Having a snake sounds like a great idea. But is it?
Basic living conditions. The Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation buyers guide lists some basics of pet snake care, starting with living conditions. Your pet snake needs a place to live; an aquarium is the most common snake housing unit. Make sure your snake’s home’s lid is securely attached. An escaped snake can be dangerous for itself and for unsuspecting residents and guests. Most snake species can be kept at room temperature, but they will be more comfortable if warm spots and cold spots are provided within their home. Each species is different, so do the research before you set up the home. You’ll also need to feed the snake. What they eat depends on the species, but most can be fed thawed, pre-killed rodents.
Things to consider. Don’t let the excitement of owning a pet snake override common sense. Consider the following before purchasing:
- How long will the snake live? Some snakes live up to 20 years. Are you ready for 20 years of responsibility?
- How large will the snake grow? Some snakes grow large. Be sure you have the room for a full-grown snake before buying it.
- How much will it cost to take care of the snake? Food costs money. Living arrangements cost money. Finding someone to take care of the snake when you’re on vacation costs money.
- Where did the snake come from? Ask the snake dealer where and how the animal was bred. Make sure the snake was not removed from the wild population and that it does not have parasites.
- Will the animal be a safe pet? Your pet gerbil probably won’t be happy with its new roommate. Neither will you, if the snake proves harmful to a family member or other pet.
Ideal snakes for pets. Some snakes make better pets than others, especially for inexperienced snake owners. Best choices include corn snakes, rat snakes, milk snakes, king snakes and Ball Pythons. These all have good temperament, are easy to take care of and are commonly bred locally by snake breeders. Poor choices include snakes that can harm humans. Snakes commonly kept as pets that beginners need to slither away from include Burmese, Reticulated and African Pythons, as well as Anacondas. These snakes can grow up to 20 feet long and can be harmful to humans and animals.