Beginner’s Guide to Pet Snakes

Do snakes make good pets? Yes, they do! There are many species of snakes kept by reptile enthusiasts, from docile corn snakes to sizable ball pythons. Like many animals, a snake can become comfortable around humans if you take the time to handle it and learn how to best care for your new pet. If you are considering getting a snake, it is important to first do some research so that you understand what your pet needs in terms of a habitat and nutrients. You’ll also want to learn about different snake species, their temperament, and how large they will become as adults.

Choosing the Right Species

Before choosing a new pet, know that getting a snake is a long-term commitment. Many species of snakes can live more than 20 years. If you are completely new to snake care, you’ll want to start with a beginner snake. These include snakes that are reasonably-sized, docile, and easy to care for. Some of the best species for beginners include corn snakes, ball pythons, and king and milk snakes.

As a beginner, there are also snakes that you want to avoid. This includes large constricting snakes, snakes that are venomous, or any snake that has challenging care requirements. Some snake species to avoid as a beginner include boa constrictors, tree boas or pythons, Burmese pythons, green snakes, and water snakes. Also avoid snakes that could pose serious danger, such as anacondas and reticulated pythons.

Caring for a Pet Snake

Preparing to bring a new pet snake home should include building the perfect environment. First, you will need a terrarium large enough to house the snake you are planning on purchasing. For the average beginner, a 20-gallon terrarium may be sufficient. However, as the snake grows know that you may need to upgrade to a larger terrarium. If you are planning on getting more than one snake, house them separately.

The top of the terrarium should have a lid with a latch to prevent the snake from getting out. The lid should be screened to allow for proper ventilation. At the bottom of the terrarium put a layer of bedding that the snake can use to burrow into. A great choice is aspen shavings as they are both natural and odorless. You will need to change the bedding on a regular basis.

Proper climate control is essential for pet snakes. Snakes are cold-blooded and require a heating source to regulate their body temperature. Without a source of heat, snakes suffer from digestion problems. Overhead heat bulks and under-tank heating pads work well to rise the temperature inside a terrarium. Keep a thermostat in the tank to monitor the temperature. Also make sure that the snake gets an average of 10 hours of daylight.

Where to Find a Pet Snake

If you think you’re prepared for a pet snake, you’ll need to locate a reputable seller in your area. There are many safe and honest breeders who will sell you a snake that has been well cared for. You can also find pet snakes at most pet shops. Ideally, you want to buy your snake locally so that you can see it in person before buying.


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