Buying a snake is like buying any other pet: you should make sure you can handle the responsibility and provide the right care. Changing your mind at a later stage causes problems as many sanctuaries will be unable to take in your snake and turning it loose is not an option. Also, check laws in your city as some species (very large or venomous) are restricted in certain cities.
How Big Will Your Snake Get?
You need to keep in mind the size that the fully grown snake will reach, and how much space you have available. Determine if the particular danger, low or high, presented by the snake is something you can handle. If you are choosing a large snake, you may need some help to handle the snake when you clean the cage or fill the water bowl. Snakes can have a long life span, up to twenty years sometimes, so think through the length of commitment you have to offer the snake.
What Equipment Do You Need?
How to Choose a Pet Snake
The snake you choose should look healthy, with good skin condition and bright eyes. It should not be too thin or too fat. Buy your snake from a reputable breeder; it is not recommended you pick a wild snake. Familiarize yourself with the recommended diet of the snake and check that it is eating pre-killed food, as they do not often like to change from live food to pre-killed. Since determining a snake’s sex can be challenging, a vet or an expert will be able to tell you.
A pet snake is not a good idea if you have young children in the house or someone with a compromised immune system since snakes carry a small risk of salmonella.
Best Snakes for Beginners
Small colubrids, like corn snakes, milk snakes, rat snakes, gopher snakes and king snakes, are recommended as pets for beginners. Along with garter snakes and ribbon snakes, these are easy to care for, can handle wider range of temperatures, and require less space.
Snakes for Intermediate Keepers
Once you are accustomed to feeding schedules and escape proof enclosures, you may be ready for an intermediate snake. Ball pythons, Red tailed boas, Rosy Boas and Sand boas require more care and expense. They can become stressed more easily. Some are finicky eaters. Because these snakes will get up to 6 feet, you will need at least a 4ft enclosure. These snakes can live 20 or more years.
Snakes for Experts and Zoos
These snakes require considerable experience, advanced enclosures, permits and state inspections, and more than one keeper. At the expert level we include all venomous snakes and reptiles of concern.
What You Need To Know:
- The type of snake that suits your level of experience, and its fully- grown size.
- That snake’s diet and ambient requirements.
- Does the law allow you to have this snake?
- Does the snake present any danger or health risk to your family?
- Can you afford to care for the snake properly, and are you willing to keep it for its life span?