Snakes are fascinating animals and with regular handling most of them can be quite tame as pets. However, snakes are obviously not the right pets for everyone. They have unique requirements and should only be cared for by those with the commitment and understanding to meet their needs. If you are new to pet snakes find out what you should consider before deciding on one and what species are the best snakes for beginners.
Snakes as a pet :
Choosing a Pet Snake :
courtesy to : exoticpets.about.com/cs/snakes/a/snakesaspets.htmBy Lianne McLeod, DVM
Updated June 12, 2016.
Things to Consider Before Choosing a Snake as a Pet
When choosing a snake as a pet you are making a long term commitment and many species can be expected to live over 20 years.
You must be willing to feed prey animals to your snake (though previously frozen, pre-killed prey is the safest choice) and you will probably have to devote some freezer space to frozen prey items (i.e. rodents).
Snakes are very good escape artists so you will need to make sure you have an escape-proof enclosure. Snakes are persistent about finding and squeezing through any small gaps.
As beautiful as they are, large constricting snakes and venomous snakes are not recommended as pets due to their safety concerns.
Get a captive bred snake from a reputable breeder, if at all possible. Wild caught snakes tend to be more stressed and prone to parasites and disease as well as more difficult to tame.
Get a Healthy Snake :
You will want to do a cursory exam of your snake to check for any signs of illness including bubbles coming out of the nose, retained skin, closed eyes, and mouth rot.
Ask for a feeding demonstration to make sure your new snake is readily taking pre-killed prey and eating well. Ball pythons are somewhat notorious for having feeding problems so this is an especially good idea for ball pythons.
Recommended Beginner Snakes
These are all reasonably sized, fairly easy to care for, and tend to be quite docile snakes to care for as pets. They are also easy to find from a breeder or at a reptile show since they are quite popular and include:
Snakes for Beginners to Avoid
Beginners should avoid large constricting snakes, venomous snakes, and snakes with more difficult care requirements such as the following snake species:
5 Great Pet Snakes
Snakes that are potentially very dangerous (to their owners or others around them) are best avoided as pets by beginners and experienced keepers alike and include:
Any venomous snakes
General Pet Snake Information for Beginners :
Feeding Snakes: Pre-Killed vs Live Prey - Feeding pre-killed prey is recommended since a live rodent can inflict some serious wounds on a snake in self defense (plus it is more convenient to keep a supply of frozen prey in your freezer than raising or buying live animals for feeding).
How to Provide a Thermal Gradient - All snakes need to be able to regulate their body temperature by moving between cooler and warmer areas. Providing a gradient and making sure the warm side of the tank is warm enough is essential to your snake's health and ability to digest their meals.
Signs a Snake is About to Shed - There are some fairly common signs that a snake is about to shed that might seem a bit alarming to a new snake owner. Learn what to look for before you are caught off guard.
How Can I Tell if My Snake is a Male or Female? - There are a few ways to determine whether you have a male or a female snake.
How to Find an Escaped Pet - Just in case your new snake turns out to be an escape artist this general information on finding lost pets might help you track them down (but keep in mind that a snake will most likely head for a warm, enclosed space).
Constricting Snakes - Read some of these cautions about larger constricting snakes and handling guidelines along with information specific to boas and pythons.
Whatever snake you chose, new owners should be familiar with the proper care, feeding, behavioral characteristics, and the commitment required to keep the snake.
Edited by Adrienne Kruzer, RVT
Videos about Pet Snakes :
What Pet Snake Should I Buy? SnakeBytesTV
What Pet Snake Should I Get? SnakeBytesTV - Ep. 389 : AnimalBytesTV
Best Pet Snake for Beginners | Pet Snakes
5 Great Beginner Pet Snakes
BY JOHN VIRATA
We often get questions about what is an ideal beginner-friendly snake for those new to the hobby. Beginner meaning fairly easy to care for with not a lot of requirements other than good husbandry and attention to detail. Of all the reptiles available in the hobby, snakes seem to be the most popular. Go to any reptile show, and the majority of the animals available are of the legless kind. Snakes can make great pets. They can be secretive or outgoing, depending on the individual snake and the species, and some of them are easy to care for. Here we present you five beginner friendly snakes, in no particular order, for those new to the hobby, or for those who wish to add a new animal to your collection that is fairly easy to keep.
Snake hatchlings can be started on pinkies.
