Pet Snake

Pet Snakes

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Family: Ophidia
Suborder: Serpentes
Infraorders: Alethinophidia, Scolecophidia

Most people have varied pet interests, but employ safe and secure means to pet them. Some animals like dogs and cats are easy, but those wanting to own a pet snake are a breed of their own.

Snakes are a bit more difficult to handle than a dog or a cat for certain obvious reasons. One must have a full commitment towards the snakes in order to keep them healthy, because they have a unique lifestyle. It is not that it is impossible to handle a snake, but all you need to do is to do a good research before you get a snake as your beloved pet.

Snake Mythology

Snake Mythology
Blond grapevine nymphs with snake tails are celebrating the new wine. Side A from an Attic black-figure kylix, ca. 510 BC.

Blond grapevine nymphs with snake tails are celebrating the new wine. Side A from an Attic black-figure kylix, ca. 510 BC.

The snakes resemble lizards more closely than any other reptile found on earth. But what is curious is the fact that they might not have evolved from the group of legless lizards. In ancient Greek it is known that those who were suffering and the injured would seek the help of the God of medicine and healing, commonly known as Asklepios. Now, these sufferers would make some offerings and would wait until God would appear in their dreams or would send help in the form of his sacred servants-the snakes. Ancient writings all too blatantly suggest that the snake tongue had healing power. One touch of it cured the people of their sufferings, and the type of snakes that we are talking about here are the Aesculapian snake. The Romans, instead of bringing in the Greek healers to their temple, would rather get these snakes imported, and hence, even until today, the snakes stand as a symbol of physicians and veterinarians. Quite a popular symbol of the snake wrapped around Asklepio’s staff would link these creatures with the idea of healing and medical practices.

Choosing a Snake as a Pet – First Things First

Choosing the right kind of a snake is an arduous task and an important one. Firstly, always remember that the ones caught from the wild are difficult to tame are more likely to escape and cause havoc. They are not only unhygienic, but are unclean as well; hence, one might risk the fact of spreading some sort of disease in the house. What is important is that one must find a good breed of snake from a reputable breeder.

Another very important thing is that, you must prepare to commit yourself to your pet, because snakes are harmful, well, some are. So if not feed properly or treat them well, they might either escape captivity, or might instead, harm the owner. So it is also important to build a sturdy and rock solid tank devoid of any holes. They are adept at escaping through small places. Again, you need to find the right sort of food for your pet. The frozen foods which have already been killed is the best choice for the snakes and you must prepare to pack your freezer with such food so that you can supply ample amount of food to your pet in time.

Purchase a Home for Your Snake

Snake Home
Purchase a Home for Your Snake

Just like you would need a good, comfortable home for yourself, buy the right sort of home for your snake too. They need water, so fetch a water dish large enough to suit your snake, to allow it to soak its elegant body in some water whenever it desires. To keep this watering dish you would need a tank big enough to hold the dish and of course some cage lining and a heat source, because we all know that snakes need heat too. Snakes love to climb on to something, so a small log or something similar is ideal because it would want to slither around this log as a part of its movement and also use it as a hiding place. Sunlight is not what they want all the time. So a hiding place is a necessity. Thermometers would keep a check on the temperature, and finally, the cage must be two third the size of the snake itself. Make sure that a cage of such dimensions must fit somewhere in your house or else you might cramp the creature’s movements.

