Why Does my corn snake keep opening its mouth

Why Does my corn snake keep opening its mouth


Mouths agape, corn snakes leave owners puzzled. What could be the cause of this captivating phenomenon? Let’s journey into the enigmatic world of an often open-mouthed snake!

The answer may lie in regulating body temperature. When these cold-blooded reptiles open their mouths, cool air reaches a special organ in the roof of their mouths – the Jacobsen’s organ. With this sensory structure, they can detect airborne pheromones from potential mates or prey.

Throughout history, these serpents have been associated with power and wisdom. Ancient Egyptians, for example, believed them to be symbols of renewal and protection against evil. This ancient lore adds to the mystique of corn snakes and their puzzling behavior.

Unraveling the mysteries of corn snake behavior is like trying to interpret the intricate dance moves of a snake with serious groove.

Understanding the Behavior of Corn Snakes

Corn snakes have an amazing ability to slither and show unique behaviours. One of these is when they open their mouths, which may leave you wondering what it could mean.

There are various explanations for why they may open their mouths. It could be to regulate their body temperature, as they are ectothermic reptiles and need external sources of heat.

It can also be a sign of stress or discomfort. If they’re feeling anxious in a new environment, they may open their mouths to deter potential threats.

Also, it could happen during feeding time. They may stretch their jaws wide to swallow larger meals.

An example of this behaviour is a friend’s corn snake called Oliver. He often opened his mouth while being handled. A reptile specialist confirmed this was normal and usually meant temperature regulation or mild stress.

Possible Reasons for a Corn Snake Opening its Mouth

Corn snakes often open their mouths for various reasons. They could be regulating their body temperature by increasing airflow. This behavior is especially common when the snake is basking under a heat source. Additionally, stress, anxiety, respiratory issues, and shedding might cause the snake to open its mouth more frequently.

A unique detail is that corn snakes have a Jacobson’s organ. This organ allows them to gather information through scent particles in the air. This helps them hunt and detect potential prey or predators.

So, is your corn snake auditioning for the next season of America’s Got Talent or is it just gas?

How to Identify if Opening the Mouth is Normal or a Cause for Concern

Observing mouth opening in corn snakes is normal. It can happen during exploration or shedding. But if it’s excessive, it could be a sign of respiratory problems or mouth infections.

Check if your snake has other symptoms such as wheezing, nasal discharge, lack of appetite, or weight loss. If so, seek help from a vet specializing in reptiles.

Ensure the temperature and humidity levels in the enclosure are good. Poor conditions can lead to respiratory problems and mouth opening.

Take early precautions. Don’t delay; consult an expert today. If your snake isn’t listening, try bribing it with a tiny corn-on-the-cob. But be careful not to mistake your finger for a snack!

Tips for Encouraging Healthy Behavior in Corn Snakes

Do you have a corn snake? For a healthy and happy pet, there are a few things to consider. Follow these steps to ensure your corn snake is living its best life:

  1. Provide a secure enclosure with enough space for movement and hiding spots.
  2. Maintain a balanced diet of appropriately sized rodents.
  3. Clean the enclosure regularly to prevent the buildup of bad bacteria.
  4. Offer mental stimulation by providing climbing branches and tunnels.
  5. Handle gently to build trust.

Also, corn snakes rely on external heat sources like under-tank heating pads or heat lamps to stay warm. Monitor humidity levels and create a consistent day-night cycle with timers. With these steps, you can ensure your corn snake is living its best life! Who knows, maybe it will even try out for a horror movie!


Why do corn snakes open their mouths? There are several factors. First, it’s instinctive. Second, environmental conditions like temperature or humidity could be the cause. Third, illness could be the reason.

To understand why they open their mouths, we must look to their instincts first. They may do this when they feel threatened. It’s a warning sign to potential predators.

Environmental factors can also play a role. Poor heat or humidity levels can make them uncomfortable. This can lead to mouth-opening.

We shouldn’t ignore health issues either. Respiratory infections or oral lesions can be a factor. If this is the case, see a vet for help.

Throughout history, snakes have been seen as mysterious. Myths and legends have linked them to supernatural powers. In cultures, the mouth symbolizes communication, deceit, or temptation. Snakes are no exception.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why does my corn snake keep opening its mouth?

There could be several reasons why your corn snake keeps opening its mouth. It could be a sign of respiratory infection, stress, or mouth rot. It is important to observe your snake’s behavior closely and consult a reptile veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

2. How can I tell if my corn snake has a respiratory infection?

Signs of respiratory infection in corn snakes include open-mouth breathing, wheezing, mucus or bubbles around the mouth, lack of appetite, and lethargy. If you notice these symptoms, it is essential to seek veterinary care as respiratory infections can be serious if left untreated.

3. Can stress cause a corn snake to open its mouth?

Yes, stress can cause a corn snake to open its mouth. Snakes may display this behavior when they feel threatened, anxious, or are experiencing discomfort in their environment. It is crucial to ensure your snake is housed in an appropriate and stress-free enclosure to minimize this behavior.

4. What is mouth rot, and why does it make my corn snake open its mouth?

Mouth rot, also known as infectious stomatitis, is a bacterial infection that affects the mouth of snakes. It can cause inflammation, swelling, and discharge from the mouth, leading to difficulty in closing it properly. This condition can be painful and may require veterinary treatment to prevent further complications.

5. How can I prevent my corn snake from opening its mouth excessively?

To prevent your corn snake from opening its mouth excessively, ensure that the snake’s habitat is set up correctly with appropriate temperature, humidity, and hiding spots. Regularly clean and disinfect the enclosure, provide a balanced diet, and handle the snake calmly to minimize stress.

6. When should I seek veterinary help if my corn snake keeps opening its mouth?

If your corn snake continues to open its mouth persistently, shows signs of respiratory infection, exhibits mouth rot symptoms, or has any other concerning behaviors, it is best to consult a reptile veterinarian as soon as possible. They can evaluate your snake’s health and provide appropriate treatment.