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Before the ball python captured the imagination of snake lovers, the corn snake (Pantherophis guttata) was the most popular pet snake available. Fairly docile, easy to handle and care for, what is not to like about this North American native? Corn snakes are still one of the most popular pet snakes because of their demeanor, availability, and their color combinations. They don’t grow too big, don’t need a big enclosure (I’ve had mine in a 20-gallon enclosure for 10 years), and if you wish to breed them, are very easy to breed.
Okeetee corn snake.
Corn snake hatchlings average around $25-40 depending on where you buy them and their color variation. Housing them is straightforward. My enclosure is a 20-gallon with a screened top, an under tank heat pad, a ceramic water bowl, two hides (paper towel roll and a commercial hide) and aspen substrate. No special lighting is required and when I feed them, I pull them out and place them in their own separate shoebox where they both get a frozen/thawed rat pup or F/T mice. They can live for a long time. Like I said, I’ve had mine for 10 years and they are still going strong.
California Kingsnake :
California kingsnakes (Lampropeltis getula californiae) are considered kings because of their capability to kill and eat rattlesnakes and other snakes. Here in Southern California, the California kingsnake is popular both in the trade and to observe in the wild. They are also super popular beginner snakes, though they can be a bit nippy if not handled often enough. In the wild, these snakes are fairly opportunistic feeders, eagerly hunting down and eating other snakes, including venomous snakes, small rodents, lizards, birds, and even bird eggs.
So is there any surprise that Corn snakes are the most common pet snakes in the U.S.? They are hardy, easy-to handle, inexpensive and pretty. Does this mean that a Corn snake is definitely the first snake you should buy? Absolutely not! The snake is as individual as the owner and you should purchase the one that appeals to you the most in all categories important to you. Let’s quickly discuss the individual snake families we’ve highlighted in this chart, and work our way from number 10 to number 1.
Kingsnakes don’t grow too large, averaging 3 to 4 feet in length.
Kingsnakes don’t grow too large, averaging 3 to 4 feet in length. You can house one in a 20-gallon enclosure with a screened top, a hide and suitable substrate. An under tank heater optimized for your tank size is necessary to help the snake thermoregulate and aid in digestion. The water bowl should be large enough for the snake to soak in, and heavy enough so the snake doesn’t tip it over. No special lighting is required to keep this species. Feed hatchling kingsnakes appropriately sized pinky mice (no wider than the girth of the snake) and as they grow, your feeders should grow with them (Pinkies, then fuzzies, hoppers, then small mice, and then adult mice, depending on how big the snake gets). Adult snakes can be fed frozen thawed mice or even frozen thawed rat pups. You can purchase a baby kingsnake for about $50 give or take, and that $50 can buy you anything from an aberrant black and white corn snake to a baby albino kingsnake (in the upper $50 range). Other than coloration, they are all Lampropeltis getula californiae.
Rosy Boa :
The rosy boa (Lichanura trivirgata), though not as popular as the corn snake or the California kingsnake, is still a popular pet snake in the hobby. Fairly docile, the rosy boa doesn’t get too large, growing to about 4 feet in length when fully grown, though average sizes are 2 to 3 feet in length. The rosy boa can be purchased for around $30-40 as hatchlings at reptile shows, reptile stores, and on the Internet. They are not typically found in the big box retail pet stores, where you can readily find corn snakes and ball pythons. The rosy boa is a long lived snake, capable of living 25+ years or more. My best friend growing up had a rosy boa that lived 16 years.
Like ball pythons and corn snakes, rosy boas come a a variety of colors.
The rosy boa enclosure, as with all snake enclosures, should be escape proof. Also, because rosy boas are often looking for an escape route, a screened top is not recommended, as they can abrade their noses. A 20-gallon enclosure is ideal for adult rosy boas while hatchlings can be started in small shoeboxes or other similarly sized enclosure. For substrate, you can use newspaper, paper towels or aspen bedding. About two inches of substrate will enable your rosy boa to burrow. You can spot clean the enclosure as you come across wet spots and snake poop, and change out the substrate every other month or so. As with the other snakes on the list, special lighting is not necessary, but a heat source is. The best heat source is and under tank heat pad or tape on one side of the enclosure so the snake can thermoregulate. This also aids in digestion. Feed your rosy boa an appropriately sized frozen thawed mouse two to four times a month during the spring and less during the winter.
