5 Best Pet Snakes

What makes a best pet snake? The below snake species have been ranked by size, ease of care, personality, and availability.

 

Ball Python

Ball python, photo by The Reptilarium

Ball Python

If you are looking for a beginner snake, the ball python is the way to go. Ball pythons are one of the few snakes that can handle excessive handling. The maintenance for ball pythons is relatively low and the care is quite easy. The best part about ball pythons is that they come in many different types of colors and morphs.

 

Scientific Name: Python regius

Lifespan: Approximately 30 years based on care

Handling: Anytime; use caution when handling 1 week before feeding.

Size: Up to 4 – 6 feet

Care: Easy

Community: You may house more than one ball python together but it is not recommend. Cannibalism and stress may occur.

Lifestyle: Nocturnal, active at night.

Corn Snake

Corn Snake, photo by David Childers Photography

Corn Snake

Corn Snakes make great pet pet snakes for kids due to their slender bodies and ease of handling and care. Corn snakes need very little maintenance similar to the ball python and make great beginner snakes for anyone wanting to get into snakes.

 

Scientific Name: Pantherophis guttatus guttatus
Lifespan: Approximately 15 – 20 years based on care
Handling: Anytime; use caution when handling 1 week before feeding.
Size: Up to 3 – 5 feet
Care: Easy
Community: Cannibalism and stress may occur if housing more than one together. Lifestyle: Nocturnal, active at night.
Milk Snake

Milk Snake, photo by Bill Bouton

Milk Snake

Milk snakes fall under the ‘beginner snakes’ category, yet are commonly overlooked. They are great eaters, hardy, and require very easy temperature & humidity levels which makes them a very easy snake to take care of.

 

Scientific Name: Lampropeltis triangulum

Lifespan: Approximately 15 years based on care

Handling:  Anytime; use caution when handling 1 week before feeding.

Size: Up to 4 – 6 feet

Care: Easy

Community:  You should never house more than one Milk Snake together as Milk Snakes sometimes are cannibalistic.

Lifestyle: Nocturnal, active at night.

KingSnake, photo by Dblade

KingSnake, photo by Dblade

Kingsnake

Kingsnakes are very hardy snakes with beautiful markings. Kingsnakes are preferred by those who live in the colder areas of the world due to the kingsnakes originality. Coming from cooler climates, they do not suffer as much as tropical snakes do during the winter months. Kingsnakes have even temperaments and are gentle with adults and children.

 

Scientific Name: Lampropeltis getula californiae

Lifespan: Approximately 20 years based on care

Handling:King snakes are usually tame and are tolerable towards being handled.

Size: Usually 3 – 4 feet with some reaching a little over 5 feet

Care: Easy

Community:  You should never house more than one King Snake together as King Snakes sometimes are cannibalistic.

Lifestyle: Nocturnal, active at night.

Kenyan Sand Boa

Kenyan Sand Boa, photo by Kristin

Kenyan Sand Boa

The Kenyan sand boa is the smallest snake species on our “best pet snakes” list which makes it the easiest snake to handle (if tame). The only downfall with Kenyan sand boas is that sometimes they will be snappy when they are smaller, but when tamed, they have amazing personalities and are quite docile.

 

Scientific Name: Gongylophis colubrinus

Lifespan: Approximately 15 – 20 years based on care

Handling:As babies, they might be snappy, so use caution.

Size: Usually 2 – 3

Care: Easy

Community:  Some owners keep kenyan sand boas together, but it is never recommended.

Lifestyle: Nocturnal, active at night.

 


 

Best Pet Snakes for Advanced Keepers

What qualifies a pet snake for the advanced keeper? The below pet snakes have been chosen due to their delicate care requirements. Although they may make great pets for the advanced keeper, they might just not be the right choice for the average person trying to start out with a pet snake.

Reticulated Python

Reticulated Python, photo by Mohammed Alnaser

Reticulated Python (Similar to Burmese)

If you love size, then you will love this beast of a snake! Reticulated pythons are definitely something to admire as they get quite large. Sometimes too large for the average owner to care for. Reticulated pythons need enclosures bigger than most of our bedrooms and need the care that the average owner is not willing to provide. Handling and care is quite difficult when it come down to the reticulated python which is why it is a snake that is more for the advanced keeper.

 

Scientific Name: Python reticulatus

Lifespan: Approximately 15 – 20 years based on care

Handling: Should not handle without supervision.

Size: Up to 25 feet

Care: Medium

Community: Should be housed separately, unless breeding.

Lifestyle: Nocturnal, active at night.

Burmese Python

Burmese Python, photo by Jim, the Photographer

Burmese Python

Similar the to the reticulated python, burmese pythons are also very big snakes which explains why they need an advanced keeper to care for them as well. Burmese pythons tend to be easier to tame than the reticulated python though, so if you are an advanced keeper, keep that in mind when trying to decide between the two.

 

Scientific Name: Python molurus bivittatus

Lifespan: Approximately 15 – 20 years based on care

Handling: Should not handle without supervision.

Size: Up to 18 – 20 feet

Care: Medium

Community: Should be housed separately, unless breeding.

Lifestyle: Nocturnal, active at night.

Green Tree Python

Green Tree Python, photo by nasmac

Green Tree Python

Green tree pythons are without a doubt a beautiful snake species, but is also without a doubt the worst snake to handle. Handling a green tree python is very difficult as this snake does not like to be handled and will usually snap at its owner if it gets the chance. Green tree pythons are the “look but don’t touch” snake species. Their difficulty of being able to be handled puts them on the “advanced keeper” list.

 

Scientific Name: Morelia viridis

Lifespan: Approximately 15 – 20 years based on care

Handling: Green Tree Pythons very rarely like to be handled, therefore should not be handled at all unless cleaning out the enclosure or for other needed reasons.

Size: Up to 4 – 6 feet

Care: Medium

Community: Green Tree Pythons should not be housed together unless you are trying to breed them.

Lifestyle: Nocturnal, active at night.

Red-Tail Boa, photo by hj_west

Red-Tail Boa, photo by hj_west

Red-Tail Boa

Boa Constrictors also known as “Red-Tailed Boas” have been around for a very long time in the pet industry and have been sold to most inexperienced owners not knowing how big these guys really get. Unlike the normal ball-pythons being sold, red-tail boas grow an additional 3 – 4 feet. Most of the time, red-tail boas get too big for their owners to handle so they end up letting them loose into a nearby area. Unless you know what you are getting into, I’d go with something that is smaller in size.

 

Scientific Name: Boa Constrictor

Lifespan: Approximately 15 – 25 years based on care

Handling: Size: Up to 7 – 10 feet

Care: Medium

Community: Should be housed separately, unless breeding

Lifestyle: Nocturnal, active at night.

 

What’s Your Favorite Best Pet Snake?

Do you have a pet snake that makes a great pet? If we missed a snake, feel free to share your thoughts and recommendations below in the comments section.

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