Pets & Animals

What are some good pet snakes?

There are plenty of reasons why you’re probably considering getting a pet snake. Snakes are impressively low-maintenance (especially when compared to owning a dog or cat); they don’t need to be fed often; don’t need constant attention; nor do they take up much room. But with thousands of species on the planet, trying to narrow down a species to choose can be a challenging task. Here are some great pet snakes that have all the best qualities reptiles have to offer.

5 Good Pet Snake Options

Corn Snake

The undisputed easiest snake to care for, corn snakes are always recommended for beginners. They have slender bodies and are moderate and length, making them a very reasonable size that’s affordable to house and easy to pick up and handle. If size is a concern, opt for the males of the species which are much smaller than the females (3-4 feet maximum length compared to 5 feet!). 

In terms of actual care, corn snakes could not be any more straightforward. Found throughout the North American continent, they like moderate temperatures ranging from the mid-eighties to the mid-seventies. These hearty little snakes are very adaptable and forgiving of owners who don’t get the temperatures correct the first time. They’re less hearty, however, in terms of disposition. Although docile and non-aggressive, they can be timid and easily unnerved. Allow your new corn snake a few days to get acclimated before handling up to once per day.

Ball Python

Although corn snakes are certainly the easiest, ball pythons are without a doubt the fan favorites. Just as sweet and docile and temperament as corns, ball pythons offer a more substantial handling experience. These medium-bodied snakes have a delightful weightiness to them and are fun to hold. Better still, they’re one of the more social snake species and the few that are comfortable with daily handling.

One of the main appeals of this species however is the wide availability of morphs. One of the longest-running snakes sold by breeders, ball pythons boast the greatest number of morphs of any other snake. There are thousands to choose from with differences in color and pattern.

Western Hognose

The first thing that usually comes to mind when people see a Western hognose snake for the first time is “cute”. Its unique, upturned snout is fine-tuned for burrowing in the dry sands of southwestern North America as well as melting hearts. But these snakes aren’t just all about looks, they also have winning personalities that make them a great choice for beginners. 

Naturally docile with a tendency to be rather timid, the hognose is not aggressive at all. In fact, this species is infamous for its over-the-top act of playing dead to convince a potential threat or predator to go away. Although a hognose is quite tame, they are not the friendliest species and are sensitive to handling. Limit your interaction to a few short minutes no more than a few times a week. 

Kenyan Sand Boa

Snakes that hail from hot and dry places are usually the easiest to care for since there’s no fiddling with humidity. The Africa-native Kenyan sand boa is one such species and a wonderful option for beginners. They’re completely terrestrial snakes and don’t climb at all, eliminating the need for any such decor. Because they spend all of their time on the ground, it’s recommended to use an undertank source of heat. 

Personality-wise, Kenyan sand boas have a docile and even temperament. They are very well-behaved and are comfortable with frequent handling in a way that rivals the ball python. Unlike the ball python, they’re considerably smaller with the females of the species reaching a maximum length of around thirty inches (the males are positively tiny). Kenyan sand boas are easy to house in any situation. 

Fans also appreciate their unique appearance in addition to their manageable size. Featuring a giraffe-like pattern, they make great show animals that are sure to wow your guests, when they’re not burrowing that is. However, the patient observer will find they do make regular appearances to explore their territory.

California Kingsnake

For the beginner snake owner looking for a bit of a challenge. The kingsnake is slightly smaller than the corn and ball python and has a thin body that keeps things manageable. Their iconic appearance might make them look ferocious and exotic, but these guys are docile and agreeable–once they’ve been properly tamed, that is. It may take some time for your kingsnake to warm up (they can be feisty at first), but with regular handling, they’ll become sweet and well-behaved pets.

You can find these and other great snakes for sale in most places where reptiles are sold. For the best selection and pricing, look to online reptile shops like XYZReptiles.com.

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