Skip to Content

Do Corn Snakes Smell? (Tips to Stop the Odor)

Do Corn Snakes Smell? (Tips to Stop the Odor)
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.

You might be thinking of buying corn snakes as pets sometime soon. These are great beginner snakes that are easy enough to handle even when you lack experience.

They can be excellent options, but caring for snakes won’t be something that will appeal to everyone. It’s still wise to consider whether getting these pets is the right choice for your household.

Are you worried about whether the corn snakes are going to make your home smell? Do corn snakes have an odor, or is that not something you need to worry about?

Continue reading to learn about whether corn snakes smell. This should help you to know what to expect when bringing these exotic pets into your home.

Do Corn Snakes Smell Bad?

Under normal circumstances, snakes are considered to be odor-neutral pets. They don’t give off a smell, and they cannot smell themselves.

However, there are certain times when snakes might give off a musk. This has the potential to smell horrible.

Of course, bodily secretions from the snake are going to have an odor. This is something that you expect when taking care of any type of animal.

If you’re noticing that the snake smells really bad, it’s likely related to the musk issue and not the secretions. Odors from bodily secretions can be dealt with easily by keeping the habitat clean.

Why Does My Corn Snake Smell Bad?

The most likely reason why your snake smells bad is that it’s giving off a musk. This term refers to snakes emitting odors from their cloacal glands.

Both male and female corn snakes have cloacal glands. These glands can be located on the sides of their vents.

Snakes use these glands to produce terrible smells that they will emit when they feel scared or agitated. You can look at this as a defensive gesture from the snake.

There could be things that you’re doing that are causing the snake to feel scared or annoyed. In turn, the snake is releasing the odors as a way to keep you at bay.

Handling Snakes Too Much

Handling snakes too much is never a good idea. Remember that snakes don’t particularly like being handled by humans.

While snakes can certainly get used to being handled, it’s easy to cause a pet snake to feel stressed by doing it too much. You might need to cut back on the number of times you’re handling the snake in a week.

It’s best not to handle the snake more than twice per week. Some people stick to handling corn snakes once per week.

Handling the snake is beneficial in certain ways. It helps to keep the snake tame, and it keeps the snake used to your presence.

Going overboard simply winds up being detrimental. If you’ve been handling the snake three or four times per week, that’s almost surely why you’re smelling the odors in your home.

Why Do Snakes Make Themselves Smell?

In the wild, snakes make themselves smell so they will be less appealing to predators. They can make themselves less tasty so that certain animals won’t try to kill and eat them.

In captivity, it generally occurs because the snakes are scared or annoyed. So it really isn’t that much different than what they do in the wild.

The snake is simply using the odor as a way to protect itself. It feels threatened by being handled so often.

Another possibility involves the snake not being used to the environment yet. Sometimes snakes that first enter a home will become scared because they need to acclimate to their new surroundings.

So a snake might smell a bit more than usual until it calms down. This can take several days or potentially a week.

Another thing to know is that corn snakes sometimes start musking as a way to attract mates. It could be that your corn snake wants to look for a mate if it smells bad, and there’s no discernible reason why it would be scared or agitated.

A female snake can use musking as a way to produce chemical trails that can be followed by male snakes. You shouldn’t have to worry about this too often.

Can You Stop Corn Snakes From Musking?

One of the best ways to keep corn snakes from musking is to be careful about how often you handle them. Only handle the snakes once or twice per week.

Also, you need to be sure to handle the snake properly. Handling the snake wrong will stress the snake, and this will make it more likely to use musking as a defensive mechanism.

Don’t handle snakes when they’re digesting food either. That can irritate them and make them want to get away from you.

Handling a hungry snake isn’t a good idea either. You need to pick the right time to handle the snake to do things safely.

Corn snakes will feel safer in their habitats if you give them places to hide. Setting the environment up to be as comfortable for the snake as possible can help quite a bit.

Clean the Habitat Regularly

Be sure to clean the habitat regularly to keep the corn snake’s tank from smelling bad. Remember that bodily secretions can create odors.

These smells aren’t tough to deal with at all, but you need to be ready to do tank maintenance. Cleaning the snake’s environment regularly will help to keep odors to a minimum.

Typically, snakes will produce excretions after eating meals. So be ready to clean the tank when necessary to keep it from starting to smell bad.

Staying on top of things won’t take a lot of effort. Just know that you need to clean the tank, or it will have a noticeable odor.

Final Thoughts

Learning about corn snakes and why they might smell will help you out. If you’re still deciding whether you want corn snakes, this information could make it easier to decide what to do.

These snakes usually don’t smell much at all. Snakes are odor-neutral unless they are musking.

Musking is something that snakes might do for several reasons. In captivity, it’s often a sign that the snake is afraid or agitated.

A snake might become stressed due to being mishandled or due to being handled too often. It’s best to limit the number of times you handle a snake each week, and it’s also appropriate to handle snakes only at specific times.

Never handle a snake when it’s hungry or when it has just eaten. You can easily stress the snake and make the odor issue get worse.

Snakes also produce bodily secretions that will smell a bit. These aren’t that bad, but you will need to clean the habitat to keep things smelling okay.

If you’re prepared to handle this, corn snakes will be good pets for you. They’re as easy as it gets when it comes to keeping pet snakes in your home.

Despite this, not everyone is going to want to take the time to care for snakes. They’re relatively simple pets to care for, but you might not be up for it depending on your lifestyle and how often you’re home.

Be honest with yourself and only buy corn snakes as pets if you’re truly committed to caring for them properly. It can be an incredible experience, but you have to put in a bit of effort even if these are great snakes for beginners.