Choosing a pet snake is not as difficult as it seems. But you need to know and research all about your snake before you choose the right one. Many beginners have this common question- “Which snake species should I get? or How will I know if it’s the right snake for me? Or How to choose a pet snake?” But if you do a little research, it may not be so hard to decide. There are many kinds of choices of beginner snakes that could make it easy for you to adopt and care for, like the Gopher snake, Royal Python, Corn Snake, and others, which are quite easy to adjust to due to their calm and obedient natures.
What To Consider Before Choosing Your Pet Snake
As you will learn, there are several snake species that are either good beginners, calm and docile in nature, or easy to adjust to while keeping captive at home. We need to consider a few things before selecting a snake for a pet. Here are some of these points: –
1. Choose An Easy To Care Snake
There are many options for snakes as a pet but within these options lies many snakes that have the least difficulty keeping as pets. Some of these are Children’s Python, Carpet Python, Royal Python, Corn Snake, Gopher Snake, Milk Snake, Garter Snake, Rosy Boa, Western Hognose Snake, Ball Python, and California Kingsnake. All these snakes are easy to handle and care for, as they are all non-venomous, docile in nature, and least threatening. These characteristics make it quite easy for the snake owner to deal with their pet.
2. Choose A Snake That Is Safe If You Have Children In The House
When children are concerned it is best to consider the snakes that have a calm and cool attitude and does not react to sudden handling or petting, which children may try in your absence. As long as the snake is non-venomous, least threatened, or has a docile temperament, it is safer to keep them. But apart from these characteristics, you should make sure the enclosure is tightly sealed to avoid escaping.
3. What Kind Of Snake Are You Getting?
It is always best to know about your snake before bringing it home as a pet. You need to do your research well. Know about the snake’s life cycle, its behavior, and characteristics especially when it comes in contact with humans. There are a number of snakes that may not be friendly with others as they are with its owner. Some of these are the African Rock Python, Reticulated Python, Boa constrictors, Green Anaconda, Flying snakes, and so on. These kinds have an irritable and defensive attitude towards humans. Mostly they are wild-caught which is why they have difficulty adjusting to their new environments as well.
4. Know If The Snake Is Suitable For Beginners
There are a lot of snake enthusiasts who are entirely new to this hobby and look for their first snake. This is when you need to consider the most beginner-friendly snakes, which means they must be easy to care for, should have a calm temperament, do not get easily threatened or require very less attention as possible. Some of these kinds are a good option for beginners- Corn Snake, California Snake, Rosy Boa, Gopher Snake, or Ball Python. It is best to choose a snake that needs the minimum care or time so it is easy for the owner to understand its behavior from time to time. These points can be considered for a beginner:
- Buy captive-bred snakes
- Don’t expect a cuddly pet like dogs or cats
- Choose a snake that is easy to begin with
- Do your own research
- Estimate the costs
- Find a good Vet
- Be prepared to commit
5. The life Span Of The Snake You Should Choose
It is wiser to choose a snake with a longer life span as it is more likely to adjust to you and its environment. Having a long life span you can get a lot of time to spend with your pet snake and feeding and nurturing it becomes very easy for the owner. Snakes like- Corn snake, California Kingsnake, Rosy Boa, and Garter Snakes are some of the long-living snakes that have a life span from 10 years to 30 years.
6. Choose The Right Place To Buy The Snake
You can buy your pet snake from any local pet store or otherwise online. Often stores do not have all the species you might be looking for so the best option would be to search online. There are several stores online such as:
- LLL Reptile and Supply Company
- Snakes at Sunset
- Reptile Rapture
- Josh’s Frogs
- Big Apple Herp
- Imperial Reptiles
- XYZ Reptiles
Best Beginner Friendly Snakes
Consider choosing the following species of snakes that are best suitable for beginners.
1. Corn Snake
The corn snake is the most gentle and docile snake of all. This snake would be the best and first choice for a beginner. This snake is easy to handle and feed also. They love to burrow through the ground and are nocturnal animals, which means they are sleeping through the day. Corn snakes live up to 25 years and grow up to 6 feet long. This snake came from North America in different colors like red, orange, yellow, and brown colors.
2. Milk Snake
The Milk snake is another one of those snakes with a docile temperament and is non-venomous. This snake comes from U.S and Mexico and has rings of red, yellow, white, and black, which makes them look beautiful. The milk snake has a long slender body and grows up to 6 feet long. It can live up to 20 years.
