Are Corn Snakes Diurnal? We asked a vet to explain

Ever wonder if Corn Snakes are diurnal (active during the day) or nocturnal? This blog post will explore whether corn snakes are active during the day or at night. 

Corn snakes are classified as nocturnal animals because they typically live in areas with low levels of light, such as underneath rocks and logs. However, some corn snake populations have been found to be more active during the day, which is known as being diurnal.

These corn snakes may be looking for a food source or trying to avoid predators.

The Nature of The Corn Snake

This snake uses the constriction method to kill mice and other small animals. It is a small North American species of snake that kills small prey. In the constriction method, this snake wraps its body around the prey and kills it by suffocating and breaking its bones. 

The small snake is a favourite pet among snake lovers. The sleep cycle and hunting time of this snake is a bit different than the other species. Corn snakes mostly get active at dawn and in the evening when darkness starts to spread. This is when this small snake doesn’t have to invest much energy to find and hunt its prey for survival. 

In this following guide, you will learn about this corn snake’s hunting behaviour and category, whether it is a nocturnal, diurnal or crepuscular reptile. 

Are Corn Snakes Nocturnal?

We call the animal or a reptile nocturnal when it is active at night and in the daytime keeps hidden or rests in the habitat. The nocturnal snake must stay active most of the night, and when we look at eh behaviour of the corn snake, we find that this snake is primarily active at dawn or in the evening. 

During the daytime, this snake keeps itself hidden in rat barrows or empty buildings. And it doesn’t come out in the light much. Less agility and low movement pattern in the nighttime doesn’t make it a nocturnal reptile because it performs most hunting activities other than night.

Are Corn Snakes Diurnal?

To be classified as diurnal, an animal or a reptile must stay active most of the day. After daybreak, diurnal reptiles come out of the hiding places and start hunting and feeding activities. Most of the mammals are diurnal’s, and they start eating after dawn. 

On the other hand, Corn snake tries to hide in the empty building or empty rat barrows in the daytime. There are seldom chances that you get a glimpse of a corn snake in daylight. The best time of the day for these reptiles is at dawn or when darkness fell starts to fall in the evening.

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Are Corn Snakes Crepuscular?

Crepuscular animals and reptiles are primarily active at dawn and in the evening when there isn’t much light left. This low light situation makes the rats and other smaller animals challenging to see the surroundings. And in this low light, the Corn snake gets the chance to hunt and catch its prey. 

These snakes are dormant at night and try to stay hidden in bright light. Empty buildings, abandoned places and areas with fewer activities are their famous lurking spots. These snakes are not venomous, and their powerful weapon against their prey is to kill it by constriction. 

Corn Snakes Active Hours in Captivity

In their natural habitats, Corn snakes mostly remain active in the evening and early morning. You can imitate this environment by keeping the lights dim and low at these times. When you dim the light in the evening and at dawn, you encourage this reptile’s natural behaviour. 

When a corn snake becomes comfortable with the handler and accustomed to the environment, it will come out of the hiding place even in the daytime if you keep the lights dim. At night you will witness their activity by keeping the lights low. 

Corn Snake Sleep Cycle

Corn snakes are primarily dormant in the daytime and most of the time of the night. They have two sleep cycles in their natural habitat. And when they feel comfortable in captivity, they will try to follow their natural routine by keeping strict to the sleeping plan at two different times. 

At the time of the day, these snakes will stay inactive and mostly sleep in hiding places. The first sleep cycle breaks at dawn when they hide and start hunting for food. The following sleep cycle will continue till the evening, and they will again become active at dusk. 

If your corn snake shows a different sleeping pattern and stays active most of the day or night, it is not comfortable in the place. You must keep the lights dim and provide a calm environment for them to trust the handler and accept the vivarium as home. 

Best Time to Feed the Corn Snake

When you have a corn snake as a pet, you must adjust to its routine and natural habitat behaviour. In their natural settings, corn snakes get up early in the morning and search for their prey.

The best time for most of the corn snakes to eat is after dawn, and you must provide food to them at the very same time. 

In some cases, the corn snake doesn’t show any interest in the food in the early morning. This might be the result of sluggish behaviour because of a cold body. In such a scenario, you must shift the feeding timetable to the evening when your pet is eagerly waiting for the food to come to its mouth. 

