Adopting a snake as a pet might not be for everyone, but perhaps it is for you. Maybe you’re the sort of person who finds charm in those inquisitive black eyes, who looks at the various colors and patterns of a snake’s scales and considers them fascinating and beautiful.
But would you ever dare own a snake? Could it really be that good an idea to bring this slithering reptile into your house, knowing that every time you come home they’ll be there waiting to greet you?
The short answer is yes!
If you’ve done your research and offer your snake an appropriate environment to thrive in, then there are snakes that are safe to keep at home.
But Wait! There’s More!
If you want the unabridged answer, then you need to know that bringing a pet snake home is an experience unlike any other, be it mammal or reptile.
Regardless of whether they’re born in the wild or bred in captivity, there is no such thing as a domesticated snake. Domestication is an evolutionary process that takes thousands of years to accomplish, and at the end of the day, snakes of all breeds are still wild animals.
The fact of the matter is that no matter how much love you give your snake, and no matter how much your snake appreciates you, as a snake owner there will always be precautions you need to take to safeguard you and your family.
Having said that, snakes have the potential to make fantastic pets. With proper care and the right amount of responsible handling, snakes can be tamed to oblige your affection. Not to mention they can be very educational, provide a fascinating, first-hand look at nature in action.
The Right Snake for You
So which breed of the snake will it be?
Below we offer a breakdown of several different snakes that are safe to have at home and the type of owner we recommend them to.
- Found throughout the eastern United States, corn snakes can be found living in dry, open areas where burrowing animals are plentiful. Tolerant of human presence, you may even find a corn snake hanging out on the outskirts of your home if you share their region of the country.
- Corn snakes can grow to be anywhere between two to three feet long, and range from orange, reddish-brown, and grey in color. With their checkered bellies and blotchy patterns, they are said to resemble Indian corn.
- A docile breed, corn snakes are great snakes for beginners. While corn snakes are big fans of hiding and resting, they are also skilled climbers and like to explore their habitats. If you’ve never fed a snake before and are nervous about what corn snakes will eat–don’t be. Corn snakes are non-fussy eaters and typically eat frozen-thawed rodents just fine.
- Native to central and west Africa, ball pythons are used in the hot and humid climates of the savannah. Ball pythons have a tendency to be shy but are generally open to the company of people.
- Full-grown ball pythons are on the smaller side, with females averaging three to five feet, and males reaching two to three feet long. A popular breed that does well in captivity, ball pythons have seemingly endless color and pattern possibilities and make for visually stunning pets.
- Whether you’re a seasoned snake expert or looking to become a first-time snake owner, the ball python is a fantastic choice for anyone searching for a lifelong reptile friend. Not only does the ball python have an easy, friendly temperament, but they can easily leave for thirty years or longer.
- The rosy boa can be found living throughout dry, arid climates around the southwestern United States, as well as parts of Mexico. While the rosy boa has been classified as endangered in the past, today it enjoys the classification of being a species of least concern.
- As one of the smallest boa constrictors, rosy boas rarely grow longer than three feet. A rosy boa’s colors can range anywhere from traditional brown tones, to brilliant shades of bright orange, with their trademark being their pale belly.
- Rosy boas can live up to thirty years in captivity and are another great choice for snake lovers who are in it for the long haul. Ironically, it’s this breed’s long lifespan, favorable personally and being small in size that once marked this species as endangered, as it was such a popular option within the reptile trading industry.
- In addition to living in its namesake state of California, the California Kingsnake can also be found in other western states like Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah, as well as Mexico. The California Kingsnake has a feisty personality, though with time is relatively easy to tame.
- This particular species lands on the smaller side of kingsnakes, growing anywhere between two to four feet long. Often appearing in a shade of black or brown with white rings up and down its body, the California Kingsnake can alternately have stripes that run lengthwise, from their heads to the tips of their tails.
- California Kingsnakes have an average lifespan of up to forty years. Plenty of time for this snake’s owner to acclimate to its varied sense of appetite, which includes birds and rodents, lizards and eggs, and even venomous snakes. While still considered a docile species, the California Kingsnake tends also to agitate easily and is best suited to owners not intimidated by a show of reptilian bravado.
Preparing for Your Snake
No matter which species you choose, you need to set your snake up for happy and healthy home life. Make sure to have an appropriately sized aquarium, bedding for your snake to burrow into, and heating elements to ensure your pet can regulate its temperature.
Learn what your snake’s food preferences are, and create a feeding schedule so you know how often your snake needs to be fed and to make sure your scaly friend is actually eating.
At the end of the day, it’s all about finding a snake that you feel comfortable with. And to be fair, you’ll want to create a comfortable environment that allows your new snake to also be comfortable with you.
Above all, don’t forget that most captive snakes can expect to live up to, and sometimes beyond thirty years. Not only will you be their caretaker and key to a happy, healthy life, but your snake will undoubtedly be with you through some of your own life-changing events.
Make sure you love and treat them accordingly.