Snakes are alluring, mysterious reptiles that have captured the human heart and imagination for millennia. These days, we have the capability to keep these serpentine friends happy and healthy in captivity and as pets, and many enthusiasts do so. However, newcomers to the reptile keeping hobby should still grasp some basic aspects of snake behavior and their needs. That means understanding what makes a snake a good pet, and which species to seek out as companions at all.
What Makes a Snake a Good Pet?
Yes, there are a variety of snakes that thrive in human captivity. However, not every serpent can call a human domicile its home. Some are best left to being handled by researchers and wildlife professionals alone. So, what makes a snake a good pet?
While some larger snakes do make good pets (such as the red-tailed boa), not every home is able to accommodate a reptile that reaches upwards of 10 feet. Fortunately, many snakes grow to a “sweet spot” of 3-5 feet. This is an excellent size for being kept in a manageable terrarium and can be accommodated in nearly every situation. Most commercially available food items for snakes such as frozen mice and rats are also most appropriate for this size.
Despite what many people believe, many snakes are completely non-aggressive and relaxed. Remember, most snakes would much rather chill and hide than waste energy confronting a potential threat. Because of this, many snakes wind up being tolerant, docile pets that have no issue being handled by you. Thankfully, many of these snakes are easily available through pet stores and a variety of independent breeders.
While many venomous snakes look gorgeous and certainly exude a cool factor, they don’t make the best pets. That stunning, iridescent viper would much rather be admired from a distance. Fortunately, there are many non-venomous snakes that are completely harmless.
Three Snakes That Make Good Pets
African House Snake
Native to sub-Saharan Africa, the African house snake (boaedon fuliginosus) is a harmless constrictor with a thin build that is known for living near human settlements. Being excellent at pest management, farmers typically welcome the presence of these snakes.
Growing to a moderate size of 2-4 feet long (with the females tending to be larger), these reptiles happen to make good pets for a variety of homes. While these snakes tend to prefer a slightly drier environment than many pet serpents, their care is fairly standard. When cared for properly, you can expect your African house snake to remain healthy and live a robust 15+ years.
Native to Central and West Africa, the ball python (python regius) prefers grasslands and forest to the drier and more open deserts. Also known as the royal python, these snakes are rumored to once be fashion accessories for the royalty of certain tribes. Their more common moniker – ball python – comes from their tendency to constrict into a tight “ball” when hanging onto an object such as a branch or arm.
With its famously excellent temperament and extreme variety of morphs, this snake makes for a very popular pet. While these snakes are known to swim and climb trees, they would prefer to rest in a hollowed-out log or the abandoned burrow of another animal.
The corn snake (pantherophis guttatus) is another reptile that has become popular in the pet trade due to the variety of cool morphs it can produce. With colors ranging from bright sunset orange to a light golden honey, there is bound to be at least one morph that catches your eye.
Native to the Southeastern US, they have adapted to a variety of environments. These snakes receive their name due to the “corn” like patterning and shape of its underbelly scales.
While these snakes are on the shy side (especially as hatchlings), they can certainly be socialized and raised to be docile, tolerant companions.
There are a variety of snakes that make wonderful, unique pets. However, whether you’re looking for a ball python or African house snake for sale, it is important to do your research and make sure that you have a good understanding of the basics regarding their care and behavior. Once you have a hang of it, however, you will be amazed at what you can do for your pet. Remember, it is always important to observe your snake and gain an understanding of what it’s trying to tell you.
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