Corn Snakes: Are they Poisonous Or Dangerous?

As much as we might hate the sight of a snake slithering around on our property, it is important to know that not all snakes are dangerous…Many of them are very important because they help reduce the populations of rodents and other animals in the wild.

corn snake
corn snake

How about the corn snake for instance? Is the corn snake venomous, and is it dangerous to people?

No, the corn snake is not venomous, and poses no danger to people.

However, corn snakes will eat chicken and duck eggs, and may pick off chicks. This means that they might have to be controlled around your farm or homestead if you have either.

Corn snakes are one of the most commonly encountered in the Deep South, and a regular sighting on and around farms.

This is because corn snakes typically patrol areas where rodents are attracted to, and rodents are known for hanging out around farms too.

This can make corn snakes a great benefit, and furthermore, these snakes are also legendary for their easy-going nature.

There’s a lot to learn, and like, about corn snakes and I will tell you all about them below.

What Does the Corn Snake Look Like?

Corn snakes are distinguished by their coloration, length, and slender, athletic build. With a uniform body shape from front to back, corn snakes average about 3 feet long (90 cm), but can easily grow longer than 5 feet (1.5 meters), meaning they’re definitely impressive specimens!

The head of the corn snake is somewhat wider than the body and triangular in shape, with distinctive bright, large, round eyes and round pupils.

The other most noticeable trait of the corn snake is their vibrant coloration and patterning.

Corn snakes are typically a brownish-yellow or muted orange color with clusters of red along the entire length of the body that are bordered by a rich brown or dark black.

The ventral side of the snake is always a pale, counter-contrasting color with a similarly distinctive checkered pattern. They are truly striking snakes, visually, to say the least!

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Where are Corn Snakes Found?

Corn snakes widely inhabit the American Deep South, and can be found anywhere from Florida, Alabama, and Georgia as far north as New Jersey and Kentucky – though populations are much more sparse at the northern fringes of their range.

Corn snakes derive their name from their tendency to lurk around corn storage silos and other granary sites since they’re preferred prey, rodents, are invariably found around these areas.

However, corn snakes can also be found in fields, at the edges of forests, and anywhere else that rodents also inhabit.

Since rodents are attracted to areas of human settlement and activity, corn snakes likewise follow their typical prey to these places, and that makes them among the most common snakes around human habitation.

But corn snakes don’t just stick to the ground. They’re surprisingly good climbers, and readily climb trees to search for undefended bird nests when they aren’t hunting rodents and other small mammals.

And, unlike some other snakes, corn snakes are highly active in the daytime, which is another reason why you are disproportionately likely to encounter them.

If you’re looking for corn snakes at night, you can find them in their burrows or other nooks, crannies, and crevices such as under decks, beneath rocks or logs, and in out of the way places around buildings.

Are Corn Snakes Venomous?

No. Corn snakes are non-venomous, and are absolutely no danger to people. Corn snakes are, though, frequently confused with copperheads which may have similar colors and patterns.

This has led to many corn snakes being summarily killed out of hand due to mistaken identity.

Can the Corn Snake Kill Pets or Livestock?

As a rule of thumb, the corn snake is no threat whatsoever to larger livestock species: larger dogs and cats, and most other animals.

However, they can definitely be a threat to ducklings or chicks, and they are known and irrepressible eaters of all bird eggs.

This can present something of a conundrum for farmers and homesteaders because, on the one hand, you want corn snakes cruising around eating rats and mice.

On the other hand, they can put your eggs and your chicks at risk, and you cannot discount that the sudden appearance of a sizable snake might startle larger livestock into an accident.

But, discounting the risk to chicks and ducklings, eggs, and the spooking of larger animals, corn snakes are completely harmless otherwise.

Will Corn Snakes Attack Humans?

No, unless they have no other choice. Corn snakes are not aggressive, and will attempt to escape or get out of the way of an approaching threat at all costs.

In fact, corn snakes are famous for their lack of aggression and overall good nature, a fact that has made them an incredibly popular pet snake.

That being said, you should not take chances with any wild animal, including a corn snake. If they feel cornered, trapped or if you handle them it is likely that they will bite.

Will a Corn Snake Bite Hurt You?

Yes. Corn snakes are not venomous, as has been mentioned several times, and they don’t have huge, hooked fangs that will puncture you.

But what they do have are multiple rows of razor-sharp teeth that they use to hang on to prey before constricting them, and then eating them.

These sharp teeth, particularly in the case of larger snakes, can definitely cut you open, and corn snakes are known to lash out and bite when they are grabbed or pinched.

The bite itself is rarely medically significant, but snake bites are highly likely to become infected thanks to the preponderance of bacteria in the snake’s mouth.

A corn snake probably won’t bite you, assuming you aren’t messing with it, but if they do, it’s definitely going to hurt, and will require a trip to the doctor for disinfection and perhaps a stitch or two.

Is it Best to Kill Corn Snakes When You Can?

No, or at least you should try not to… Though it is true that corn snakes might prey on your chicks and your bird’s eggs, this is usually better solved by catching and relocating the snake.

Having a few corn snakes around your property can actually be a really good thing, especially if you’re struggling with mice and rats.

Corn snakes are constant and highly successful predators of rodents, and it won’t take too much time or too many snakes to eradicate or displace the rodents that plague you and your other animals.

If you aren’t up to the task of identifying, catching, and relocating the snake yourself, try calling a reptile refuge or rescue service, or the biology department at a nearby university. Many will come and get the snakes free of charge.

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