They certainly don’t rival rainbow boas (Epicrates cenchria) or white-lipped pythons (Bothrochilus albertisii) in terms of iridescence, but they’re very beautiful animals. They typically feed readily on rodents and make fairly undemanding captives in most respects. A few of the most important include: Small snakes are easier to house than large species. The rubber boa is relatively rare in captivity, but these underappreciated snakes can make good pets. Red-bellied snakes aren’t often available commercially, so you’ll likely have to catch your own if you want one as a pet. Note that due to their small size and speed, milk snakes can be true escape artists. Sometimes known as the “red rat snake”, corn snakes typically make very docile and forgiving pets. A few of the species mentioned below may occasionally exceed this length, but most individuals will be this length or shorter. Thank you!! As a result they are one of the easiest – and hence best – pet snakes to keep for a beginner. Even after all these years I have yet to have a specimen go for me, which is quite some achievement. Many go off food for long periods of time – especially the males. When I got my first ever pair, back in my late teens, I was forever getting home to find the cage empty and the snakes relaxing by the radiator in my room. Thank you so much for your amazing website/information. Interestingly, hognose snakes very rarely attempt to bite defensively (though bites precipitating from feeding mistakes are relatively common). As a result this variety really shows off the reds and oranges, though the eyes too generally match these colors. As it turns out, while some snake species are difficult to look after thanks to their natural habits, eventual size or level of aggression, there are a surprisingly large number of snakes which are perfectly suited to the beginner. Some small species are pencil-thin, while others are very thick-bodied. So, they’re largely covered in hard scales that help them slide through the sand. Instead, a more “plodding” snake like a ball python or corn snake might be more easily cared for and handled. We have decided to get my almost 11 year old son a snake for his birthday which he is thrilled about. Yes. I am obsessed with reptiles and have been keeping them my entire life. There are a variety of reasons small snake species often make very good pets. Please use the comments section below and I’ll try to respond ASAP to any questions you may have…, Photo c/o Carlitos Pereira, highlander411, forestwildlife, mariposavet, robertnelson & golgarth. Got questions? Dusting & Gut Loading Insects (Mealworms, Crickets, & More), 13 Types of Ball Python Morphs (Pictures & Terminology), 10 Awesome Corn Snake Accessories & Decorations, Are Leopard Geckos Good Pets? While I have to admit I’m a bit boring and still have a preference for the typical “wild type” of corn snake, it’s entirely possible these days to purchase corn snakes that are an almost limitless combination of reds, oranges, pinks, whites, blacks and brown. They’re typically inoffensive snakes who aren’t inclined to bite, but it is possible that they have a mild venom. We’ll discuss some of the reasons small species are often among the best pet snakes, as well as some of the unique challenges small species present. You can join me on. As a result they’re a surprisingly small pet snake. The butter corn is another stunning variety. These really are stunning snakes and totally unlike the common type. This can make them far more eye-catching as a pet. The diet of brown snakes is primarily comprised of worms, slugs and other soft-bodied invertebrates. Children’s pythons probably subsist on lizards in the wild, but captive individuals will usually accept mice readily. There are a number of reasons why I think this is one of the best pet snakes. Corn snakes feed primarily on rodents in the wild (hence their alternative name of “red rat snake”) and kill them by coiling around the rodent tightly, thus suffocating it before consumption. Just be sure to check your local wildlife laws before doing so. All rights reserved. I’ve got to be honest with you; ball pythons are one of my all-time favorite snakes, and one that I still maintain to this day. They also have brightly colored ventral surfaces, which are usually the same color as the neck ring. A few of the most important include: While small snakes are easier to care for than large species in many ways, they do present a few challenges their larger counterparts do not. They also have very short tails to help anchor their bodies, and their eyes are located on the tops of their heads, making it easier for them to see while keeping most of their bodies hidden. But they are generally considered harmless to humans. Note that green snakes do not handle stress well, so these are not good animals for keepers who want to