8 Snakes That Don’t Bite, Usually

Written by Kristen Holder
Updated: May 17, 2023
© Bryn Thomas/Shutterstock.com
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Some snakes don’t bite people…usually. It’s important to snake breeders that the snakes they propagate have easy-going temperaments. The most docile snakes are usually bred for those characteristics, just like they are for patterns and morphs.

The problem with declaring any snake a bite-free animal is that errant situations can occur. It’s a false sense of security to decree that any snake can’t or won’t bite. Biting is a matter of instinct, and you can’t breed that away. Any snake will lash out for reasons that are common amongst serpents. These reasons are because they’re afraid, hungry, shedding, or agitated. Juveniles tend to nip more than adults.

Whether a snake is defending itself in some other way or is calm enough not to get upset in the first place, there are at least eight snakes that don’t usually bite.

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1. Corn Snakes Stay Calm Instead Of Biting

corn snake in terrarium
Captive-bred corn snakes rarely bite.


These snakes are nonvenomous and are great beginner snakes. They grow to about four feet long, which means they can be kept in a 20-gallon tank. They come in an array of morphs, so there are plenty of colors and patterns.

The snakes in the wild are much more aggressive than snakes in captivity. The snakes you buy from a breeder will be much calmer than wild snakes. If this snake does bite, it usually doesn’t break the skin.

2. Hognose Snakes Usually Play Dead Instead Of Biting

The hognose snake will play dead instead of biting.

©iStock.com/Florian DENIS

The hognose snake is one of the coolest-looking snake breeds on our list because of its upturned snout. Instead of striking as the first line of defense, this snake will roll over and play dead. It even hangs its tongue out. The snake rolls over onto its back and exposes its belly while remaining motionless. When flipped back upright, it’ll roll back over until it’s tired of its act.

Hognose snakes are technically venomous, but the venom doesn’t harm humans. They also hardly ever resort to biting. Even if they did land a bite and their rear fangs happened to pierce your skin, their poisonous saliva would hardly cause irritation let alone a huge problem.

3. Rosy Boas Only Bite When Burrowed

Slowest Animals In North America
The rosy boa usually only bites when burrowed.

©Jason Mintzer/Shutterstock.com

Because this common pet doesn’t feel threatened by people, it does well with handling. It’s also a great choice if you want to keep a small enclosure. This is a small and very slow-moving snake.

These snakes like to burrow into their sandy substrate and then pounce on prey items. Don’t reach into their vivarium if they’re buried. The chances of a rare bite are higher at this time.

4. Rubber Boas Usually Don’t Bite

Snakes in Montana - Northern Rubber Boa
Rubber boas rarely bite.


These snakes aren’t venomous, and they hardly ever use their fangs. They’re curious snakes which makes them great pets. This often gets them killed in the wild, though.

Rubber boas are small and grow to a max of three feet, so they don’t require a large enclosure. They’re relatively easy to care for, and they seem to enjoy being handled.

5. Garter Snakes Are Not Known To Bite

Even if a garter snake decided to bite, it doesn’t have fangs.


Garter snakes are common across the United States, and they tame easily if caught in the wild. They’re also available for purchase from breeders. They’re considered tame and curious if bought from the right breeder.

Their captive diet is worms and small fish. Since they only reach about two feet in length, they can fit in a smaller enclosure. They have small teeth, but they don’t have fangs, and they’re not venomous.

6. Bites From A Ball Python Are Unusual

Ball pythons curl up in a ball instead of biting.


Ball pythons are docile and aren’t very active, which is one of the reasons they’re a popular pet choice. They can be picky eaters, so beginners need to be aware of that. Meals will need to be thawed or dispatched immediately before dinner.

The ball python’s name reveals why it usually doesn’t bite. Instead of biting, it curls into a tight ball when it feels threatened. If you see this happening, back off. Bites hardly ever happen in captivity or in the wild because of this.

Ball pythons come in various morphs, so there are lots of different-looking snakes to choose from.

