Are you considering having snakes as pets? Well, having a pet snake is very different from having a pet dog or a pet rabbit.
Snakes will not come to greet you on the door nor will they make good playmates. But they do make very interesting and hassle-free pets if you choose the right snake as a pet.
Here is a list of great beginner pet snakes to help you choose one for your home.
Snakes You Can Have as Pets
Before you head out to the nearest pet store to buy a snake, there are few things that you will need to learn about snakes like snake care, what do snakes eat and tips and tricks of raising a snake.
Interesting facts about snakes for you:
- There are more than 3000 species of snakes.
- 600 species are venomous.
- Most snakes live for more than 20 years.
- Snakes shed their skin once a month.
- All snakes kill their prey by either biting, swallowing whole or by suffocating them.
- Baby snakes eat once or twice a week and adult snakes require feeding just 3-4 times in a month.
- Snakes can lower their metabolic rate by up to 72% and hence can go without eating for long periods.
Feeding pet snakes is actually quite a simple and inexpensive affair. Most snakes feed on small mice or rats, insects, frogs, lizards, birds and fish. Since their metabolism is very slow they require very infrequent feeding.
Never feed a snake a live rodent. The snake might get injured in the process. Always feed frozen dead animals to your pet snake.
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Snakes require minimum amount of care. Here are a few things that you will require if you intend to keep snakes as pets.
- A small enclosure depending upon the size of your snake. Make sure that the enclosure is escape proof.
- A water bowl in which your snake can immerse itself. The bowl should be heavy so that the snake does not overturn it.
- A heater that will heat a part of the enclosure.
Snakes are cold blooded and require some heating mechanism to thermo regulate. The heat source will also help in their digestion.
- A substrate like reptile carpet, mulch or newspaper to keep inside the enclosure.
Apart from the above expenses the main expense is the cost of the snake. So, how much does a pet snake cost? The price of a snake ranges from $15 to $200 depending upon the species of the snake.
Next you must be wondering where can i get a pet snake from. Well, you can buy a snake from a pet store, online dealers or from a reptile show. Generally, snakes at reptile shows cost less than those available in reptile stores.
Now, comes choosing the best snake for your home. For first time snake buyers it is best to buy snakes that stay little so that you can handle them easily. Choose snakes that are friendly or at least docile and definitely non-venomous.
Types of Pet Snakes
Here is a list of small and large snakes that you can choose from:
- Ball pythons are one the most popular pet snakes these days.
- They are called ball python because they can roll themselves in a ball.
- They can grow up to 5 feet and live for up to 30 years.
- Docile and shy by nature. Not very active.
- Require humidity to grow well.
- Sometimes ball pythons can be fussy eaters. Consult a vet if the snake stops eating and looks ill or starts losing weight.
- Corn snakes are one of the best small pet snakes for beginners.
- Easy to handle.
- Can live for more than 20 years.
- Can grow from 2 to 5 feet.
- They enjoy hiding.
- Lack of humidity can pose shedding problems.
- Rosy Boa’s are best pet snakes for handling because of their small size. They grow up to just 4 feet in size.
- Can live for more than 25 years.
- Are escape artists.
- Live in dry climates and are excellent burrowers.
- Western hognose is one of the friendliest pet snakes.
- Average size is just 2 feet.
- Can live for more than 15 years.
- Need special lighting arrangement in the enclosure.
- Contact with their saliva can cause itching and swelling.
- Garter snake is considered one of the best pet snakes for kids because of its small size and calm nature.
- They grow up to just 3 feet in size.
- These snakes are very alert and active.
- Live up to 10 years.
- One of the best small snakes as pets.
- Called king snakes because they can kill and eat other snakes.
- Calm and not fussy eaters.
- You need to handle them regularly otherwise they can become a little nippy.
Snake bites from small, non-venomous snakes are not dangerous. Just wash the site with warm soapy water.
- Grow up to just 4 feet in size.
- Can grow up to 6 feet in size and can live up to 20 years.
- Should be housed alone. Known to eat its cage mate.
- Is active in nature and hence will require a large enclosure.
- Do not handle the snake soon after its meal time. It can regurgitate.
- Gopher snakes are heavy bodied and can grow up to 6 feet in size.
- They can live up to 30 years.
- Are loners by nature.
- Prefer birds and mammals as food.
- Can grow from 4 to 6 feet in size.
- Can live for more than 15 years.
- Require large enclosures because of their active nature.
Green Tree Python
- Green tree python is one of the large pet snakes.
- It can grow up to 7 feet in size.
- They are shy by nature.
- Can live up to 20 years.
The largest pet snake you can own is the Columbian boa constrictor. They can grow up to 10 feet in size and are docile by nature.
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Wrapping it up – Snakes as Pets
The above were some of the pet snake breeds from which you can choose. Each breed has its own feeding and habitat requirements. It is always better to start with a small, docile and light weight snake as a pet.
A question that is often asked is – do snakes make good pets? Well, it depends upon what you expect from a pet. Special features of snakes that make them a good pet are:
- They do not demand much of your time and attention.
- They are easy to take care and manage.
- They are fairly inexpensive to keep.
To have snakes as pets is a unique and rewarding experience. They might not become your friends but can be interesting and beautiful companions for many years.