Looking for the best pet snake breeds for beginners? If so, you’re in the right place. There are thousands of snake species out there, and hundreds that are commonly sold as pets. To ensure that your first snake-owning experience is a good one, you can’t just choose a snake based on how cool it looks. Instead, first-time snake owners must prioritize choosing a manageable snake species. This means making considerations for things like how large the species gets, whether they’re picky eaters, how rigorous their temperature and humidity requirements are, and so forth.
Fortunately, the snake experts here at Live Reptiles Farm have done the hard work for you. We’ve selected three beginner-friendly snakes that are the complete package. But before diving into the three best snake breeds for beginners, let’s take a closer look at what criteria are used to determine what makes for a good pet snake.
What Makes A Good Pet Snake?
With hundreds of pet snake options to choose from, finding a place to start can be daunting. You might be tempted to go for the most exotic-looking snake, but appearance is the least important quality a rookie snake-owner should allow to influence their important decision. When it comes to determining what makes a good beginner snake there are three qualities to look for:
- Great temperament
- Easy to care for (low maintenance)
If you’ve never owned a reptile before, the learning curve for owning a cold-blooded animal can be steep. But no need to bumble along and put the health of your pet at risk. Snakes that exhibit these qualities provide a low-stakes way of learning the reptile ropes and tend to be more forgiving of mistakes. Our starter snakes of choice are the colorful corn snake, the social ball python, and petite sand boa. While these snakes vary in size, life span, and appearance, they all offer the quintessential (but beginner-friendly) snake-owning experience.
Facts About Corn Snakes
At first glance, you might mistake a corn snake for a venomous copperhead. Sporting vibrant bands of red and brown, they do an impressive imitation of one but take a closer look and you’ll see that corn snakes are redder in color, and don’t sport an hourglass shape on the sides. Corn snakes are completely harmless; lacking fangs or venom they use constriction to subdue their prey which primarily consists of rodents.
Native to North America, they can be found throughout the country in a multitude of different climates. Although predominantly found in the southeastern portion of the country, corn snakes can be found throughout; from Florida to New Jersey, to Utah. As such, corn snakes are highly adaptable and tolerant of a wide range of temperatures and aren’t particularly finicky when it comes to their enclosures.
Corn snakes are great for beginners due to their docile and well-tempered nature. Just because corn snakes aren’t aggressive doesn’t mean that they are particularly friendly, however. They can be shy and will likely spend the majority of their time hiding. When it comes to handling, they prefer the less-is-more approach. It’s recommended to handle your corn snakes at least once or twice per week. This will help keep them socialize and tame. However, it is possible to overdo your physical interactions, which could cause your corn snake undue stress. To avoid this, limit handling sessions to no more than once per day. If you’re looking for a beautiful snake to admire from afar, the corn snake is a great choice.
Facts About Ball Pythons
Ball pythons are one of the most popular pet snakes both by beginners and experienced reptile-owners. There are plenty of reasons why they are so widely beloved. One of which is that they are highly tolerant to handling, and are much more social than your average snake. They also delight their owners by curling around their owners, when held. It’s a fun sensation that not many other snakes can provide.
Fun fact: their Latin name, Python regius which translates to “royal python”, comes from their history of being the accessory of choice by Egyptian royalty. Their common name, however, comes from their instinct to curl into a ball when scared.
Another factor that has led to the mass appeal of these tiny pythons is the vast number of morphs available. Morphs are variations in color and/or pattern that are different from a reptile’s standard appearance. Ball pythons boast hundreds (or thousands, depending on who you ask) of morphs – the most of any other pet snake species.
Facts About Sand Boas
Although not yet as popular or as well known as the corn snake or ball python, sand boas are rising stars that are quickly gaining more and more fans. The most common type of sand boa sold in pet stores is the Kenyan sand boa. These snakes are positively teeny, typically maxing out at two feet in length. This makes them the easiest (and most affordable) beginner snake to house. Their natural coloration is a beautiful salmon color. Despite only recently emerging on the snake hobbyist scene, there are a growing number of sand boa morphs to choose from.
Like all the other snakes mentioned, sand boas have a wonderful disposition. They are docile and quite well-behaved, and would almost always prefer to hide rather than fight. Note, they can also be rather shy and spend a good deal of their time buried in their substrate. However, these inquisitive snakes often poke their heads out to check in on their surroundings from time to time.