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Do Corn Snakes Bite?

Corn Snakes are generally very friendly and docile in nature. That’s why they are a popular pet snake. Wild corn snakes may be more inclined to bite because they’re not used to humans.

do corn snakes bite

However, like all snakes, corn snakes will bite, but only when they feel frustrated or scared, or threatened. Their bites don’t hurt much as they don’t have big fangs, hence why they are one of the most popular pet snakes.

Nevertheless, it’s important to seek professional help if you’ve been bitten, because there may be complications from a bite such as infection. If you’ve been bitten, seek help immediately. Do not approach a corn snake without professionals present.

Can Corn Snakes Bite?

Corn snakes can bite but their bites don’t hurt much and shouldn’t lead to long-term complications. They will usually only bite out of fear and self-defence.

They’re not venomous and their teeth aren’t particularly big. The bite will cause a shock but shouldn’t be overly harmful. The biggest shock will be from the panic of getting bitten rather than the bite itself.

Moreover, corn snakes don’t lash out until they feel uncomfortable. This can possibly be when they’re in a stressful environment, are being handled by a new person, are hungry, have been moved to a new cage, are cornered, or are feeling unsafe.

Are Corn Snakes Venomous?

Corn snakes don’t have any venom in their fangs. Rather, they use constriction to subdue their prey[1].

The snake will pounce on a rodent such as a mouse or rat and wrap its body around the animal. Once they have a desired grip on the prey, corn snakes take their prey into a tight coil and hold them until the animal is dead. They will then consume the animal.

Do Corn Snakes Have Fangs or Teeth?

Technically, corn snakes have teeth not fangs[2]. Fangs deliver venom while teeth do not.

Fangs in technical terms are used to inject the prey with venom and maintain a tight grip on them. Corn snakes on the other hand have teeth, which are generally used for digesting and holding food.

Corn snakes have relatively small teeth that are angled backward. The angle of their teeth allows them to have a better grasp on their prey, helping their survival in the wild.

Another use of corn snakes’ back-angled teeth is that it also helps them digest the food once their prey is dead from the strong coiled grip around them.

Moreover, corn snakes use their entire body to get their food down, using their teeth to help move the prey or food further along their gullet.

Corn snakes have approximately 20-30 teeth (similar to other non-poisonous snakes)[3]. They have teeth aligned in 4 rows on the top section of their jaw and just 2 rows on the bottom section.

This results in them having half as many teeth on the lower side of the jaw in comparison to the upper jaw.

Their teeth are small and sharp, much like a needle. The shape of their teeth assists them with getting a tight grip, along with helping them in the digestive process.

Regardless of the needle-like structure of their teeth, corn snake bites will not deliver venom, so generally shouldn’t be lethal.

How To Handle a Corn Snake Latch

This is general information for educational purposes only – do not handle or approach a wild corn snake. Only handle pet corn snakes with professional present and guiding you. If a corn snake has latched onto you, speak with the professional who will walk you through the situation.

Corn snakes very rarely attack. However, with their nature as constricting predators, Corn snakes may latch on with a tight grip[4].

If a corn snake does latch onto a handler, the key is to not panic and handle the situation with calm. It’s also extremely important to resist your urge to yank the snake off.

Generally, it’s better to let them hold on as long as they want until they let go voluntarily, unless there is an urgent reason otherwise.

Pulling the snake off can cause unnecessary hurt, especially with their teeth angled backward, they can act like tiny little barbs in the skin. If gone wrong, yanking the corn snake off can result in ripping the skin off, which can be quite painful.

That’s why it’s very important to stay calm and let the corn snake detach itself.

How To Treat a Corn Snake Bite

A corn snake bite is easily treatable but needs to be attended to by a professional. There is a risk of infection, and if you’re not entirely sure of the species, you may have been bitten by a more venomous snake.

If you’ve been bitten by a corn snake, seek professional advice immediately. Wild animals, in particular, carry diseases, so it needs to be checked out.

The first thing a nurse or doctor would do is to disinfect the area by pouring a highly concentrated alcohol disinfectant on the latched area to minimize chances of infection. They may also place the area where the corn snake latched on into an ice-cold bath.

You may also need to re-wrap the wound on a regular basis, depending on the advice of the medical professional.

Related: What do Corn Snakes Eat?

Conclusion

Corn snakes are quite friendly and docile in nature. Thus their chances of actually attacking their owner, or anyone for that matter, is very slim.

However, like most other snake species, corn snakes are born with defence mechanisms and means of survival. Thus, if felt threatened or uncomfortable, corn snakes can latch on and end up biting you.

While they are not venomous, corn snakes have a tight latch and have to be handled with calm and patience.

Generally, a corn snake’s bite itself is non-venomous and would not be lethal in that sense. Panic over the snake bite often causes more pain than the actual bite. It’s crucial to keep calm even if the corn snake does attack you.

However, it’s also worth remembering that potential for infection means the wound should be professionally treated immediately.