handle their pets. Rarely, female individuals (who are the larger sex) may exceed 3 feet, and at least one species occasionally reaches 5 feet in length. As the hognose snake is less common than many of the other suggestions here they have not undergone quite the same level of breeding. What you’re left with is a red-eyed snake with yellow/orange saddles on a pale cream background. Any information on Reptile Advisor should not be used in place of proper medical care. The problem is that tiny hatchlings grow into large adults. Very thin species “feel” smaller than their thicker-bodied counterparts, so be sure to consider the girth and length of a given species when making your choice. The best small pet snakes are the ringneck snake, western hognose, ball python sand boa, egg-eating snake, rosy boa, garter snake, and California green snake. Small snakes that stay small are so much easier to handle safely and care for as pets. Young brown snakes often have a light-colored ring around their necks, but this disappears with age. The very largest individuals occasionally reach 3 feet in length, but most are much shorter. Many keepers – especially novices – are interested in selecting a small species for their next pet. They possess no venom, and instead constrict their prey before eating it. For this reason it can be wise to introduce your snake to the taste of rats early on. They may occasionally exceed 3.5 feet in length, but they’re so thin (most are smaller in diameter than a pencil), we still feel comfortable classifying them as a “small” snake species. Red-bellied snakes are small, terrestrial serpents who live amid the leaf litter in forests, fields and suburban backyards. Both species subsist almost entirely on invertebrates, but they may occasionally consume small lizards too. Thankfully, most captive bred western hognose snakes will eventually learn to accept rodent prey, which makes feeding them easy. Most captive bred animals are relatively docile and easy to handle, and they are also easy to feed as well. Rosy boas are found throughout the southwestern United States and portions of Mexico. Each of these piebalds is different, making each one unique. Size is one of the most important criteria to consider when picking out a pet snake. Some scientists recognize as many as five subspecies of the rosy boa, but others only recognize three of the subspecies as currently described. We’re not going to be terribly picky about it, but we will generally mean snakes that are about 3 feet long or shorter. Kenyan sand boas (like most of their close relatives) spend a lot of time buried under loose substrates. Most hognose snakes subsist on toads, but the western forms tend to incorporate more rodents into their diets. In fact, a few garter snake species are even available in amelanistic (albino) form from breeders, which only increases their appeal. With a bit of research, hard work and patience, you’ll likely find that small snake species can make interesting and rewarding pets. By Cheryl Lock. They’re named for the lengthwise stripe that is present along the dorsal surface of many (but not all) species, and many also feature attractive and colorful checkerboard patterns. These days there are masses of different species of snake currently available in the pet trade. Perhaps even a girthy ball python (opens in a new tab) or even a long corn snake.. Always consult a licensed veterinarian in case of emergency. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Hi Mary – I would strongly dissuade you from leaving a snake for a month. They will climb shrubs in search of prey (although the rough green snake is the more likely to climb of the two), and they often like to live in close proximity to water. As with other species, the albino ball python lacks the dark pigmentation, which therefore removes the blacks and browns from the body. Garter snakes are often undemanding captives, who’re easy to feed, house, and maintain, which only helps increase their popularity even further. Reasons Small Snake Species Are Awesome. Viper boas are an underappreciated species, but it’s easy to see why they aren’t terribly popular: Those available are usually wild-caught, defensive, parasitized animals, who are very difficult to feed. They are non-venomous Colubrids, and while they are not particularly popular as pet snakes, owing to their subterranean habits, they can make for great pets but are definitely not suitable for … Spiders are also an integral part of many more complex morphs, so if you decide to get into breeding these fantastic little snakes then owning a spider or two can set you down an ideal path of experimentation. Rubber boas are typically very calm and docile snakes, who may curl up in a ball when frightened. Garter snakes vary in size from one species to the next, but most reach lengths of about 2 to 3 feet.