How To Choose The Best Pet Snake ?

Snakes fascinate, amaze and, for some, frighten. They are mostly unknown to the general public. For many, a snake is vicious, aggressive and slimy. Movies or cartoons do not help to improve their image. However, some enthusiasts practice an activity that would give some a nervous breakdown: Terrariophily.

It is the passion of reptiles that goes as far as having them at home. It can be lizards, turtles, and of course, snakes.

It is the snake that we will talk about in this article. There are many species of snakes that you can have in your home, and it would take too long to summarize them all in one article. That’s why we’re going to talk about the most common ones and the ones that are most accessible for beginners.

The simplest, easiest, and most common snakes pet are ;

  • The Corn Snake
  • Ball Python
  • California Kingsnake
  • Boa Constrictor

1. Corn Snake | Pantherophis guttatus

The Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus) is a snake of the Colubridae family. It is native to North America. It is found in the wild in the southeastern United States :

  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • Louisiana
  • Virginia

This diurnal snake measures from 1m22 for the smallest males to 1m83 for the largest females. Its diameter is however quite small. It lives on average between 15 and 20 years. It is found today in various colors, but its natural color is orange, with dark red spots surrounded by black.

This small snake is certainly the most recommended snake for a beginner. It is rather active, but although there is no such thing as zero risk in snakes, this species rarely bites, except in case of intense stress, and even in case of bite, the pain is not really severe. Moreover, this snake does not require very strict living conditions, in terms of humidity and warmth. As far as food is concerned, mice are sufficient (even frozen).

Basically, the Corn Snake is a great choice to start as a pet because;

  • Small and thin
  • Not aggressive
  • It does not require special living condition

2. California Kingsnake | Lampropeltis getula californiae

This snake is found in the wild in the southwestern United States, including;

  • Oregon
  • Western Nevada
  • Southern Utah
  • Western Arizona
  • California

This snake measures 1m20 and 1m30, going up to 1m50 for the biggest specimens. Like the corn snake, the California king snake has a rather small body diameter. This species has a lifespan of about 15 years.

In the wild, this snake is spotted with a white stripe, then a black stripe, all along its body. There are also varieties with a dominant black or white stripe.

Beginners can own this snake, but need to be well informed. Like many snakes, it is a rather lively snake and also rather shy. But unlike the king python, the Kingsnake is quicker to defend itself by trying to impress, i.e. by hissing and kicking. With this species, the risk of being bitten is a bit higher.

While conditions such as temperature and humidity are fairly simple to set up for this species, the terrarium in which it lives will be a little less so. Since the California Kingsnake is a semi-arboreal species, it will be necessary to prepare its habitat accordingly. Even if this snake is ophiophagous in the wild, it will feed on other snakes, including specimens of its own species; it accepts mice without any problem when it lives in captivity.

3. Ball Python | Python regius

The Ball python (Python regius) is a snake of the family Pythonidae (pythons). This species is native to Africa and is found in the wild in;

  • Senegal 🇸🇳
  • Togo 🇹🇬
  • Ghana 🇬🇭
  • Ivory Coast 🇨🇮
  • Guinea 🇬🇳
  • Sierra Leone 🇸🇱

The royal python is a nocturnal snake. It measures on average from 1m20 for the males to 1m40 for the females. Unlike the corn snake, its body is quite thick. This species generally lives between 15 and 30 years. The royal python has also been the subject of many “manipulations” to create different varieties of colors. Its natural color is brown on its back, with small black spots and a black line running down its spine. As you can see, its colors are perfect for camouflaging in its natural environment.

The royal python is a shy and timid snake, so it is recommended for beginners. It is called royal python because it curls up and hides its head in the middle of its body when it feels threatened. It is therefore a snake whose aggressiveness is close to zero (even if I remind you that zero risk never exists).

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The royal python does not need a complicated environment either. Unfortunately, with its night time activity and very quiet behavior, you will see it move very little. Another disadvantage is that even though it will feed on mice when it is young, as an adult you will have to feed it a raccoon, which can be a daunting experience.

4. Boa constrictor | Common Boa

The boa constrictor is a snake of the Boidae family. It is one of the largest snakes in the world. This species is present in South America;

  • Argentina 🇦🇷
  • Mexico 🇲🇽
  • West Indies 🇦🇬

This snake measures from 2m50 for males to 3m20 for females, weighing 10 to 15kg. There is also a subspecies, the Boa imperator, which is the smallest subspecies of boa, not exceeding 2m40. The boa constrictor can live from 20 to 40 years.

Unlike many other snakes, the boa constrictor has not been “manipulated” to create new color varieties, although there are a few. Its natural color is light brown, mottled with darker brown. Its tail is often darker than its body, which is perfect for camouflage in the wild.

We are moving into a higher category than the snakes seen previously; it is not recommended for beginners. One must be well informed and prepared.

Although not aggressive, the boa constrictor will not hesitate to bite to defend itself. And as you can imagine, with such a large size, the bite is very painful.

The necessary temperature and humidity parameters are not difficult to obtain, the terrarium will need to be of a substantial size to accommodate this large snake, so you will need the corresponding space to place a terrarium of this size in your home.

Feeding the boa constrictor can also be daunting. Because of its size, mice are obviously not enough. Instead, a rabbit or guinea pig should be given to it.

You have now learned about four species of snakes that are very common in the terrarium world. Whether they attract you or not, whether they scare you or not, this article will have made you realize that snakes are not as “nasty” as movies or cartoons would have us believe.

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