Gopher Snake :
Gopher snakes (Pituophis spp.) are probably one of the best kept secrets in the hobby. They come in a variety of morphs, are fairly easy to find for sale, and their prices stay very reasonable. Gopher snake pricing starts at around $50. You can find them cheaper at local reptile shows. The gopher snake grows to about 3 to 6 feet in length, with an average length of 4 to 5 feet. They are a heavy bodied snake that can live 15+ years in captivity.
Gopher snakes average 3-5 feet in length.
You can start these snakes in a 20-gallon long enclosure and move up to 30 gallons as adults, with four foot long enclosures the optimum size for adult gopher snakes. For substrate, about two to three inches of aspen wood bedding is ideal as this allows the snake to burrow. Special lighting is not necessary for the health of a gopher snake. Keep a single heat source on one side of the enclosure so the gopher snake can thermoregulate as they prefer temperatures from the mid-70s to the mid-80s. Keep a water bowl that is large enough for them to soak in full of non-chlorinated fresh water. You can feed your hatchling gopher snake appropriately sized pinky mice, that is the same size or just slightly larger than the widest part of the snake, while full grown adults can be fed frozen/thawed rats.
Ball Python :
The ball python (Python regius) is currently the most popular pet snake, made so primarily by the crazy amount of morphs that are available as well as their generally very shy demeanor. With proper care techniques, it is not too difficult to keep a ball python. Unlike most of the other snakes on the list, the ball python needs some humidity in its cage as they are native to central and western Africa. The snake is not a large python but is heavy bodied. The female ball python grows to about 3 to 5 feet in length while the male is smaller at around 2 to 3 feet in length. Your size may vary. Ball pythons, like rosy boas, are long lived snakes, with some living more than 30 years in captivity. You can keep ball pythons in enclosures around 3 feet in length. Avoid screen tops if you can as a screen top makes it hard to keep the humidity up in the enclosure. A 30-gallon enclosure works well. A hide box is essential for the well being of this species. As it is generally shy, you should keep a hide box on both sides of its enclosure. Water bowls should be large enough to soak in. Heavy bowls, such as ceramic bowls are ideal over plastic bowls.
A pastel ball and a normal ball python.
Normal ball pythons start at around $30 at most reptile shows. Pet stores sell them around that price as well. When you get into the morphs, the sky is the limit. While the price of certain morphs have come down considerably since their ridiculous highs, there are still some pricey ball pythons out there. The good news is that reptile shows are chock full of breeders selling all manner of ball python morph, and at these shows, its a buyer’s market. It all depends on how much you wish to spend. I myself prefer the normal ball python. Its normal coloration is striking in itself.
Ball pythons are available in a range of morphs with price points to match.
Of all the snakes on this list, the ball python sits right at the edge of a good beginner snake. It has more specific care requirements than the others. In addition to its care requirements, the ball python often stops eating, or going “off feed” for whatever reason at any time of the year. One of the most popular questions with regard to ball pythons is “why my ball python won’t eat.” For most circumstances, this is a perfectly normal part of a ball python being a ball python. There is no rhyme nor reason why they stop eating, they just do. This can occur for months at a time. And for the most part, if your ball python looks healthy, there is no cause for alarm. If it starts to look thin or emaciated, then you have a problem and you should visit a veterinarian immediately.
John B. Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata
Yellow Belly Ball Pythons
Videos about top Beginner snakes :
Snake Bytes TV - Snakes That Are Right For You! SnakeBytesTV
Top beginner snakes
The Best Pet Snake for a Beginner…
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So you want a pet snake, huh? Well, as much as we love all snakes at Snake Buddies, it is important to remember that there are many variables to consider before buying your scaly critter. Most first time snake shoppers will simply pick out the one that appeals to them the most, aesthetically. Looks are certainly important, but there are other factors that should not be overlooked when deciding which one may be the best for you.
In this article we will discuss several aspects that one should take into account before handing over the credit card. Admittedly, there are many topics we will not cover for the sake of keeping the article readable and simple. Please understand that each individual animal may have its own personality and buck the trend entirely as well.
Today we will take a look at 10 of the most commonly available snakes in the pet trade. It should be noted that, when grouping snakes of multiple varieties together, there is an ample amount of wiggle room and subjectivity. My OPINIONS are the result of personal experience only, and though debatable, should be considered as “approximately” correct. Please don’t take it personally if I’ve rated your favorite snake toward the bottom of any certain category, as ALL of the snakes we look at today can make excellent pets for the right person.