7. Egg Eating Snakes Can’t Bite Humans

african egg-eating snake
African egg-eating snakes don’t have teeth for biting.

©Joe McDonald/Shutterstock.com

Since these snakes are from an arid region in Africa, they don’t require humidity in their enclosure like other snakes. They also dine solely on bird eggs, like quail, in captivity. If you’re squeamish about feeding mice, this snake gives you a less gruesome alternative.

Egg-eating snakes average about two and a half feet long, so they don’t require a huge vivarium like some snakes. They’re unable to bite humans because they have no teeth, but they may try anyway until they’re used to being handled.

There are technically over 16 egg-eating snakes in Africa, but Dasypeltis scabra is the one you’ll see kept most as a pet.

8. The Children’s Python

Best Pet Snakes
The children’s python is a great beginner reptile.

©My Lit’l Eye/Shutterstock.com

Children’s pythons grow to an average of four feet long and are from Australia. In captivity, they eat mice and rats. They’re easy to care for, and they’re friendly. They live up to 30 years, so they’re a huge commitment.

These snakes are fun to have around because they have an oil-slicked sheen to them when in direct sunlight. This not only makes them easy to own, but they’re also easy to show off. The humidity in their enclosure can vary widely as they’re adapted to living in a bunch of habitats.

They’re easy to feed, and not only are they a good beginner snake to keep, but they’re also a good beginner reptile of any kind. There are a lot of different morphs, which means they come in an array of colors and patterns.

In the wild, the children’s python eats bats. It catches them by hanging from stalactites in the caves that the bats live in and catching them mid-air.

Summary Of 8 Snakes That Don’t Usually Bite

1Corn Snake
2Hognose Snake
3Rosy Boa
4Rubber Boa
5Garter Snake
6Ball Python
7Egg Eating Snake
8Children’s Python
Snakes That Don’t Usually Bite

Other Reptiles That Don’t Bite

Our Top Picks The Best Cages for your Chameleon for 2022 Cover image
Chameleons don’t bite.

©Ganis Primandari/Shutterstock.com

There are many types of reptiles that do not bite. Turtles and tortoises are some of the most well-known examples. These animals have a hard outer shell which helps protect them from predators, meaning they don’t need to resort to biting for defense. Other types of reptiles that don’t bite include iguanas, geckos, skinks, and anoles. All these creatures rely on camouflage or other defensive strategies, such as running away when threatened instead of using their teeth or claws as weapons. Some lizards, like bearded dragons, also rarely bite humans unless they feel particularly threatened or startled – but in general, they tend to be quite gentle creatures that prefer hiding over attacking when faced with danger.

Reptiles That Do Bite

Spectacled caiman
Spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus) definitely bite.


Reptiles are a group of animals that includes snakes, lizards, turtles, and crocodilians. Of these groups, some species may be more likely to bite than others. Snakes such as rattlesnakes and copperheads have venomous bites, which can be very dangerous if not treated quickly. Lizards like Gila monsters and Komodo dragons have strong jaws with sharp teeth that can give painful bites. Turtles such as snapping turtles also have strong jaws and will bite if provoked or threatened. Crocodilians such as alligators and caimans are large predators capable of inflicting serious injuries from their powerful bites. In general, it is best to avoid contact with any reptile in order to prevent the risk of being bitten by one of these creatures!

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Western Hognose snakes have an an upturned scale at the tip of their nose that helps them dig through sand and loose soil.
Western Hognose snakes have an an upturned scale at the tip of their nose that helps them dig through sand and loose soil.
© Bryn Thomas/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I'm a fact-driven creative with a love of history and an eye for detail. I graduated from the University of California, Riverside in 2009 with a BA in Art History after a STEM-focused high school career. Telling a complex story with real information in a manner that's easy to digest is my talent. When I'm not writing for A-Z Animals, I'm doting on my 3 cats while I watch documentaries and listen to music in Romance languages.

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