How Big Do Ringneck Snakes Get?

Ringneck snakes are a small species of snake that do not grow particularly big. Adults can reach around ten inches at a maximum and are quite slender.




In the wild, the ringneck snake is rarely seen because of their secretive nature. However, this has not stopped pet owners from domesticated the species, and many people successfully keep them as pets.

Of course, much like any other animal, pet owners are keen to know how large these snakes can grow as this can have a bearing on where they live and how you would care for them.

In this post, we will be looking at how big the ringneck snake gets as well as giving you some important information on how to keep them according to their size.


How Big Do Ringneck Snakes get?


When they hatch from their eggs after 45 to 60 days, the babies usually start off being just 3 inches in length, but some may be slightly larger at around 6 inches.

The record for the largest ringneck snake ever noted was an incredible 18.9 inches long – that’s almost half a meter! However, it is uncommon for this species to grow that large, and this is certainly something of an anomaly.

Usually, a fully-grown adult ringneck snake would be no bigger than 10 inches at the most, although some may not grow much bigger than 6 inches. Much like humans, who all grow to different heights, the size of the snake will depend on the individual, its health, and lifestyle.

That being said, there are some sub-species of ringneck snakes that average a little longer, with a few being closer to the 15-inch mark. The younger snakes in these sub-species maybe around 6 to 8 inches. In total, there are 12 subspecies of the ringneck snake in total.

The body of these snakes is usually very slim, and their small size is one of the most attractive features about them. Many would compare them to being the thickness of a pencil, and this means that when compared to other snake species, they would get no bigger than a baby.

Many people think of pet snakes as being huge boas or other similarly large species that require a huge tank and a vast amount of space.

In contrast, the tiny ringneck snake can often be seen wrapped around your hand or even just one finger – many people would argue that they are incredibly cute.


Get To Know The Ringneck Snake


Before we go on to look at the living conditions that this type of snake requires, it is important to get to know a little bit about these fascinating creatures.

The ringneck snake is found in the wild across North America and is one of the non-venomous species, at least, not to humans. They get their name from the distinctive ring around their neck which is often yellow in color but might also appear orange or cream, depending on the snake.

One of the most incredible things about these snakes is that they boast some beautiful patterns and colors and for snake enthusiasts, this is extremely exciting. In fact, their stunning appearance is one of the main reasons that people will choose to adopt this type of snake.

You will find ringneck snakes with striking colors that range from brown or grey to red and orange; each snake is unique.

They are quite placid snakes and are not known to show aggression to their owners. Although, as with any animal, there is always a chance of them lashing out if they feel threatened. As we mentioned, however, the ringneck snake is not poisonous to humans, and whilst a bite may result in a stinging sensation, no damage will be done. Furthermore, the ringneck snake’s teeth are set closer to the back of the mouth, so when they attempt to bite, they are often unsuccessful.


What Size Tank Do Ringneck Snakes Need?


Understanding the size of these snakes will give you a far clearer idea of the type of tank that they require. Whilst they are small creatures, they will need enough room to live comfortably – after all, when they live in the wild, they have limitless space, and mimicking this habitat as best as you can is essential for a healthy and happy snake.

The recommended smallest size tank for a ringneck snake is 10 gallons although some experts would advise that going up to 20 gallons is not a bad idea. This will give the snake enough room to feel comfortable and safe


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Your tank should also feature a mesh top which will prevent the snake from escaping. If you keep larger snakes, it may be obvious where they have slithered off to should they escape, but due to the smaller size of the ringneck snake, they may easily become lost.

However, the size of the tank is not the only thing to consider when caring for your ringneck snake and making sure that he has a happy home. The conditions inside the tank are just as important and proving a 3-inch layer of soil, cypress mulch or peat is essential. In addition to this, you should also make sure that there is a layer of bark, and this mixture should be stirred once a week.

Loosening the base layer of the tank will allow the snake to burrow much more easily and small snakes like this will have a natural instinct to burrow. This is largely down to keep cool, since, in the wild, they may be exposed to hot temperatures in the woodlands where they live. Furthermore, it would keep them safe from any potential predators. It is important to keep in mind that just because an animal has been bred in captivity, their instincts cannot be as easily removed.

You might also think about giving your snake somewhere to climb. The ringneck snake is not overly associated with the ability to climb, but this isn’t to say that they do not do it at all. If given some small vines and plants in the tank, you snake may use these to explore.

We have touched on mimicking the snake’s natural habitat, and another important factor in this is to ensure that the tank is at the right temperature. During the day, you will want the tank to sit between 70 and 75ºf, and this can be lowered by around ten degrees during the night.


What Can I Feed My Ringneck Snake?


When most people picture a pet snake, they will think of a larger species that will eat bigger prey such as mice, birds, and other larger animals. However, when we look at the ringneck snake and its tiny body, it is not difficult to see that these foods would be far too big for him to handle.

The food that you offer your ringneck snake should be appropriate for his size. In the wild, these tiny snakes usually prey on things like earthworms, slugs, and other small insects. These are widely available in pet stores. However, the sub-species of the ringneck snake will depend on their diet, and some will enjoy crickets and other slightly larger insects.




Ringneck snakes are native to North America and can be found in countries like Canada, the USA, and Mexico. There are a variety of sub-species, and this does have a bearing on the overall size of the snake. In the main, these smaller creatures usually make their way to around 10 inches as an adult, but this can vary greatly depending on the sub-species.

The record for the largest ringneck snake was more than 18 inches, but when they are born, these snakes measure just 3 inches in length and never get much thicker than a pencil.

Due to their small size, owners must consider the size of the tank, and in most cases, something around 10 gallons would be sufficient. However, going up to 20 gallons would provide the snake with that extra space, she needs to be comfortable.



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