The categories we look at today, will be hardiness, temperament, cost, feeding issues, breeding success, variety of colors, and size. Some of these factors, (i.e. cost and size) may be very important to you, while others (breeding success and color morphs) may not matter at all, so you are welcome and encouraged to add or subtract points based on those components that matter to you personally.
First, lets give some detail to each of these categories to help you understand how they might apply to your purchase.
Hardiness – This topic has to do with how healthy your snake is likely to be so long as you provide it with all necessary husbandry requirements and care it needs. It may also be an indicator of how likely your pet may be to survive if you happen to drop the ball at some time. Simply put, some snakes are easier to take care of, and can handle wider swings of consistency than others. If you worry that you may not be able to provide optimal care for your new pet, both you and the snake would be better off if the purchase is not made. However, a hardy pet will be more likely to survive, should you temporarily lose focus.
Temperament – In short, some snake species are quite docile, while others can be exceptionally nervous and shy. Regular handling of your pet will likely help it become “tamer”, but be aware that during this transition, you may need to be prepared for the occasional attempt to escape, bite, musk or even poop while being held. If you wish to avoid these experiences, your odds will improve with a more laid back species.
Cost – Depending on the species, gender, color and age of your pet, you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $100 for regularly available specimens of the snakes we have highlighted. For less common morphs, you can pay a great deal more!!! Please be aware that this is the cost of the snake only! Be prepared to spend more on an appropriate cage, bedding, heat source and place to hide etc. Some snake do require larger cages than others adding expense to your pet purchase.
Feeding issues – This category can be looked at in several different ways. Your snake may be prone to go off feed every once in a while making it very difficult to get it to start eating again. Perhaps you decide on a Garter Snake, and must resort to feeding it fish. Or maybe you have that great eater, that assumes you want to feed it every time you open his cage and comes out mouth open and ready to bite whatever it sees first!! Most of these issues can be dealt with, but should be a consideration for a new snake owner.
Breeding success – Most of us buy a pet because we like it and want to take care of it, but some of us have hopes to produce our own at some point down the road. Breeding snakes can be a trial if you have King snakes that would rather eat each other than mate. Perhaps you have snakes that simply don’t express interest in one another, or maybe you’ve successfully bred them, they’ve laid eggs that have hatched, but now the babies refuse to eat. If you plan to try breeding for the first time, it might save you some grief by starting with any easy one.
Variety of colors – This one is pretty self-explanatory, but you are more likely to find a rainbow of colors and patterns amongst Corn Snakes and Ball Pythons than you are with aMountain King or a Garter. This can also come in to play if you plan to breed your snakes down the road.
Size – There is no good size or bad size of snake, just make sure to purchase one that will fit your preference as an adult. For the purpose of the spreadsheet below, a “1” indicates the smallest snake, and a “10” represents the largest.
Rating system – We will be looking at 10 families of snakes, and 7 purchasing factors. Each snake will be rated 1 – 10 amongst its peers in each category. For all factors, a “1” will be given to the snake with the most “appealing” trait, while a “10” will be given to the animal with the least desirable tendency. There is a sum of all scores in the last column. The snake with the lowest total score would, all things being considered, make a better first snake, than the snake with the highest score.
Boa Constrictor :
The Red Tail Boa is certainly one of the most common snakes in the pet trade, but they are also one of the most commonly gotten rid of. They are attractive enough, and make a fun show-piece, but ultimately get much larger (in excess of 10 feet) than most people are comfortable with long-term. Add to this, that they are a tropical species requiring high humidity and temperatures that are difficult to duplicate in captivity, and it’s easy to make the case that these snakes are better left to those that have at least moderate reptile experience. They certainly can still make a great first snake, however, for those resolved to give it proper care and attention.
As pretty as they are, these snakes can still be a challenge to a novice snake keeper. As mountain dwellers, they prefer cooler temperatures than many of their close relatives. Babies can be very difficult to get eating, and even adults may occasionally become problem feeders. That said, they still tolerate some handling and are a good size to work with. So long as you are confident in be able to meet its needs, a Mountain Kingsnake can be a very rewarding pet.
Though they live at lower elevations, Gray-bands, like Mountain Kings, are notoriously poor feeders as babies, and may often die before eating. It is best to pay a little extra, and buy one that has already been eating regularly. They come in a variety of patterns and their buggy eyes give them a unique personality for the moderately experienced snake keeper.
