Different Types Of Pet Snakes

14/03/2011 10:19

If you are one of those people in a minority, who adore the reptilian creature with its scaly body, you are in august company. Jim Morrison in his own words, always liked reptiles. Keeping a snake as a pet is not a choice that most people would make, but if you are thrilled by the idea of having snakes as pets, then you need to know which are the various types of snakes you can adopt as pets.

Pet Snakes: The Different Types

There are different types of snakes that have been tamed by people across the globe, but if you are a beginner where having a pet snake is concerned, then you need to know which are the best snakes to have as pets. In order to choose the best snakes for pets, there are several important criteria to keep in mind especially their adaptability to their surroundings, their average size as an adult, their feeding habits, their health and their behavior. Given below is a list of the best snakes as pets. Click on the pictures below to view the magnified images of the different types of pet snakes.

Corn Snakes Corn Snakes: The most popular snakes to have as pets are corn snakes. Corn snakes as pets are an excellent choice as they are easy to care for or handle. These snakes do not get large and are easy to tame. They are also relatively docile. Corn snakes are extremely popular due to their beautiful coloring. These snakes belong to the genus Elaphe and are one of the best snakes to keep as pets.
Garter Snakes Garter Snakes: Commonly referred to as garden snakes, garter snakes are favorites with several snake lovers because they are extremely safe to handle and are very small. Garter snakes as pets need a lot of compassion and tend to behave differently when being handled as compared to when left alone. Belonging to the genus Thamnophis, they are non-venomous and grow up to 2 feet in length. If you have garden snakes as pets, remember that they tend to prefer damp environments. They are widely known as the best snakes to have as pets. Read more on what do garden snakes eat?


King Snakes King Snakes: King snakes as pets are fairly docile and great chocies if you intend to breed them as they breed easily in captivity. The grow upto 6 - 7 feet in length. These snakes belong to the genus Lampropeltis, have a long lifespan and are cannibalistic, tending to eat snakes housed with them. They belong to a category of snakes called constrictors who strangle their prey in order to fed on them.


Milk Snakes Milk Snakes: Milk snakes are closely related to king snakes. They belong to the same genus Lampropeltis and have similar characteristics as king snakes. They breed well when they are in captivity and are one of the best snakes for pets since they are easy to handle, if this is done gently. Milk snakes are common in parts of Canada, South America and throughout the U.S. Milk snakes closely resemble the coral snakes which is one of the top 10 deadliest snakes.


Ball Pythons Ball Pythons: Ball pythons belong to the genus Python. When ball pythons are threatened, they turn themselves into a rolled up ball which is why they are called so. They are docile snakes and are therefore the best snakes as pets. If cared for properly, they are known to live up to 50 years. Ball pythons grow up to about 5 feet at a rate of 1 foot a year. They feed primarily on rodents.
Gopher Snakes Gopher Snakes: Gopher snakes belong to the genus Pituophis and are found largely in western U.S. They are constrictors and hibernate in the winters. They love exploring spaces and crevices and are slow-moving. They reach up to 6 feet in height. Their color ranges from cream-yellow to green-gray to tan. They are also found in colors like, black or brown with reddish blotches.

There are several other snakes that are not recommended as pets, regardless of whether you are a beginner or someone who has had many snakes as pets. Venomous and large snakes like anacondas and reticulated pythons are some of them. Also try and avoid snakes like boas, burmese pythons, tree boas and water snakes as pets.

Things to Keep in Mind While Choosing a Pet Snake

It may seem like an adventurous choice to make, but choosing a snake as a pet is an important decision that should be given due consideration. If you are enthusiastic about snakes as pets because it makes you stand apart in the crowd, then you are probably making a choice for all the wrong reasons. There are several facts about snakes to keep in mind before choosing one as a pet.

  • Make sure you are committed to your decision of having a snake as a pet. The life cycle of a snake is long and they are known to live for at least 15 - 20 years.
  • It is important to do your research about the kind of snake you want. There are several types of snakes that make excellent pets. It would also be a good idea to get to know their scientific names since common names may differ from store to store.
  • A snake demands a lot of attention and is also quite an investment. Be ready to take care of the expenses.
  • Do not opt for a wild snake as they are prone to diseases and are difficult to keep as pets. Instead ensure that the breeder is well-known and gives you a captive bred snake.
  • Ask your breeder to demonstrate feeding the snake once, as you have to ensure that it is used to eating pre-killed prey.
  • Get over your squeamishness where furry little rats are concerned and be prepared to freeze them for your pet and feed your snake.
  • Ensure that you have the vivarium/enclosure in place before getting the snake. The vivarium has to be large enough to accommodate the snake when it stretches to 2/3rd of its adult body height.
  • Snakes have somehow managed to channelize Houdini and are brilliant escape artists. Ensure that your snake's enclosure does not allow him to do so.
  • Please look for signs of ill health in your snake before buying it. The snake should not be too fat or too thin. It should not be shedding when you take it home. Ensure that it flicks its tongue at regular intervals.
  • Observe the snake. It will give you a good insight about the temperament of the snake.
  • And lastly check your city's rules and regulation to check for need of license, etc.

Pet Snake Care

You may not have your pet playing fetch or perking its ears and staring expectantly at the door as soon as you park your bike. You won't even have your pet enchanted by a ball of wool. But if you have decided that a snake is the best pet for you, well then they require the same amount of care as other pets.

  • It is preferable to feed your pet snake pre-killed prey. Giving him a live rodent may result in a wrestling match that can cause injuries to your pet. Also consider your convenience and the expense of breeding live animals as feed for your pet.
  • Snakes are incapable of regulating body temperature. It is essential to provide both warm and cool zones in the enclosure so that your snake remains comfortable.
  • It is always a good idea to get your pet checked for parasites before bringing him home. Always get your snake treated by a qualified vet in case you notice signs of illness.
  • Always keep clean water in the enclosure and ensure that it's at room temperature. Your snake will need water for drinking and soaking itself.
  • Please do not constantly keep handling your pet snake. Some species have been reported to get stressed.
  • Do not keep more than one snake in one enclosure. Snakes are cannibalistic and solitary reptiles.
  • Do not keep a snake as a pet in a house that has children who are under the age of 5.
  • Develop a routine for your snake whether this concerns the time you spend with it, or the cleaning of its enclosure.

Having snakes as pets, can probably alienate you from a lot of people, at least initially. Try and educate your friends and family about the good points of having snakes as pets (no more rats!) and if nothing works, tell them that you just want to be another Chandler, "If I'm gonna be an old, lonely man, I'm gonna need a thing, you know, a hook, like that guy on the subway who eats his own face. So, I figure I'll be crazy man with a snake, you know. Crazy snake man."

By Tulika Nair





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