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Snakes to Avoid

People who are very newly interested in keeping a snake as a pet must and absolutely MUST avoid the idea of owning any type of snakes of the constricting sorts, or those which have venoms in them or snakes that require a lot of care. Here are the lists of some you WOULD NOT want to own:

  • Boa constrictors / red-tailed boas, which are not as big in length or size than many of the constricting snakes can prove more than a handful because of some of their habits.
  • Water Snakes
  • Tree Boas or pythons
  • Green snakes
  • Burmese pythons

Snakes Not Recommended As Pets At All

There is no way denying that snakes are harmless, because we all have seen Anaconda and it was not a very pretty picture that the filmmaker had painted. Jokes apart, there are some snakes that are potentially harmful, so here we list some that ARE NEVER TO BE TAMED:

  • Python Reticulatus
  • Venomous snakes of any form, shape and size
  • Anacondas, for obvious reasons

Beginner Snakes Recommended

These snakes, discussed below, are all fairly easy to care for, reasonably sized, and are quite submissive:

Important Points to Consider When Buying a Pet Snake

Selecting your Pet Snake

  • Snakes are to live much longer than most of the other pets. Some might live as long as about 20 years, and so, try and prepare yourself mentally and make you that are the only one who is responsible to provide it food, shelter and happiness for that long.
  • As already discussed, even though you might find it gross to store and freeze rodents or the like that form the food habit of your pet.
  • Snakes are really good at escaping and so it is important that you have an escape-proof tank and make sure that they do not have any gap or holes, failing which there is a high chance that you would not be able to see your pet ever again. Even the smallest of the gaps can turn up to be a great escape route.
  • Snakes that you breed in, if already habituated to captivity as always best because it is already in the habit of being in a certain type of situation. Snakes which have been caught from the wild, can be a also become difficult to maintain, because they will stress more and also carry parasites and diseases and they become very problematic when you try to tame them. So, there is no harm in knowing beforehand what the pet’s food habits are and how to handle it, because that will make it much easier to learn about these creatures than have been living in a completely different environment altogether.
  • Any wild animal would want to kill their prey as they have been habituated in such situation. This is where the captive bred comes handy, because they already know the taste of pre-killed prey. While adopting a Ball Python, that are usually known for their bad notoriety of feeding habits this is the best option to adopt.


The reason for discussing this point is for those times when you are in a dilemma. Nobody wants to feel neglected and when it comes to a pet, you cannot make any excuse to ignore them just because you do not feel like it. Condition your nature; this will solve a lot of problems. You have to prepare yourself to take care of these poor animals and provide a better shelter than what it already has. So what is important is that, you get some pet that is hardy and can sustain even when you temporarily neglect them. It is more likely that you will change your mind because of your love for your pet, and then you would not want to be responsible for your pet’s discomfort.

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Snakes are quite docile in nature, but some might get out of your hand when trying to tame it. Such circumstances, offers opportunities for the snake to bite you., but you should always prepare for their attempts to escape. In any case, to avoid any such situations, it is better that you opt for a much laid-back species.


Well, the pricing varies according to the size, species, age, gender and color of your snake. Of course, these are the species that are regularly available at prices somewhere around $10 to $100. While there are really expensive species than can only account for the species of snake only. You must also prepare for the other expenses as well. One thing is, please provide a large cage, so that is extra.

Variety of Colors

Snakes offer a wide variety of skin color and patterns. Now, you are more likely to find a large number of colorful snakes when you think in terms of certain snakes like Corn Snakes and Ball Python, than when you consider keeping a Mountain King Snake or a Garter Snake.


Snakes come in a varied number of sizes, but the desirable size of a snake that you would want to pet could vary between two to ten inches.

Some Important Points To Remember

Feeding food pre-killed food is important, because, when a live rat is made to fight against a snake, it might physically harm your pet. So even on a whim, do not try to make your snake fetch its own food, because you will be the loser at the end. Also, a snake must have a balanced atmosphere with the right amount of warmth and chills. So it is important that the tank is made accordingly, so that the snake feels comfortable enough and has less urge to run away. For a few new snake owners, the shedding of the skin might appear a bit alarming, so just know about the common signs and you will be fine.

Popular Snakes In The Pet Trade

Corn Snake

Corn Snake

Corn snakes are the most common pet snakes in the U.S as they are very hardy, easy-to handle, inexpensive and pretty to watch.

