Are Corn Snakes Poisonous?

Corn snakes are widely distributed across much of North America, most commonly seen in more rural areas.

Indeed, it is believed the name “corn snake” comes from the fact that historically they are most commonly found around agricultural fields and barns piled high with winter livestock fodder.

As a result, it’s not uncommon to come across a wild corn snake in the USA – leading to the common question: “are corn snakes poisonous?”

Corn snakes are not poisonous. They are “constrictors” which kill their prey by tightly wrapping their body around the unfortunate animal until they suffocate. The prey item – most commonly a rodent – is then swallowed whole. 

The result of this lifestyle is that corn snakes represent little or no danger to people. 

Are corn snakes poisonous?

Poisonous Snakes Vs Venomous Snakes

As a point of interest, the two words “poisonous” and “venomous” are often used interchangeably in everyday conversation. In fact, they have quite different meanings. 

Something that is “poisonous” contains chemicals that are harmful if consumed. Many mushrooms, for example, are considered “poisonous” as eating them can lead to stomach upsets, or even death in some cases. As a result, snakes are not “poisonous”.

Venomous creatures are rather different. Venom can have similarly harmful effects but it is normally introduced to the body via a puncture wound – such as a bite. In effect, some snakes are venomous, but they’re unlikely to be poisonous. 

Are Corn Snakes Venomous?

Corn snakes are not venomous. They lack the pits in the jaw possessed by many venomous snakes, and their teeth are entirely different to venomous species like rattlesnakes. 

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While corn snakes are capable of biting if they feel threatened, they do not inject any venom, so most bites are easily resolved with basic first aid techniques. 

Are Corn Snakes Dangerous?

Corn snakes possess no toxins, so are not venomous. While they are capable of biting if they feel threatened, any damage is generally modest and temporary.

The lack of venom, combined with the small size of even adult corn snakes, means that they generally represent no danger to people. 

Indeed, like most snakes, corn snakes are generally fearful of people, and would rather be left alone.

Corn snakes are not aggressive and won’t “chase” after you, nor are unlikely to try and strike unless they feel threatened.

Simply giving a wild corn a wide berth is enough to keep you from any potential danger. 

Do Corn Snakes Bite?

Corn snakes are capable of biting, if they either feel threatened, or mis-identify you as a food source. However corn snakes are not aggressive and are unlikely to bite without cause. 

If you are concerned about corn snakes then simply maintaining a reasonable distance is more than enough to avoid the risk of a bite. 

Corn snakes dislike people, and will typically slither away to safety when they detect a person, either visually or through the vibrations of you moving around. 

What Do Corn Snakes Eat?

Corn snakes are most commonly encountered around farmland because they most commonly eat suitably-sized rodents. These rodents are attracted to the glut of grain to be found on many farms, together with the opportunities to hide away from sight in fields. 

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This diet is typically replicated in captivity, with pet corn snakes being fed on suitably-sized rodents that have been bought from reptile stores. These are most commonly bought frozen, then thawed out at home and fed to the snake. 

Corn snakes are generally capable of swallowing a rodent with a circumference equal to the widest part of the snake. This means a large mouse for a fully-grown corn snake

Richard Adams

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