Getting your first snake as a pet requires special attention and devotion to taking care of something which may make other people feel a bit uncomfortable. Some questions to as yourself would be if family members or children will be okay with having a pet snake in the household, especially if you take it out of its special enclosure. Or if a snake is allowed as a pet in the location you live (some apartments or landlords do not tolerate them). If the answer is yes to all of these, getting a snake as a pet can be a unique and rewarding experience. Snakes are known for being very low-maintenance, quiet, and relatively affordable pets to own.
Snakes are carnivorous animals that eat things whole. If should not bother you to feed your pet snake possibly live mice, rats, birds or other small animals. If you are okay with this, and do not mind handling a snake outside of its enclosure, you would make a prime candidate as a snake owner. If you are unsure of these things there are many places where you may get to handle a snake to see how you feel; such as the zoo, certain pet-stores, snake enthusiast or meetup events, as well as certain theme parks which may allow you to handle them for photo opportunities.
Many of us, who currently have a pet snake, often forget how easy it is to keep them as pets. Once you set up everything (their enclosure, their food supply, their heat source), snakes tend to be very hands-off animals. While it is recommended you have regular “handling time” of your pet snake, snakes usually do not mind being alone like most other reptiles. I was first introduced to a snake ownership when I was a kid, while visiting Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando, Florida. Some guy had his 20 foot python slithering around the park, and instead of people being scared or afraid of it, there was a large crowd marveling such a beautiful (and large) creature. Children were petting it, adults were asking questions about it, and the whole time the snake was just slowly slithering along as not to scare anyone. The owner explained to everyone how he had to keep it in a huge cage and getting it upstairs was his only complaint, but that it was a relatively easy animal to take care of. It was a very cool experience for such an urban park, and really made me reconsider maybe owning a snake one day.
While it is not advised to start out with a snake that will grow larger than your living room, there are plenty of other docile kinds, which are great beginner snake breeds. Many times people searching for information on how to care for a snake may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available online. While each snake may have different optimal humidity and temperature requirements, snakes in general usually fare pretty well as long as you provide them a heat source. They are adapted to regulating their own temperature very well.
In this overview guide we will cover the basics of what is needed to properly own a pet snake.
Before you get started you should decide on what kind of snake you’d like to have. Size should be the biggest factor here as we do not recommend getting a venomous or exotic snake for a first-time owner. Some common popular “beginner” snakes, which have easy-going temperaments, are Ball Pythons, Corn Snakes, and Kingsnakes. We will cover many of the popular snake breeds in the “Types of Snakes” section.
Once you’ve decided on what snake you like and would like to look at, next comes where you’ll be able to see or purchase such a snake. This is probably going to be your most difficult step in snake ownership. Your best option (on price and easiness) would be to buy your snake online. Usually they will ship as a baby and therefore be easier to handle. If you decide on getting an adult snake, or prefer to purchase it in person, your best bet would be through some local specialty pet store. Often times there will also be local snake owners who may breed certain kinds of snakes and have a local presence online or on Craigslist. The last and least reliable method would be to find a snake breeder through your local vet.
Once you have decided on the type of snake you’d like to own, and figured out where to purchase it, next comes gathering the requirements to keep it in your home. The goal here is to provide everything the snake will need to thrive on its own, and stay nice and happy.