Are Corn Snakes Poisonous or Dangerous?

Written by Taiwo Victor
Updated: March 15, 2023
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Although often mistaken as the venomous copperhead snake because of their slightly similar patterns, corn snakes do not possess any venom that harms humans or other animals. They are neither poisonous nor dangerous. Apart from their completely harmless nature, corn snakes are, in fact, beneficial to the environment. Since the main prey for corn snakes are rodents that are often considered wild pests in crops and plantations, many farmers thank corn snakes for rodent population control.

The corn snake is a rat snake species hailing from North America. It has no venom, is not equipped with sharp fangs, and is not big enough to constrict large animals or humans. Corn snakes are docile and are usually reluctant to bite humans, making them harmless. These serpents are also often kept as pets because of their timid behavior. Plus, they are easy to take care of, given that most of their nutrition only comes from rodents!

Do Corn Snakes Bite?

close up of a corn snake

Corn snakes bite, but they are usually docile.

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Corn snakes bite, but it is nothing to be afraid of. They are usually docile and will only bite if threatened. Corn snake bites are relatively harmless, and because they do not possess any venom, their bites will leave you with no more than shallow bite marks. If a corn snake bites you, it might cause mild pain, but nothing intolerable. Corn snake bites usually feel like a pinch and will draw little to no blood.

Corn snake bites are not harmful and will do nothing more than a bit of discomfort. Getting bitten by a dog would even be more painful than getting bitten by a corn snake. Corn snakes are the best pets for beginners and advanced snake owners because of their shy and friendly nature. You wouldn’t have to worry about your pet corn snake biting you. If it does, it must have been an infrequent and extreme circumstance, and the corn snake might have seen you as a threat. 

Corn snakes have teeth, but they do not have fangs. Since they do not need to inject venom through their fangs, their teeth are used primarily in grabbing on their prey before swallowing them whole. Even though corn snakes have teeth, their bites should not be worried about. People often mistake corn snakes with venomous copperheads, so most think that corn snake bites are dangerous. On the contrary, corn snakes do not have fangs and won’t cause any symptoms. Corn snakes are beneficial for the environment and to farmers. Since they primarily feed on rodents, they help in pest control.

Are Corn Snakes Dangerous to Humans?

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Since corn snakes are one of the least harmful snake species in the world, they are not dangerous to humans.

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Corn snakes are one of the least harmful snake species on the planet. They are docile and are not dangerous to humans. They help humans, especially farmers, control pests like rodents in farms, crops, and plantations. Although they can bite, their bites are close to painless and will not cause any symptoms. Captive corn snakes are even more docile and safe to handle. Corn snakes may sometimes carry bacteria in their mouth that might give your wound infection, so it is best to disinfect after a corn snake bite.

Since corn snakes are non-venomous, they use their bodies to coil around and constrict small prey. Corn snakes can grow as long as 6 feet, but they are not strong or aggressive enough to constrict humans. When threatened by predators in the wild, corn snakes can bite as a last resort but would instead slither away and hide. If a corn snake has bitten you on a rare occasion, it must have seen you as a threat. 

Corn snakes can latch on your skin when they bite you because that is the natural way they bite their prey. Do not yank the snake off if that happens, as the corn snake’s teeth structure will hurt you worse and deepen the corn snake’s wound. The corn snake’s teeth are angled inward, preventing their victim from escaping. If you pull the snake off your skin, it will leave more damage than good. The best thing to do is relax and wait for the corn snake to detach.

Are Corn Snakes Poisonous?

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Corn snakes are neither poisonous nor dangerous.

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While you may ask whether a snake is poisonous, it’s more accurate to ask if it’s venomous. That’s because venom has to be injected (like a pit viper bite), and poison has to either be eaten or otherwise absorbed.

Corn snakes are not poisonous, nor are they venomous. In other words, corn snakes cannot do you any harm, and even though they are constrictors, they wouldn’t coil themselves around humans because they do not see us as a natural part of their diet. Corn snakes can sometimes carry bacteria in their mouth that can cause mild infection when they bite. But apart from that, corn snakes are generally harmless and are not poisonous. Corn snakes are beneficial to the environment and shouldn’t be killed or disturbed. 

Unlike most venomous snake bites that will cause symptoms upon envenomation, corn snake bites will leave nothing else but mild bite marks. Because they do not have fangs, and since their teeth are so tiny, corn snake bites wouldn’t hurt much and wouldn’t leave two swollen puncture marks. Their bites will also not give you any symptoms. It is like getting bitten by a random domesticated animal! A corn snake’s bite will only feel like a pinch, and often, a little blood will come out. But since they do not have anticoagulant venom either, the bleeding will usually stop after a while. 

How to Avoid Corn Snake Bites

Corn snakes only bite when they see you as a threat. Even then, they would rather hide and coil around. When cornered, they can lash out as a last resort, but it is worth noting that these serpents do not intend to bite you if that happens. They want to warn you to back off. Corn snakes are safe to handle, and as long as you hold them carefully, they won’t bite. If you are bitten by a corn snake, ensure to disinfect the wound to get rid of the bacteria it may have transferred to you. 

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Photohobbiest/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

For six years, I have worked as a professional writer and editor for books, blogs, and websites, with a particular focus on animals, tech, and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with friends.

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