Having pet snakes can make for a great conversation starter, but some people might wonder if they’re actually safe companions.
So, do corn snakes carry diseases, and is this something that should concern potential pet owners?
Read on to learn more about managing a healthy corn snake to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your tiny pet safe!
Yes! Corn snakes can carry diseases that may become serious.
In fact, owning a pet corn snake in Australia is restricted because of the risk of spreading exotic diseases. Plus, they can also pose a threat to native species there.
They might also pass on internal parasites (that they get from low-quality diets) to other snakes.
So, if you suspect your corn snake has contracted a parasite, look out for signs of illness like vomiting, loss of appetite, and lack of activity.
Corn snakes are hardy animals, but that definitely doesn’t mean that they’re invincible.
Here are some common health problems and infections that you’ll need to watch out for:
Stomatitis, or mouth rot, occurs when bacteria enter an open wound in the snake’s mouth. It’s a common infection in corn snakes that causes inflammation.
You’ll be able to tell that your snakes have a case of stomatitis if the inside of their mouth changes color. It could also cause their saliva to bubble or become frothy.
In the worst cases, the infection may reach the bone, causing the teeth to fall out.
If your corn snakes are breathing with their mouth open or you can hear wheezing, it could be a case of respiratory infection.
Keep in mind that this issue could be connected to stomatitis or viral infections.
Like with other pets, corn snakes can have mites feeding on their blood. If you spot these black parasites on your snake, you’ll need to bathe them in warm water.
Because mites also lay their eggs in your snake’s tank, you’ll need to thoroughly disinfect it to keep them from coming back.
Many skin conditions can affect your corn snake, causing dermatitis.
For instance, if you keep the snakes in an environment that is too dry, they might not shed all their skin. This can cause infections when debris gets stuck in between the layers.
If you notice any skin discoloration, blisters, or infected wounds, get the snake checked by an exotic animal vet. If left untreated, the infection might reach the blood, causing death.
Sadly, some of the diseases that corn snakes carry can also affect humans, livestock, and other household pets.
Here are the common ones that could spread to you:
Healthy corn snakes can carry Salmonella in their intestines, and they might not even show any symptoms.
However, the bacteria can infect people who ingest contaminated food or have contact with the snake’s feces. Some of the symptoms to watch out for include diarrhea and fever.
Did you know that the bacteria that causes botulism can be found in snakes?
Unfortunately, botulism can be quite serious. After all, it can cause food poisoning and may affect muscle strength, vision, and breathing.
Snakes can transmit the bacteria that cause campylobacteriosis to humans. The symptoms may include diarrhea and fever a few days after contracting the bacteria.
This bacteria might spread if you play with your pet or touch its belongings, then put your hands near your mouth.
While some snakes play dead as their last act of defense, corn snakes aren’t particularly known to exhibit this behavior.
So, if you find your corn snakes out of the cage and looking drowsy, it could be a serious issue.
They might have had a nasty bump. It’s also possible that a larger pet hurt them or knocked a few of them around.
In this case, it’s best to check for injuries and keep them under close observation for a while. If it was just a case of getting stunned, they should all be fine after a good rest.
With that in mind, it might be safer to keep the tank lid secure at all times. Otherwise, the curious little fellows may end up getting hurt again while wandering around your house!
Now that you know more about corn snakes and the possible health concerns, you can be more prepared to take them on as pets.
All in all, corn snakes can carry diseases just like any other animal, and some of them can be passed on to you.
However, as long as you monitor the pets’ health, use high-quality meals, and practice proper hygiene, you can still enjoy the companionship of the adorable corn snakes!
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.