Are Corn Snakes Nocturnal Or Diurnal?

corn snake at night
corn snake at night

While I was looking to have a corn snake as a pet for the first time. The first thing I wanted to know was, were they nocturnal or diurnal. Like many other snake owners, I also wanted to have a pet that is more active during the day time. While looking for the answer,  here is what I got to know.

Are corn snakes nocturnal or Diurnal? Corn snakes are not classified as Nocturnal or Diurnal. As corn snakes are primarily active during the morning and evening(dawn and dusk) time, they are classified as Crepuscular. Although, corn snakes can show Nocturnal or Diurnal tendencies depending upon the temperature of their surroundings and food availability.

Corn snakes are crepuscular, it means they are most active during the dawn and dusk. And the reason for this is the availability of food. As corn snakes mainly feed on rodents and lizards that show crepuscular tendencies. They need to forge for their food after the sunset or before the sunrise. 

Other than this temperature also affects the activity pattern of the corn snakes.

Fact:  Diurnal snakes typically have a round pupil whereas Nocturnal snakes have vertically oriented pupils. But this rule can overlap with many conditions 

During the hotter months of the year, corn snakes stay inactive during the daytime and come out at night in search of prey. While in the winter season they show most of the activity during the daytime. 

Due to this, many people get confused about, whether corn snakes are nocturnal or Diurnal. 

But you need to know that corn snakes can be nocturnal or Diurnal from being crepuscular according to their environment. 

So should you consider corn snake if you are looking for getting a pet snake that is more active during the daytime? Keep reading further to know more about their activity pattern.

Are corn snakes active during the day?

Corn snakes are not found active during the daytime. As they are crepuscular they will be most active during the evening and early morning. Although their activity pattern changes according to their environment.

This only implies if the corn snakes are living in their natural habitat. If you are looking to have a corn snake as a pet then you can see a lot of variation in their activity pattern. As once pet corn snakes get comfortable with their environment, they can be seen moving freely during the daytime without any fear.

corn snake in captivity
corn snake in captivity

But this can vary for every individual snake. While some pet corn snakes are seen more active during the daytime, while others can be seen active during the dawn and dusk.

Other than this the temperature inside the enclosure of your pet corn snake can also influence their activity pattern. However, as the vivarium of the corn snake has a perfect environment and no potential predators it is completely normal if you see your pet corn snake active during an uncommon time. 

when are corn snakes most active?

Corn snakes are most active during the dawn and dusk hours. As corn snakes mainly feed on crepuscular like rodents, lizards, and other amphibians. They need to forge for their food when the prey is available.  

While corn snakes kept in captivity are active mostly during the evening time. Other than this your pet corn snake can be found active during other times of the day due to the following reasons.

  • The enclosure is too hot or too cold. 
  • It is the breeding season of the corn snakes. 
  • They have been shifted to a new enclosure.
  • The corn snake is young.
  • The corn snake is hungry.

However, as corn snakes are crepuscular it is totally natural for the snake if they are more active during the daytime or during the night. Because they will switch their activity period according to their environment. 

If you need to feed your corn snake you must choose the evening time.

As they are most active after the sunset and they will give a much stronger feeding response.

 As you have found out that corn snakes are mostly active during the evening time so you must be thinking that do they need any kind of light during the night time. Keep reading to know more about it.  

Do Corn snakes need a night light?

Corn snakes do not need a night light as they are completely fine without any light sources during the night time. Corn snakes need a day and night cycle to perform their biological activity, hence an 8-10 hour daylight is completely fine for them.

As corn snakes are crepuscular and are more active after the sun goes down. Adding a night light will confuse them and it will also disturb the day and night cycle of the corn snake which will lead to stress. 

If the night light is also acting as a heat source than you should try using a black bulb as an alternative. Although corn snakes are completely fine without any heat source until the temperature is not freezing.

And for the light source during the daytime for your corn snake, you can go for any regular led lights, or strips or even sunlight will also work completely fine if it is available. As corn snakes do not need UVB light set up in their enclosure they are completely fine with the regular lights. But you just need to make sure that any kind of lights doesn’t affect their sleep cycle.

When do corn snakes sleep?

As Corn snakes are crepuscular they sleep during the daytime and hunt for prey during the dawn and dusk. During the daytime, they will sleep in a burrow or under tree branches avoiding any potential predators. 

Corn snakes normally sleep for 8- 14 hours a day depending on their age and enclosure.

However, a corn snake kept in captivity can be sometimes found active during the daytime. But this is completely normal as they get settled in their enclosure they adopt different activity patterns.

As many corn snakes kept in captivity are seen changing their activity pattern from crepuscular to diurnal or nocturnal as per their new habitat. Some are more active during the daytime and sleeping at night while others are more active at night and sleeping during the daytime.

However, it is too difficult to know if your con snake is sleeping as they don’t have eyelids. But if your snake is just sitting in its enclosure or hiding itself during the daytime then you can presume that they are sleeping.


In General corn snakes are crepuscular but the activity pattern of the corn snake being crepuscular, nocturnal, or diurnal depends upon the temperature and food availability.  Corn snakes kept in captivity can show uncommon activity patterns but it is totally normal till they are healthy.

Related Question

Can corn snakes see in the dark?

Corn snakes can see in the dark as they have more developed Rods in their eyes that allow them to see better at night. Other than this corn snakes also use the sensitive pits that help them to detect their surrounding.

Do Corn snakes need heat at night?

Corn snakes do not need heat at night if the temperature inside the enclosure is adequate. But if the temperature drops during the nighttime than the snake must be provided with a heat source to imitate their natural habitat.

Do corn snakes burrow?

Corn snakes like to burrow due to their secretive nature. This also helps to protect them from potential predators and to maintain their body temperature. They like to hide inside rat burrows, under tree branches and debris.