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Corn Snake Handling


New member
Hi there, I recently got my first ever corn snake a little over a week ago, it is a juvenile (about 3 months), it burrows almost all day and is very skittish even in the tank. I tried handling it for the first time today in the morning, and it bit me 3 times, just trying to get it out of its tank. I did not try to grab it from above, I tried to calmly put my hand under it and lift it up, but it still struck. I tried later in the evening and it just stayed burrowed in the bedding, the moment I tried to get near it, it quickly slithered away to another part of the tank. I've had a ball python before and I've never had trouble handling it. I know they are different snakes that act differently, but I was just wondering what can I do to help this one calm down and not be so scared the next time I attempt to pick it up?
Oh yeah, a baby ball python and baby corn snake will be VERY different to handle! It sounds like totally normal baby behavior that he will likely grow out of with time and consistent handling. First of all, before you start working on handling, has the baby already had his first meal with you? If he's eaten without issue and finished digesting (usually about two days after being fed), then you can go ahead and start working with him.

A couple of things to help you: handle during the day when the snake would normally be sleeping. It's much easier to simply lift a hide and scoop the baby up before he even knows what's happening. Try to go in quickly and confidently. If you act hesitant, 'poke' at him and then retreat your hand, and/or chase him around the tank, it will be super stressful for him and make it much harder for you. Nearly all corn snakes, especially as babies, will resist being taken out of the tank, but generally calm down once they realize they can't escape you and you're not going to eat them. Try to handle him at least a few times a week (just not the two days after feeding), for 10 or 15 minutes. Try not to flinch or pull away if he strikes. I know it's a super hard instinct to resist, even though you know it doesn't really hurt! If it will help you feel more confident, you can wear a thin glove until you both are more comfortable. Try not to restrain his movement while holding him (unless he's literally about to fall), but instead keep your hands moving so he always has somewhere to go. If he's super flighty while being held, sit on the floor or a bed so he won't have far to fall if he flies out of your hands.

Good luck!