Do Corn Snakes Bite?

By Snaketracks / April 8, 2020
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Corn Snakes And Biting

Being bitten by a snake can be a scary experience, but there is nothing to worry about when it comes to Corn Snakes! 

Whether you are thinking of a Corn Snake as a pet, you are a Corn Snake new owner or you are a concerned relative, friend or neighbor of someone owing a Corn Snake, relax: Corn Snakes are currently very docile and friendly and even if frightened or stressed they rarely bite!!!  

  • Corn snakes  are  non-venomous: they have no fangs (so they can’t inject venom)
  • Corn snakes are small and therefore, have small mouths. So small that they wouldn’t even be able to fit someone´s hand in their mouth;
  • Their teeth are very small, even if sharp and angled. There is a reason why: Corn Snakes don´t really chew, their teeth work like little grips that help them to hold on to their prey while they constrict it and later on, help them swallow it whole and pull the prey into their stomach. 
  • They have about 20-30 teeth (twice as many teeth on the roof of their mouth as opposed to the bottom part of their jaw) as this disposition of their teeth favors gripping and swallowing.

Quick Reference Section

How Painful Can A Corn Snake Bite Be?

If a corn snake ever bites, the bite is no more painful than a minor scratch. A bite from an adult may perhaps be enough to draw a little blood, but the bite from a hatchling usually causes no pain and may not even be noticed due to the small size of the teeth.

Is A Corn Snake Bite Dangerous?

No, because Corn Snake bites aren’t venomous, so they’re not harmful in that regard.

A Corn Snake bite won`t need stitches or surgery or anything, as their bites don´t go any deeper than a cat or  dog scratch would.

One thing to keep in mind is that the mouth of a corn snake does harbor germs and bacteria, so there is a possibility bite wound may get infected.

If you get bitten, just wash your hands with soap and water, and you should be fine. You can also add antibacterial ointment if you think it needs it.

If the wound gets infected, you should seek medical treatment.

But basically, just don´t freak out!

What Should I Do If A Corn Snake Bites Me?

First of all, don´t panic!!!  Remember: Corn snakes are not venomous at all, so when bitten, you don’t have to worry about them being poisonous.

If a corn snake bites you, quickly clean the area with soap and water. The area of damaged skin will soon heal and the experience will be forgotten.

2 Tips:

  • Corn Snakes are constrictors, so there is a chance the snake might try to latch on to your skin.  In that case, don’t try to pull your Corn Snake away!. Its tiny teeth are angled backward, so pulling the snake away will only cause its teeth to tear your skin down further, causing you additional pain. Eventually, you might also hurt the snake.
  • It will probably not happen, but in case the snake chooses to latch on you, try to remain calm to avoid stressing your Corn Snake further and at the same time, intend dripping freezing cold water over the latched area.  This method will probably make the snake remove its gasp from you.  

Why Did My Corn Snake Bite Me?

Corn Snakes rarely bite their owners; as said before, they are usually very docile and gentle.

However, under certain conditions, bites can occur, especially if they feel hungry (i.e. the owner has his/her hands inside the tank after having handled food and hands smell like prey) or scared (the snake is feeling stressed after extensive handling).

  • Snakes get stressed during shedding: leave your Corn Snake alone before and during shedding;
  • Do not overhandle your snake: let your Corn Snake decide if it has had enough handling and put it down if it has;
  • Be especially careful when you handle food: your hands might end smelling like its prey! If using pinky’s use tongs to pick it up. Remember, snakes use their sense of smell more than their vision!

How Can I Avoid My Corn Snake To Bite Me?

  • Even if its sight is not as good as its sense of smell, always approach your Corn Snake from its line of sight, and not from above.
  • Do not attempt to pick up your new Corn Snake before it feels comfortable in your presence. It’ll likely be scared of you due to your size and unfamiliarity, and may see you as a predator. 
  • Be aware of your Corn Snake’s hunger level before you place your hand into its tank and do always check on your hand odor.

Conclusion

Corn Snakes are ideal beginner snakes cause -even under stress- they rarely bite and if they do, they are harmless. Of course, each snake will have a different personality based on its genetic makeup and how it’s been treated in the past!

Eventually, a bite might come from stress or hunger:

  • Overhandling is a common cause of stress-related biting. Although they like being handled, it’s advisable to leave your Corn Snake alone when it shows clear signs of agitation.
  • Another good moment to leave your Corn alone is before and during shedding: they get super stressed.
  • Last but not least, remember Corn Snakes don´t hurt anything except what they are eating: do not approach your hands to your Corn with after handling food as your snake may mistake your finger for a pinkie! Snakes do not have a good vision but enjoy an acute sense of smell…

Corn Snakes have no harmful qualities, they contain no venom. So if you happen to be bitten by one, do not panic! Just calm down your snake and wash up your wound with soap and water!

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