Corn Snakes

Family: Colubridae Picture of Corn SnakesElaphe guttataPhoto Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
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Hi, I REALLY want a corn snake, but I can't seem to get over a tiny fear. I am afraid that it will bite me... would it? I mean, my brother has one, and it... (more)  Aubrey

   Some of the most beautiful snakes are Corn Snakes!

   An excellent pet for the advanced beginner, the colorful Corn Snake will tame down in a short time. They become very docile, even tempered, and tolerant of frequent handling. Corn Snakes are very hardy and easy to maintain.

For more Information on keeping Snakes see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Herptile

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Genus: Elaphe
  • Species: guttata

Distribution:    Corn Snakes are found in North America. Specifically they are found in the southern and southeastern parts of the United States.

Description:   The Corn Snake will grow to a good size, between three and five feet. They can reach up six feet in the wild. They are a heavier bodied snake than the garter snake or the kingsnake, though their length is about the same. Their natural color is dark red blotches outlined in black on a deep orange background, with a black and white checkerboard pattern on the belly. Their scales are lightly keeled.

Feeding:   They are a constrictor and their diet consists of mice and other rodents, chicks, and lizards. Feed once or twice a week, depending on the size of the food and the size of the snake. As you get to know your snake, you'll learn what its feeding needs are. Fresh water in a shallow dish should always be available.

Environment:    They do not eat other snakes, and so they can be housed alone or in groups with other snakes of similar size and habits.
   You can set up their terrarium as either a woodland type, a desert type, or a combination of the two and you provide moderate humidity. See the terrarium types described under Basic Reptile and Amphibian Care for more information.
   This snake needs a hiding place and a small water dish. It also likes to climb, so a vertical or semi-vertical tree limb with some plant vining is great.

Temperature and Lighting requirements:    They do well at 75° to 85° F in the daytime, and 65° to 72° F at night. Full spectrum lighting is important for your snakes well being and its long-term maintenance. You can use a substrate heating device for basic heating. For additional heat, you can add a full spectrum incandescent daytime bulb and a blacklight bulb or red incandescent bulb for nighttime heating. Be sure you use a thermometer so you don't let the terrarium become overheated!
   For more detailed information see the Basic Reptile and Amphibian Care: Housing.

   These snakes, if not babies, need to be probe sexed for positive sex identification, and they are egg layers. They breed readily in captivity and are reproduced in many color variations.

Availability:   The naturally colored Corn Snake as well at the many colored varieties of corn snake are generally available as pets due successful captive breeding.

Author: Clarice Brough, CRS
Lastest Animal Stories on Corn Snake

Aubrey - 2010-07-01
Hi, I REALLY want a corn snake, but I can't seem to get over a tiny fear. I am afraid that it will bite me... would it? I mean, my brother has one, and it seems so nice. But I'm afraid that if I get one, it will be mean and bite me. Has anyone ever had this fear? Will a corn snake bite me, and if it does, will it hurt?

  • Anonymous - 2010-12-17
    Corn snakes are considered to be one of the most docile snakes you can own, it all depends on how you raise them though. I have owned 2 for 3 years and never been bitten. A key thing to remember though is to feed them in a different tank that what you normally keep them in, this is so they don't associate their tank with food.
  • JC - 2011-02-08
    No reason to be scared. I've only been bitten three times and that wuz when it was a hatchling and I wuz actually the one who provoked it....
  • cress - 2013-09-08
    24 yrs of cornsnake care under my belt. Never have they eaten each other. always had multiples in the same cage. even sometimes had a very small one with a large one! I very often feed them in the cage they are in unless housed with another, then i will take one out. you do not have to do anything special for them to mate. if there is a male and a female in the same cage, when they are old enough you will get eggs! ( just incubated and hatched 12 very healthy baby corns) T
  • Niki - 2013-10-21
    I have an adult that I got when he was 3 years old. Never bit me. I just got a baby born this July who hasn't yet but his sister bit me. Seriously that small didn't feel even as bad as a mosquito bite. No one likes to get bit by anything but really not that bad and cornsnakes tame very easy. That's why they are the perfect beginner snake :)
  • AnaLilia - 2019-05-28
    Well when corn snakes are scared they might snap at you. But if you are getting a baby corn snake and if he or she bite you it would not hurt. I have a corn snake and she is a baby. I would get a baby corn snake because you could treat it nicely and they wont bite you when they grow older. But they might bite you because it could be because they are hungry.
Tony Osty Wilds - 2013-06-04
hi ive just got a corn snake snow from my son for my birthday I fed it on sunday when can I handle it cos I tried today Tuesday is that too soon as she keeps trying to bite me (not that it would hurt me ) but would like to handle it any advice

  • Clarice Brough - 2013-06-05
    NIce picture:) Well, the rule of thumb is to not handle them for 48 to 72 hours after feeding, depending on the size of the prey. Basically if you can still see a lump, then wait longer. Biting is from one of two things, either there is food around or the snake is feeling threatened. I would guess the second one. It's in a brand new environment, is young (babies tend to bite more than adults), and doesn't really know you yet. So be patient and gentle and you should be fine.
  • Clarice Brough - 2013-06-06
    These are even better pictures to see your beautiful snow corn snake. And yeah, it sounds like he's still a bit nervous. But they adapt pretty quickly, as you are finding out:)
  • Tony Osty Wilds - 2013-06-06
    Thanxs for that I got to handle it last night it tryed to bite me but I waited until she tunred around . Once in my hand it was ok , it was squeezing my fingers quit hard is this normal or was it it felt threatened
  • Callum Ryan - 2014-08-19
    The squeezing is normal they are just trying to hold on. Think about it like you're a tree for them and that your fingers and other body parts and like branches so they just want to feel safe. :)
  • Shane allen - 2015-05-29
    My corn snake must be super friendly he doesn't try any aggressive things
  • Anonymous - 2018-06-13
    How long ago did you get the snake?
Anonymous - 2015-05-19
i really want a corn snake but my parents don't seem into it. what can i do to get them agree?

  • Rosie - 2016-11-15
    Corn snakes never bite rarley shed and are very gentle tell them that
carly :D - 2010-06-08
Hi all! Me and my boyfriend have not long getting our corn snake he has grew a lot since we got him we've named him Timmy! But the problem is (me) I just can't get over my fear that he is going to bite me I try to get him out every day but if he looks at me the wrong way I put him straight back in his tank or just leave him in his tank if I have'nt already got a hold of him. Is there any advice you can give me to help my fear? I want him to be a great family pet for us and I just want him to be happy as well!

  • deon - 2014-08-09
    Just take n little clouth and put it over him when u pick him up ones in your hand it will be calm remove clouth when you got it in your hand that was workink for me and never be bitten yet lol try it strongs and enjoy