Corn snakes, or red rat snakes, are prevalent in many regions in North America, mainly in the mid-sections of the United States. Since they can be pretty common, this begs the question: are corn snakes friendly?
In this article, we’ll explore all the things that contribute to the temperament and general nature of these adorable things. Let’s start with the main question.
Yes, corn snakes are generally known for being friendly.
These creatures are considered the ideal pet snake for the entire family, from kids to adults. They’re relatively docile and harmless and will allow you to hold them as opposed to other species that may hiss at you if you come near.
In fact, corn snakes are so friendly that they’re actually well-versed in cuddling.
However, even though these cuddly reptiles will let you hold them, you’re only allowed to do so for short periods. Typically, this means holding them for about 5–10 minutes at a time, 3–4 times a week.
When it comes to getting the pet of your dreams, especially a slithering snake, we recommend you get something that doesn’t have mood swings. That’s why many experts recommend corn snakes for pets because they’re generally gentle and easy-going.
This is in stark contrast to other species, like the copperhead snake, which shares a similar appearance to the corn snake.
As mentioned above, corn snakes can be mistaken for copperheads to the point that people exterminate the former on the spot. However, there are still some distinctions you can look for when double-checking some corn snakes in your local pet shop.
Typical corn snakes have a black-and-white pattern on their undersides, almost like having a checkerboard on their bellies. They also appear to have spots that run from the lower to the upper parts of their bodies, whereas copperheads have pear shapes on their sides.
Even though reptile owners say otherwise, generally snakes and reptiles can’t show or feel affection because they don’t have the mental capacity for it. Besides, they’re solitary beings by nature.
Based on anatomy alone, they and other reptiles have more minuscule brains. Hence, they lack the brain power to show or process emotions.
Yes, they do know who their owners are despite having small-sized brains and a reduced capacity to retain long-term memory. Coupled with their poor hearing and eyesight, they usually don’t recall all that much.
In addition, small, docile snakes, like corn snakes, tend to show tolerance towards the people caring for them. It’s particularly apparent in the laid-back manner in which they confront their owners.
This isn’t saying the snakes ‘know’ that these are their owners. Yet, most likely, they associate them with food. In this case, they might not fully understand the concept of ‘owner’ but rather see them as non-threatening.
This question boils down to how much trust your pet trusts, not solely whether they like you or not. Again, their mental capacities might not fully comprehend concepts like liking their owner or feeling affection.
As is the case in all living beings, with trust comes a well-balanced lifestyle. So, if your snake is healthy, safe, and secure, then that’s the closest thing to trust a corn snake will experience.
Yet, keep in mind that it takes a while for corn snakes to feel safe and become fully integrated into their new habitat.
Too much stress for a snake could lead to complications in its life, like the inability to eat properly. Consequently, it’ll often get sick, which will have a detrimental effect on its health.
So, to earn their trust, think about how you can improve the life of your snake in your own home by diminishing any unnecessary stressors. Evaluate how you treat them, how they live, and other aspects of their lives.
Corn snakes live as long as 10 to 15 years and grow to a little less than five feet, depending on the species and the sex.
Budding owners should be ready with all the supplies they need to take care of snakes like these. These pets are lifers, which means that, on average, they have long lifespans.
A stressed-out corn snake, or any pet snake for that matter, shows these behaviors:
- Hides themselves away
- Too much heavy breathing
- Pee or poop on you
- Hesitant movement when you try to touch them
- They don’t flick out their tongues like before
- Randomly constrict things
- Constantly try to get out of their cages
- Hit you out of the blue
- Hisses too frequently or too loud
- Smashing their noses on stuff
- Lose a lot of weight
- Weak appetite
One of the main stressors for snakes is being constricted in their living quarters, which are often a tank or aquarium. Corn snakes, even smaller species, require a lot of space to roam around.
The size may change over time as they grow and mature. For example, younger corn snakes are comfortable in a terrarium or tank that can hold up to 10 gallons. Yet, when they mature into adulthood, they’ll need up to a 40-gallon home when they roam freely without restrictions.
In order for a corn snake to feel relaxed, it needs to be in a stress-free environment. To achieve this, make sure its living includes all the things it needs to develop and survive, such as the following:
Based on their other name, red rat snakes, this snake species mainly eats rats and mice. Quails also make a nice, tasty alternative.
Our cuddly and non-cuddly reptile friends have an amazing ability to stretch their mouths and stomachs to accommodate large prey. Yet, just to be on the safe side, make sure that the size of their meal is more than 1.5 times the largest circumference of their body.
As previously mentioned, your pet needs the right-sized tank, with the right temperature, to enjoy a healthy, well-balanced life.
While getting the tank is easy, fixing the temperature inside it can be tricky. This is where a heat lamp can help. This accessory acts as a source of indirect heat of 82 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit that it needs to thrive.
The tank should also have a cooler area, around 68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, to help the snakes regulate their body temperatures.
There should also be night and day lighting patterns, with a regular schedule of 12 hours each. Also, humidity levels should be maintained between 40%–50%.
So, are corn snakes friendly? Yes!
Corn snakes are the kind of snakes you’d like to encounter because of their affectionate nature. They’re particularly open towards their owners when they aren’t stressed.
Remember, snakes won’t feel stressed as long as they’re surrounded by people who make them feel safe and live in an environment conducive to their growth.
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.