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Thread: Aggressive Corn Snake?

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    Question Aggressive Corn Snake?

    Hello all! My roommate got a corn snake just under a year ago. He was friendly and sweet when we first got him, but in the past two months he has gotten really aggressive. He Jerks away when you reach in to get him (he used to crawl up you arm to get out of his tank) and he rattles his tail against the glass when you get near. He also went on a food strike the last three weeks. We finally got him to eat this week, but his attitude is no better.

    He is just over a year old, about 5 feet long, in a 30 gallon tank with plenty of hides and burrowing substrate, an under tank heater, and a lamp. We feed him a mouse once a week and don't handle a day before or after feeding.

    Despite both of our experience with snakes, we have started getting a little afraid of him,and frustrated with this change.

    What is going on? Any idea what to do? Will he grow out of this?

    thanks for the help!
    Crested Geckos -1.0.0 (yet to be named)
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    He may just be going through a grouchy faze. But I'd say the best way to curve this behavior is to handle him everyday for 15 minutes+ as he may of gotten unused to being handled. If your worried about being bitten wear thick gloves. It also may be he is stressed, such as did you change his tank size, decorations, tank location, etc at about the same time he started having issues? Sometimes these things can make them unhappy.

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    My corn snake is fairly aggressive as well and she is just a bit over a year old. She does all of the same things that your friends snake does. It's really nothing to worry about, pick him up even if he strikes. You have to show that you aren't afraid of him. Their bites are seriously like papercuts... it doesn't hurt, it just startles you.

    With the whole food strike thing.. it is common for snakes to go off of food during the winter (my Cali King snake went off of food for 2 months last winter) and it can just happen out of no where. As long as he isn't losing too much weight it is absolutely fine. If he does however start to lose a significant amount of weight then a vet trip will be needed.
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    Thanks. Nothing has been changed in his tank since about a week after we got him, and we do hold him daily (he's just not happy about it). Is there any hope of him becoming un-aggressive, or will we just have a grumpy snake?
    Crested Geckos -1.0.0 (yet to be named)
    Dogs - 0.1.0 (Brenner)
    Cats - 0.1.0 (Kasha)

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    Does he calm down once he is out of the tank and being held? What are his temps? If the temps are getting too hot in the tank, that can lead to aggressiveness as well. That can sometimes happen even if you've done nothing different to your heat source(s).
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    HE still acts angry when you hold him, and the temps are between 80-85 during the day and around 75 at night
    Crested Geckos -1.0.0 (yet to be named)
    Dogs - 0.1.0 (Brenner)
    Cats - 0.1.0 (Kasha)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charis View Post
    Does he calm down once he is out of the tank and being held? What are his temps? If the temps are getting too hot in the tank, that can lead to aggressiveness as well. That can sometimes happen even if you've done nothing different to your heat source(s).
    These questions will help majorly once answered.

    In the mean time, I am going to have to be the minority and say that immediately increasing your handling is not a good idea. Snakes do not take well to sudden changes and you suddenly handling him everyday may do more harm than good. With animals, it's very important to take it slow and gradual. Let him take down a second meal before you begin. A day after that, just pull him out for maybe 5 minutes, twice a week for a good 2 weeks. Next, increase the time to 10 minutes and 3 times a week for for 2-3 weeks. Now, you can kick it up to 4 days a week for about 15-20 minutes so long as he is comfortable.

    Keep in mind also that this aggression may be due to him simply being a male and spring time coming up in the next few months; however, this is primarily seen before the breeding season rather than after. I am also going to point to the elephant in the room and say that some snakes just do not care for human interaction, I have one of such snakes and that's not a problem, working with animals is about respect and respect means understanding another individual's preferences. There is no reason to fear or belittle such animals. My neighbor is always home by herself and only goes out for work or to walk her dog, do I fear/belittle her? Of course not, mainly because I personally think she's really hot , but also because I respect her space. It is the same principle. Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to go cook some organic muffins and work out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Viridis85 View Post
    These questions will help majorly once answered.

    In the mean time, I am going to have to be the minority and say that immediately increasing your handling is not a good idea. Snakes do not take well to sudden changes and you suddenly handling him everyday may do more harm than good. With animals, it's very important to take it slow and gradual. Let him take down a second meal before you begin. A day after that, just pull him out for maybe 5 minutes, twice a week for a good 2 weeks. Next, increase the time to 10 minutes and 3 times a week for for 2-3 weeks. Now, you can kick it up to 4 days a week for about 15-20 minutes so long as he is comfortable.

    Keep in mind also that this aggression may be due to him simply being a male and spring time coming up in the next few months; however, this is primarily seen before the breeding season rather than after. I am also going to point to the elephant in the room and say that some snakes just do not care for human interaction, I have one of such snakes and that's not a problem, working with animals is about respect and respect means understanding another individual's preferences. There is no reason to fear or belittle such animals. My neighbor is always home by herself and only goes out for work or to walk her dog, do I fear/belittle her? Of course not, mainly because I personally think she's really hot , but also because I respect her space. It is the same principle. Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to go cook some organic muffins and work out.

    Agree 100% with this post. I have a hognose that turned aggressive about at about 18 months old, and I chalked it up to him reaching sexual maturity and left him alone. About 6 months later (well after breeding season, in the fall I think) I started handling him again and he is puppy-dog tame again. Granted a hognose is not a corn snake, but thought I'd share the experience anyway. I would leave him alone for a few months unless feeding or cage maintenence, and then start handling again in the late summer. Sometimes snakes go through a grouchy "teenager" phase just like people and they don't want their parents bothering them!

    Of course, check his temps etc as well. If he doesn't calm down after 6-12 months he may just be a look but don't touch kind of snake.
    May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.

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    Like it's been said, some of them just don't like handling. But is he striking at you? Attempting or actually biting? And if so, are you flinching from him? Because it is also possible to teach a snake to bite or strike at you, depending a bit on the individual snake. I'm terrible at this, especially with my coxi and the female Mandarin went through a phase too. I'm calm when getting bit the first time, after it's been awhile, but have a really hard time not flinching after getting bit, the next time a snake looks like it might. Got the female Mandarin out several months ago and she was in a bad mood and struck at me, she is usually pretty calm. But I made the mistake of flinching back from her and could actually see her working that out, luckily I knew what was coming. So for the next 20 or so times I got her out, I wore gloves, so I wouldn't flinch again, and sure enough, she kept trying to get me to react again by lounging and striking but I did not pull back or stop handling her and eventually she stopped trying and has gone back to being calm.
    Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, that you might try getting a snake hook to use to remove him from the tank and wearing gloves the next bunch of times you handle him and try to be as calm as you can. It's possible that if you don't react, he will stop trying to bully you.

    That only partly works with the female coxi, who do hate to be handled but they are less spastic and bitey when I do all of that. They also only get handled as needed.
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    I wouldn't pull out the snake hook and gloves just yet, in over 10 years of experience I have taken what some would refer to as "nasty" bites. My own boa constrictor who is touching 9ft and one of my adult amethystine pythons (the python species recognized as having the largest teeth and second only to Corralus caninus ) have all gotten me a fair number of times over the years. Even those are damn near painless and the most I have lost are a few ounces of blood...still have about a 12in scar where i made the mistake of pulling back, you should always take a bite head on. My hook is used only for signaling to my retics the difference between dinner time and play time, after that, it's all hands. .

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