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Why Do Corn Snakes Rattle Their Tail?

The popularity of keeping pet corn snakes is on the rise again meaning that we have seen more and more people reaching out and asking questions about keeping pet corn snakes as well as their behavior.

One of the more common things that we constantly see people asking about when it comes to keeping corn snakes is about the corn snake tail rattle.

Although corn snakes do not actually have a rattle in their tail like an actual rattlesnake, they will rattle their tails at times, especially while the snakes are babies or juveniles.

Due to this being such a surprising behavior to witness for many people who are not aware that corn snakes will rattle their tails, we often see people reaching out to ask questions about the behavior.

With a large number of people reaching out each month about their corn snake rattling its tail, we wanted to publish this article in the hope of helping our readers better understand why their corn snail will rattle its tail and what it means.

Sometimes the behavior of a corn snake can be a little unpredictable but most of the time, the advice in our article below will remain true for most people.

Why Is My Corn Snake Shaking Its Tail?

Corn snails will rattle their tail during times of extreme emotion, this is often times of extreme happiness, excitement, anger or frustration. Due to the same behaviour being used for contradicting emotions, it can be difficult to know how to behave around a corn snake rattling its tail.

Our general advice is to just leave your corn snake to do its thing. No matter the cause of it rattling its tail, it is unlikely that any action from you can make it feel better or worse anyway so you are just putting yourself at risk by trying to handle your corn snake while rattling its tail.

Although some adult corn snakes will keep this behaviour, it is more common in baby and juvenile corn snakes with many corn snakes not rattling their tail anymore once they reach adulthood. There is also a theory that corn snakes will rattle their tail to mimic the behaviour of the rattlesnake in an attempt to trick potential predators but we don’t believe this to be accurate.

Why Is My Corn Snake Vibrating?

When your corn snake is happy, excited, angry or frustrated enough for it to rattle its tail, the snake will often sound like it is vibrating. It is usually due to the tail of the snake knocking against something in its enclosure or the rear third of the snake’s body moving at such a rapid pace that it sounds like it is vibrating.

This vibrating sound can work to your advantage in the age of social media when everyone wants a video of their corn snake rattling its tail to share on social media. When you hear the vibrating sound from your corn snake there is a good chance that it is rattling its tail letting you know to grab your phone and record your video.

On the flipside of that though, the vibrating sound can work against you if you keep your pet corn snake in the room where you snake as the sound can actually get surprisingly loud. If you are trying to sleep due to needing to be at work or school the next day it can easily wake you up and make it difficult to get back to sleep.

Why Is My Corn Snake Rattling Its Tail While Eating?

Some corn snakes will rattle their tail while eating food due to either being happy that they are eating or to try and warn off anything that may try to steal their food. If you do notice that your corn snake is rattling its tail while eating, we would not recommend that you disturb your snake in case it perceives you as a threat.

It can be cute to watch your corn snake eating its meal while rattling its tail though so feel free to watch your snake but don’t try to touch it. Just keep in mind that there may be issues with you sharing videos of your corn snake rattling its tail while eating on social media depending on the stage of the meal. We have seen a few corn snake owners make that mistake and end up with a temporary ban on their social media accounts.

Please don’t try withholding food from your corn snake to increase the chances of it rattling its tail during its next meal. We have seen a few people online suggest that this will get your corn snake to rattle its tail the next time it eats but there is absolutely no evidence at all to back this up.

Do All Corn Snakes Rattle Their Tail?

Not all corn snakes rattle their tail and even the ones that do usually only do it while they are younger as well as when they are happy, excited, angry or frustrated. It is surprisingly rare that an adult corn snake will rattle their tail though so try to enjoy it while you can if you have a baby or juvenile corn snake.

We understand that most people do want a corn snake that will rattle their tail because it is considered a cute behaviour but it can actually mean that your snake is angry or frustrated. If your snake starts to coil or launch at you just leave it alone until it calms down.

There’s no point in risking a bit and depending on the age of your corn snake, it biting you may actually damage its teeth. That said though, it is very rare that a corn snake will bite you even if it is angry but we would still recommend that you leave your snake to do its thing until it has calmed down.


That brings our article going over why a corn snake rattles its tail to an end. We know that it can be cute to watch and that the little vibration sound that it makes is also cute but try not to handle your corn snake while it is vibrating its tail. Its just not worth the risk so just observe it rattling its tail until it either calms down or you get bored and want to do something else.