Red Tail Boa

Boa Snake
Boa Snake – Photo by: Gnangarra

The Red Tail Boa is certainly one of the most common snakes in the pet trade, but they are also the ones which are most commonly gotten rid of because they grow much larger over a period of time and you will find them difficult to handle comfortably. They are attractive enough, and make an awesome fun showpiece, but its awkward length makes the owner uncomfortable at times.

Mountain King Snake

Mountain King Snake
Mountain King Snake

These species might be pretty as they are, but it is more of a challenge for a novice to handle them. Mountain dwellers in nature, they prefer a much cooler environment that you may find difficult to create at times. Not only the babies make a fuss while eating, but the adults too may offer difficulty in handling when it comes to the feeding part. That said, they still tolerate some handling and are a good size which, makes it a bit easier to handle at least.

Gray-banded King

Gray-banded King
Gray Banded Snake

Although they have a very different sort of living habits when you compare them with the Mountain King snakes, the Gray-Banded Snakes do have a feeding problem when they are babies and mostly they die even before they get to the eating stage. Experts suggest that it is always better to buy one a captive-bred snake that already has established eating habits and are partially trained. The Gray-banded have a variety in their pattern and their buggy eyes provide them with a very unique personality for those moderately experienced snake keepers.

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Milk Snake

Milk Snake
Andean Milk Snake – Photo by: Trisha Shears

Milk snakes come in various shapes and colors and serve the purpose of a great pet. But they are very shy and prone to bite or musk as babies when you hold them.

Corn Snake

Corn Snake Eating

Corn Snakes are the best option for the novices out there because not only are they hardy, but they are cheap as well. Since you can find them easily, and the art of feeding them already follows a beaten path, you would never have much problem with these sorts of snakes. They have a lot of color and also act as a very good breeding subject.

Garter Snake

Garter Snake
Garter Snake – Photo by: Steve Jurvetson

Garter snakes are inexpensive and hardy, yet some might have the tendency to musk more often than most pet snakes. Even their diet might seem a bit difficult because of their love for fish.

Common King Snake

California King Snake
California Kingsnake – Photo by: Trisha Shears

There are multiple subspecies of common king snakes (California, Mexican, Black, Desert, Speckled, Brooks, and the like. They also well researched morphs of each and so the captive bred are much easily found. Common Kings attain a manageable size, are hardy, and eat well, so you need not anticipate many problems. They are extremely common in the pet trade as well, and most of those available are captive bred.

Ball Python

Ball Python
Ball Python

Ball Pythons, possibly are the best pet snakes anybody can find. Yes, you can find them in many different patterns and you can find the usual Ball Pythons for around $50, but it is not unusual to find the rare sort of such snakes for $10,000 or even higher! They stay relatively small for a Python (5 feet), are durable and calm, and will not offer a problem for an amateur to manage.

Gopher/Bull Snake

Bull Snake
Bull Snake

Bulls and Gopher snakes are among the hardiest snakes that you can find in the market, and they do not have any feeding problems. Some varieties might get a bit too large in size, while some may exhibit aggressive behavior, and there might be few who would eat more than any normal pet snake would do, but they are still the easiest to control.

Hognose Snake

Hognose Snake
Hognose Snake

Hognose Snakes are a popular kind. If a snake can have a personality, this one takes the cake. They are quite small in size, and though they are rarely defensive, the Hognose Snakes are masters at bluffing, and will sometimes hiss loudly and raise their hood up almost like a cobra. They also lie still and as if dead, if threatened. These might seem uncommon and very scary, but do not get fooled by these acts; simply handle it with care.


“Snakes are weird pets,” Because they can be a little over-whelming for some, prepare yourself for such reactions. They are not like dogs but still they can turn into good friends.. Importantly, you require to mentally prepare yourself for the pet you are about to own, as is in most of the cases when one desires to buy a pet. But, when it comes to owning a snake you need take extra care. Hope you enjoy your ownership of a snake and never forget that it is a pet not a toy so chasing it, making it fight or making it to do something hideous will not get you very far and it may even bite you.

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