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Day and Night Temperatures for your Pet

The daytime temperature for a corn snake in captivity must be around 80 F (27 C). And at the time of the night, the temperature in the enclosure should reach 70 F (21 C). The basking area for your corn snake is of utmost importance for its survival, just like food. 

Corn snakes don’t like light much that’s why you should use under tank heater to provide 90 F (32 C) temperature for your pet. In this way, the snake will regulate the body temperature in captivity inside the tank or vivarium. 

These small snakes are the most loved species by snake lovers. These are Crepuscular reptiles because they hunt at dawn or in the evening. This snake can recognize the owner and builds a trustworthy relationship with the handler.

You will learn about the trust factor when this snake remains calm in your presence and tries to wrap its body around your hand gently. They cannot harm humans, and their bite will only hurt as much as a cat`s bite.

What Is a Diurnal Animal

To understand what diurnal means it is helpful to differ between diurnal and nocturnal. Basically a diurnal animal is an animal that is active during the day as opposed to nocturnal animals that are most active during the night.

Good examples of diurnal animals are birds, deer or ants. They are always active during the day and sleep at night. Nocturnal animals on the other hand are animals such as bats or hedgehogs. They prefer to be awake and active during the darkness of night.

The word diurnal comes from the latin word “dies” which means day and “nocturnus” which means night (and also a noun). Having this in mind the meaning of the two words also becomes pretty clear.

Why Does It Matter If Corn Snakes Are Diurnal or Nocturnal

If you have a pet corn snake at home the question of what time of day your pet is most active becomes relevant. This will also be one of the questions that you need to ask yourself when you shop for a new enclosure.

You don’t want to buy an enclosure that has lights in them because this wouldn’t be beneficial to your pet during the evening.

If you keep your corn snake in an enclosure with lights on all night, the temperature that it needs during the day time would be impossible to reach and your pet’s health will suffer because of it.

When the snake is kept in an enclosure with artificial lights it will not be able to know when it should go at a basking spot and if it goes there too early, your pet will posssibly become weak or waste away.

How Do You Know If Your Corn Snake Is Nocturnal or Not?

The only way to determine whether your snake is diurnal or nocturnal is by observing its behaviour. Of course you could also ask a pet store worker who has some experience in this field, but there are some snakes that are more active during the day than others.

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In the wild most species of snakes are diurnal and hunt for their prey at dawn or in the evening. During the day they remain hidden so that they can’t be spotted easily by their prey and during nighttime, snakes are mostly inactive because it is too warm for them to move around.

The biggest problem with corn snakes that are nocturnal is finding a place to sleep when you block off all access to light during the evening. Your corn snake will feel uncomfortable in its enclosure and it’s hard to maintain a healthy temperature for your pet because of that.

You could try to create darkness inside the enclosure by using black sheets or towels but if you are thinking about this, you are probably doing something wrong in the first place. So make sure to buy an enclosure that has no lighting.

Tips For Keeping Your Pet Happy, Healthy, And Safe During The Day Vs At Night

Don’t use artificial lights in your snake’s enclosure, it will feel too cold inside the tank and you should try to keep a constant temperature for your pet. 

Buy an enclosure with 2 or more doors for easy access. During the night, always lock 1 door of the enclosure so that your snake cannot escape. Lock the other door during the day so that your snake has a dark place to sleep. 

Get rid of any pet toys in the enclosure during the night because they can’t help your snake at all and are just in the way. The best way for it to get exercise is by hunting live prey or just moving around inside its tank during this time.

Try to keep the water dish filled as much as possible during the night. This will help your corn snake maintain its hydration levels, which is a very important aspect of a healthy and happy pet snake. It is also easier for snakes to hunt when they have water in their stomachs, like it is for most animals on this planet. 

Make sure that there is a separate water bowl for your snake inside its enclosure because it can’t drink from the same container as it uses to soak in. Also make sure that this water dish has a large enough capacity so that it doesn’t need to be filled too often during the day time. 

Some Examples Of Other Types of Animals That Are Either Diurnal or Nocturnal

Different types of animals tend to be either diurnal or nocturnal. Below is a list of different animals. Let’s see which animals are diurnal and which are nocturnal.

The answer to the question of whether corn snakes are diurnal or nocturnal is that they can actually be either.

Corn snakes usually seek out cooler temperatures and find shelter during the day, which would make them more likely to be active during this time period.

However, if there’s a temporary disturbance in their environment like an intruder or new addition, they may become more active at night looking for food sources.

This could also mean that your pet snake will need its space regularly!