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Corn Snakes vs. Rattlesnakes (5 Key Differences)

Corn Snakes vs. Rattlesnakes (5 Key Differences)
The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The main difference between the corn snake and the rattlesnake is that the corn snake is non-venomous, while the rattlesnake is venomous.

Additionally, corn snakes can imitate the rattle noises and movements that rattlesnakes do. However, they don’t have the actual rattle that rattlesnakes have at the end of their tails.

But when it comes to corn snake vs rattlesnake, which one would be longer, heavier, and which one is more dangerous? If you want to know all about these and more features they exhibit, keep on reading.

Corn Snakes vs. Rattlesnakes

Now let’s dig deeper into all the major differences that make each species of the two a one-of-a-kind.

1 – Visual Differences

The major visual difference between the two species is that the corn snake doesn’t have a rattle, while the rattlesnake has a rattle at the end of its tail.

However, there are other important visual differences.

What Do Corn Snakes and Rattlesnakes Look Like?

Corn snakes are a popular species to be kept as pets; they have a wide variety of colors, such as orange, red, gray, and brown. They have spear-shaped heads and are slender throughout their bodies.

While rattlesnakes have shades of dark brown and tan with diamond patterns all over their bodies, they possess triangular heads and vertical pupils.

What Are the Sizes and Weights of Corn Snakes and Rattlesnakes?

The corn snake is 2–6 feet long and weighs around 2 pounds. In contrast, the rattlesnake is 1–8 feet long and weighs 4–5 pounds.

2 – Behavior

Both Corn snakes and rattlesnakes are solitary reptiles. They prefer living alone and having their own space.

Despite this fact, corn snakes are great pets to have because they are easy to handle and not dangerous. However, if you decide to raise them, you must provide them with large spaces and don’t put them with another animal or reptile.

Rattlesnakes, on the other hand, won’t be that gentle with humans. They might bite them, and this is dangerous because they’re venomous.

3 – Location and Habitat

The rattlesnake is found in far more regions than the corn snake.

The corn snake could be found from New Jersey to Florida, covering most of the southern United States. In comparison, rattlesnakes are found throughout North America and South America, as far as Argentina.

The corn snakes prefer forests, woods, and grassy areas. The rattlesnake could be found in the same habitats as the corn snakes but are far more likely to be found in desert habitats.

4 – Diet

The diets of corn snakes and rattlesnakes depend on the ecosystem that they live within. And since these ecosystems overlap sometimes, so do their diets.

Their diets vary widely, but the following list contains some popular examples of their prey:

  • Small rodents such as rats and mice
  • Small lizards
  • Tree frogs
  • Small birds

What to Feed a Pet Corn Snake?

If you’re raising a corn snake, it wouldn’t always be easy to bring them some of the animals in the previous list. However, feeding them small mice could be the most convenient option.

To feed corn snakes small mice, it’s preferred to serve the small mice warm or defrosted. If you give your corn snake a live rodent, the rodent might hurt your corn snake, so keep an eye out for that.

5 – Hunting and Defense Mechanisms

Despite living in similar ecosystems sometimes, corn snakes and rattlesnakes have very different techniques for hunting and defending themselves.

How Do Corn Snakes and Rattlesnakes Hunt Their Preys?

Corn snakes are non-venomous. They kill their prey by wrapping their coil around it and squeezing it to death in an act known as constriction.

On the other hand, Rattlesnakes are venomous. They hunt their prey by biting them and injecting their fatal venom.

Though fatal to their prey, the amount of venom delivered won’t kill a human being. Still, be careful if bitten by a rattlesnake and seek medical attention immediately.

How Do Corn Snakes and Rattlesnakes Defend Themselves?

When threatened, corn snakes will most likely hide. Though sometimes, corn snakes may vibrate their tails against the ground and make rattling noises to scare away their predators.

On the contrary, rattlesnakes have an actual rattle that they use when being threatened. When in danger, they just coil up and do the trick.

Why Do Corn Snakes Rattle Their Tails?

The act of rattling their tails is a defense mechanism that corn snakes developed through their evolution.

It’s also a known form of Batesian mimicry, where a harmless species performs an act that resembles that of a more harmful species.

What Does It Mean When a Corn Snake Rattles Their Tail?

Corn snakes rattle their tails when they’re threatened.

The movement itself is to scare away predators. It’s intended to falsely convince predators that they are venomous and can hurt them.

If a corn snake rattles their tail in front of you, don’t worry, they won’t bite; it’s just because they’re scared.

Final Thoughts

Corn snake vs rattlesnake, which is more docile and which is dangerous?

Corn snakes are more gentle, so you can have them as pets. Provided you give them their large space and suitable food.

Rattlesnakes are more dangerous and don’t like to be approached by humans. If bitten by them, you have to seek medical attention because they’re venomous, but don’t worry; their bites aren’t fatal.