go very well with cats and dogs. However, they also won’t cause any harm. A corn snake’s bite is just as harmless to cats and dogs as it is to humans.
Why Do People Kill Corn Snakes?
Many corn snakes are killed by humans every year. This should come as a surprise since corn snakes aren’t a threat at all and are beneficial to humans as we’ve established.
So, what’s the reason behind humans killing so many corn snakes?
The answer to that question is corn snakes’ close resemblance to copperhead snakes. Both these snakes share very similar colors and patterns, and they can be easily mistaken for each other by the untrained eye.
In terms of danger, copperhead snakes are the exact opposite of corn snakes. They’re highly venomous, and their bites are severe and very expensive to treat.
This is why humans kill so many corn snakes.
If you’re wondering whether corn snakes are dangerous, the answer is that they’re not.
These snakes aren’t venomous at all, and they rarely bite. Even if they happen to bite someone, their teeth are very small and don’t cause any significant damage to the skin. Additionally, their constriction force is only strong enough to affect small rodents, not humans.
Not only are corn snakes not dangerous to humans, but they also make great pets. They’re very low-maintenance and have a docile nature, making them an excellent choice for people who are just getting into keeping snakes as pets.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.