3. Hognose Snake
The Hognose or the Western Hognose as it is often known is another friendly snake and easy to handle as well. This snake came from North America, and it grows shorter than some common pet snakes, which are 4 to 5 feet. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns and has an upturned nose which helps it to burrow easily. The hognose might be known for its attitude when threatened as it tends to flatten its head and hiss like a cobra, but they are not harmful.
4. Ball Python
Ball Python is one of the most popular beginner snakes, due to its docile and easy to care nature. They are non-venomous and grow up to 4 to 5 feet maximum. Ball pythons are basically shy and will coil their heads into a ball when they get frightened which is implied by their name given. They like to hide in boxes when kept captive at home and burrow through the ground where they rest during the day. The enclosure for a Ball python could be a simple one so there is not much to make its home.
Snakes To Avoid For Beginners
Try to avoid the following snakes. These are not suitable for beginners or inexperienced snake owners.
Anacondas can be a calm and docile species when captive but they are large in size, around 10 to 14 feet. The Green anaconda grows even larger than 14 feet. The anaconda has huge strength and you would not want to keep this near any children at home, not even up to 18 years. But despite its impressive color and appearance, this snake is not at all a good choice for beginners. Anacondas are known to constrict their prey to death, with their large and heavy structure it is a dangerous species to keep unless you have years of experience.
2. Venomous Snakes
Venomous snakes are definitely not the first choice for beginners, as not only that it is poisonous but also can attack a human at any time if you are not an experienced snake owner. You need to have some experience keeping a venomous snake in the neighborhood or once it escapes from its enclosure it could become life-threatening. Viper, Cobras, and Mambas are the most common venomous snakes that people want to captivate which poses danger to others in their community.
3. Boa Constrictors
Although the Boa constrictor is often kept as a pet its big size makes it a difficult one for beginners. Due to their sizes, 13 to 16 feet, they are not recommended for everyone to maintain. In accordance with their sizes the boa constrictor feed on big animals like deer, fish, lizards or rats, chickens, and rabbits when captive. They require a much bigger enclosure than the average-sized snakes do. Being big and strong they could be slightly difficult to handle for beginners.
4. Water Snake
Water snakes are not always a good option for breeding as it has difficulty handling especially when it is wild-caught. Some water snakes do not adapt that well which leads them to feel stressed, loses their appetite, and ultimately end up in a poor life experience. It will take time for the water snake to socialize and be adapted to its new lifestyle. Therefore, for beginners, this could create a problem unless you are willing to give all your time to it.
5. Green Snake
Green snakes are so-called because they usually spend time hunting through the plants and vegetation. They are timid and shy in nature. But they have a little fuss while feeding them. They get nervous and reluctant to feed sometimes which makes them tough to tame by beginners. Also, they seem stressed when you want to handle them.
6. Reticulated Pythons
Reticulated pythons are one of the largest snakes and are not recommended for beginners and especially not around children. This python has a habit of coiling up its prey and strangling them to death. Due to its huge size, it is difficult to save any animal from it. They move very slowly and spend most of their time waiting and resting until prey comes into their vicinity. Unless you are an experienced snake enthusiast accustomed to handling heavy and large snakes, it would be wise not to opt for it as a pet.
Common Pet Snake Information
Here are some common things you need to know about pet snakes:
- There are many breeds and morphs and colors of pet snakes
- There are many sizes and weights of pet snakes
- Most pet snakes are docile and shy
- Snakes feed on live or frozen prey
- Pet snakes need to be kept in a closed enclosure known as a terrarium
- Owning a pet snake is less expensive and demands low maintenance
- Pet snakes need heat to survive as they are cold-blooded
- Pet snakes don’t like cuddling like other pet animals
- Most snakes don’t live in groups but solitarily
- In captivity, snakes usually live longer
- In general, snakes that are kept as pets are not more than 5 feet in length
There are 3000 species of snakes around the world and so there are millions of pet owners that choose from all these species whether they are beginners or experienced hobbyists. There are different breeds and morphs available to choose from, depending on what you are expecting or ready to keep in captivity. Keeping in mind the common information mentioned above and with research, you can easily keep a pet snake as long as it is given the care and living conditions provided. Not only caring and feeding but also treating your snake like any other pet is important. That means you will have to make sure of its cleanliness, health, and hygiene as well. Once your pet snake gets adapted to its home and its owner there is no difference from keeping any other pet animal.