Safe Interactions: Handling Corn Snakes the Right Way


Corn snakes, known for their vibrant colors and docile nature, make popular reptile pets. As responsible owners, it is crucial to understand the proper techniques for handling these snakes to ensure their well-being and minimize risks. This article will provide guidelines and tips on how to handle corn snakes safely and effectively.

Why Handle Corn Snakes?

While snakes do not require social interaction for their mental health, handling them creates opportunities for exercise and helps keep them tame. Regular handling allows owners to monitor their snakes’ overall health, observe any changes in behavior or physical appearance, and build trust with their pets. However, it is important to handle corn snakes with care and respect to avoid causing them stress or harm.

Preparing for Safe Handling:

Before handling your corn snake, it is necessary to follow a few preparation steps:

1. Wash your hands: Always ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before handling your snake. This helps prevent any potential transfer of harmful bacteria or substances that may be on your hands.

2. Create a calm environment: Prepare a quiet and calm space for handling your corn snake. Loud noises, bright lights, and other distractions can cause stress to the snake, making handling sessions less pleasant for both the owner and the pet.

Handling Techniques:

Here are some important tips to follow when handling your corn snake:

1. Approach with confidence: When picking up your corn snake, it is important to approach with confidence but without sudden movements. Corn snakes can sense fear and may become defensive or agitated if they sense hesitation.

2. Use gentle and supportive handling: Pick up your corn snake by placing one hand under its head and the other towards the tail. Avoid grabbing or squeezing the snake tightly as this can cause discomfort and stress. It is important to support the snake’s body and allow it to move freely.

3. Respect the snake’s boundaries: Pay attention to your snake’s body language. If the snake shows signs of stress or discomfort, such as hissing, striking, or coiling tightly, it may be best to avoid handling it at that time. Respecting the snake’s boundaries ensures both your safety and the well-being of the snake.

4. Start with short handling sessions: Begin with short handling sessions of about 5-10 minutes and gradually increase the duration as your snake becomes more comfortable. Be mindful of your snake’s behavior during handling and end the session if you notice signs of distress or agitation.

Safety Measures:

To ensure the safety of both the snake and the handler, here are some additional safety measures to consider:

1. Never handle a snake alone: It is always advisable to have another person present when handling a snake. This person can provide assistance if needed, ensuring a safer handling experience.

2. Handle in a controlled environment: Avoid handling your corn snake in an open, unconfined space where it can easily escape or hide. A secure area, such as a snake-resistant enclosure or a snake-proof room, should be used for handling sessions.

3. Avoid handling during shedding or after feeding: It is best to avoid handling your corn snake during shedding as their skin becomes more sensitive and they may be more defensive. Additionally, avoid handling your snake for at least 48 hours after feeding to prevent regurgitation.

4. Educate yourself about proper handling techniques: Educate yourself about the specific needs, behaviors, and handling requirements of corn snakes. Reading reputable sources, consulting experienced reptile keepers, or even seeking guidance from a reptile specialist can provide valuable insights into best handling practices.


Handling corn snakes can be a rewarding experience for both owners and the snakes themselves. By following proper handling techniques, taking precautionary measures, and respecting the snake’s boundaries and needs, you can create a safe and positive interaction with your corn snake. Remember, treating your snake with care and respect not only promotes their well-being but also strengthens the bond between you and your beloved pet.