Milk Snake :
Milk snakes come in a wide variety of colors and sizes. They can make great pets, but it should be noted that they are commonly more shy than King snakes, and especially as babies, will typically be more prone to musk or bite when being held.
These snakes are amongst my personal favorite! They are relatively small, but have as much or more personality than any other snake I have ever seen. Though they are rarely defensive, they are masters at bluffing, and will sometimes hiss loudly, hood up almost cobra like, and even play dead if threatened. These behaviors are rather uncommon in captive conditions, but if it happens, don’t let them fool you!
Bulls and Gopher snakes are some of the hardiest snakes on the market, and they rarely have feeding issues. Some varieties, can however get a little on the large side, may exhibit some aggressive behavior, and will eat much more than most pet snakes.
Ball Pythons make some of the best pet snakes out there! They come in as many different patterns as you can imagine. Normal Ball Pythons can be found for around $50, but it is not uncommon to find rarer color schemes upwards of $10,000 and higher! They stay relatively small for a Python (5 feet), are durable and calm for handling by even the inexperienced person, and are fairly hardy and easy to breed.
Common King Snake
There are multiple subspecies of common kingsnakes (California, Mexican Black, Desert, Speckled, Brooks etc. etc.) and many different morphs of each. Common Kings attain a manageable size, are hardy, and eat well. They are extremely common in the pet trade as well, and most of those available are captive bred. All things considered, this is one of the best starter snakes on the market.
Garter Snake :
Do Snakes Make Good Pets For Children?
The answer really depends on the following three things:
What kind of pet your child wants
The type of relationship your child wants with their pet (obviously a pet snake isn't going to welcome you home every day with a warm greeting)
The species of snake
There are certainly a lot of perks to keeping a pet snake for adults and children alike - firstly, snake keeping is not time consuming - in fact the species listed in this article require very little fuss providing their initial set up is correct.
Garter Snakes are one of the most common snakes in the U.S. and are often kept as pets. Though they are typically inexpensive ad hardy, Garters can have the tendency to musk more often than most pet snakes. They also tend to do better on a diet of fish, which may make feeding a bit more problematic.
Corn Snake :
Cheap, hardy, common, readily available as captive bred, good eaters and pretty to boot. A well started (already eating readily) Corn snake is hard to beat for the novice snake keeper. These snakes come in more colors than anything else on the market and can make for exciting breeding projects as well!
Welcome to the exciting world of snake ownership! Keeping snakes as pets requires an additional amount of care and consideration. If you bring a snake home, be prepared to be confronted by family members and friends that do not care as much for snakes as you do. It is important to show understanding to their preferences and try to educate them. It is NEVER a good idea to tease, chase, or surprise anyone with your pet snake. Snakes are not meant to be prank material, and treating them as such, is a good way to end up with an injured or dead pet, and costly therapy bills for the one exposed to the traumatic event. Please exercise common sense and responsibility when introducing others to your pet.
We hope that this blog has been informative and useful. We openly admit that while trying to be completely objective, our own opinions and preferences have likely bled into the data. That said, if it were entirely up to me, the Hognose would have placed much higher, and the Garter much lower, but the math simply went in favor of the Garter.While we concentrated today on some of the best pet snakes, it is also important to recognize that there are some species that make VERY poor pets. Please consult with a snake expert prior to any purchase to avoid costly mistakes and bad experiences.
Keeping pet snakes, can be a very rewarding hobby, and an extremely educational experience. I learned many fascinating things while keeping snakes, that I never learned from reading the countless books I had my nose in as a kid. Snakes are one of the easiest pets to keep, yet can still be as stimulating as a bird, cat or fish.
If you are fellow snake keeper, we would love to hear what your first pet snake was, and what you would have done differently, given the chance. If you are thinking about buying your first pet snake, please share the experience with us!
Remember to “follow us” via the link at the top of the page. You can also connect with us via facebook by typing in “Snakebuddies”, or you can find us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SnakeBuddies
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Other and recommended websites :
- Wiki how : www.wikihow.com/Choose-Your-First-Pet-Snake
- Why snake make great pet ? www.pets4homes.co.uk/pet-advice/why-snakes-make-great-pets
Snakes : Introduction
Snakes Species ( Divided as groups due to Its unique property ) :