Holding a snake can be a relatively safe and enjoyable experience, but some precautions should be taken. First of all, always wash your hands before and after handling your corn snake, particularly if you were recently handling his food. Snakes have a much better sense of smell than sight, so he will probably not be able to tell the difference between an actual rodent and your hand that smells like a rodent— and you certainly don’t want to be mistaken for a snack! A thorough washing before and after handling your snake will also significantly lower your chances of contracting any dangerous bacteria from your snake, or vice versa.
The more a snake is handled, the more comfortable it will become with being handled. However, be sure to pay close attention to your snake when you’re getting ready to take him out of his cage. If he seems reluctant to be lifted or hisses at you, think twice.
Do not allow your corn snake to wrap himself around your neck. The muscle movement of a snake’s coils can constrict blood vessels in the neck and render a person unconscious in moments. Particularly when handling larger snakes, make sure there is another person around, just in case the unthinkable happens and you need someone to loosen the snake’s hold on you.
For more information, read Corn & Rat Snakes (T.F.H. Publications, Inc.).