As snakes become more and more popular to keep as pets it is important to choose the species that best fits you. This might not seem like a necessary exercise in the decision making process but as you read this article it will become clear why it is.
Every species of snake has a unique personality
The process of picking the right snake begins with researching the different species of snakes common in the pet industry. Are you looking for something relatively small, docile, and good with kids? A Ball Python (python regius) would be a good place to start. Maybe you want something a bit more active? If that’s the case you should consider getting a Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus guttatus), known also as a Red Rat snake. Or it could be that you are looking for an incredible display animal more than something you can handle on a daily basis. If that describes you then a Green Tree python (morelia viridis) would be a great place to start.
With literally thousands of different species of snakes (close to 2700 in total) there is bound to be one species that is a better fit for you than the others. Of course nowhere near all 2700 species are common or even available to the pet industry. The most common snakes you’ll find are -
- Ball pythons
- Corn snakes
- Boa constrictors
- King snakes
All of those will most likely be available at your local big box pet store. If you want to start finding snakes beyond the “big four” mentioned above you’ll need to do some research into them. A good place to start is an online community called Kingsnake. Another community to look into is Fauna Classifieds. Both of those sites offer active forums both to learn more about specific species of snakes but also to buy them when the time comes.
Every species of snakes has specific care needs different from other species
If you’re the “set and forget” type of person you don’t want a snake that you have to constantly monitor heat and humidity for. This means you should avoid any of the (sub)tropical species such as Boa constrictors and Ball pythons. You’d do better with King snakes, Corn snakes, or Garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis). If on the other hand you like to keep a close eye on your snake you could go with something a little more exotic such as a Brazilian Rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchria cenchria) or a Jungle Carpet python (Morelia spilota cheynei).
There is much more to caring for a snake than heat and humidity. How about the size the snake you are considering will grow to be? If you buy an eighteen inch Reticulated python (Python reticulatus) will you still be able to care for it when it is 12 or more feet long? Can you provide safe housing (safe both for the snake and for people and other animals in the same house as the snake)? Will you be able to afford to feed the snake? While a small mouse is cheap enough having to buy a large rabbit every other week starts to add up.