Introducing Yourself to your Corn Snake


Give your Corn Snake time to adjust to you 

Whether it’s a hatchling or captive-bred Corn Snake might show a little aggression, or with a great deal of aggressive behavior, the first thing you should consider is to allow your Corn Snake to adjust to you. Let’s say, for the first week or so, just sit outside its terrarium for about an hour each day and allow it to get used to your smell. Never attempt to touch your Corn Snake during these first few weeks. 

Move items around in its terrarium without touching it 

At the end of this initial week, you can now begin to move things around inside your Corn Snake’s terrarium. However, it is still not allowed to attempt to touch your Corn Snake at this point. Continuously do this for another week so that your Corn Snake can get used to the idea that you have no intention to harm him. Being around it without attempting to touch it will let your Corn Snake know that you are not a danger or threat.

Touch your snake inside its cage 

Once you think that your snake know that you are not a threat, you can start to touch it while inside its cage by placing your hand in its cage and gently start touching it, moving it around inside the cage, and lifting your snake’s tail. Continue doing this manner to your snake for three to four days.

Dealing with your Corn Snake’s Potential Aggression 

Determine why it is aggressive

Unless you’re taming a Corn Snake hatchling or captive-bred Corn Snake, you’ll likely have to deprogram your snake’s aggressive behavior. The first thing to do is to know what type of aggression your Corn Snake is showing. There are two types of aggressive responses you can deprogram your Corn Snake – territorial, or defensive responses, and feeding responses. 

  • Territorial responses are instinctive and not an expression of aggressions. Snakes live most of their lives in fear of being eaten by bigger predators, including humans, so this kind of response is more of a defense mechanism which can be tamed with gentle and consistent care.
  • Feeding responses, on the other hand, are also natural, instinctive response. Generally, snakes are taught to bite whatever comes into their terrarium. Since they assume that anything that comes to their cage is food, you might get bitten if you put your hand inside without first deprogramming this aggressive response.

“Hook Train” aggressive Corn Snakes

Some species of Corn Snakes are more aggressive than others and might be requiring more training. If you’re dealing with a particularly aggressive type of Corn Snake, you might consider to “hook train” it. You can do this by gently rubbing its body or pushing down on its head with a hook, or a similar inanimate object, every time you go to get it out of its cage. By doing this, your Corn Snake will be able to know it is not yet feeding time so there is no need to bite whatever enters its terrarium.

  • If your Corn Snake appears to be scared whenever you open its terrarium, spend a little more time rubbing its body with the hook until it will calm down. For example, if your snake coils into a ball, flattens out its body, or pose a striking position, spend some time rubbing its body until it will come to a point that it will relax a bit.
  • Start rubbing your Corn Snake’s body down from its tail end and up to its head. It could seem threatening if you start it with its head especially if your snake is already scared.

Hold your snake more often than you feed it

The very most common reason why people get bitten by their pet snake is because their snake is reacting to its feeding response every time something enters its terrarium. To handle this kind of response, stop feeding your Corn Snake every week. Instead, feed it only once every three weeks, but be sure to handle your snake every day. This will deprogram your Corn Snake from thinking that everything that enters its terrarium is food. 

  • It can also be useful to feed your snake in a separate tub. This will also help it from thinking that everything that comes to its terrarium is food. But don’t feed it only in the tub because this will just transfer its response from the terrarium to the tub.
  • It is safe to only feed your Corn Snake once every three weeks since Corn Snakes can go weeks without eating, with any harm done.