Looking for a new pet snake as a beginner can be a challenge. There are a variety of species available, all with their own unique quirks and appearances. However, there are certain types of snakes that first-timers tend to gravitate to, and for good reason.
With this list, we will be examining certain species of snakes that are commonly kept as pets, and the traits that make them unique companion animals for certain households.
Ball pythons are a constrictor originating from west and central Africa. Their overall gentle disposition, wonderful array of morphs, and manageable size make them exceedingly popular pets. They also have the wonderful quirk of “balling up” (hence their name) when perching on their owners arms, creating a unique sensation.
While some boa species reach lengths of up to 10 feet, dwarf boas stay at a manageable three feet, and rarely exceed five. This is due to the fact that they originate from geographic areas where a shortage of larger prey sizes favored animals that stay small and need less food intake.
Dwarf boas are known to change color, shifting between light and dark depending on the time of day, making them especially unique among collectors. Like many other snakes on this list, they are long lived with the average lifespan in captivity exceeding 20 years.
The low-key, relaxed disposition and variety of morphs (over 800), make this snake highly sought after in the pet trade. As these snakes grow, they tend to show brighter coloring. While these snakes are semi-arboreal, they would prefer to hunker down in an underground burrow. In fact, you may find your snake hiding for the first few days after bringing it home until it’s more comfortable with you.
Like the previous entry, the king snake is native to the eastern US. However, they occupy a slightly different ecological niche due to the fact that they tend to prey on other snakes. Despite that, they are completely harmless to humans, and are known to do well in captivity.
Being one of the most commonly acquired snakes for sale, rat snakes are known for their importance in controlling pest populations and relaxed temperaments that make them good pets.
These snakes also demonstrate the unique behavior of “denning” with other snakes when it gets cold, making them one of the most social snakes among this bunch.
When threatened, rat snakes may “rattle” the tips of their tails in an intimidation attempt. However, these snakes would much rather hide than confront a potential threat.
When choosing a snake for sale as a beginner, it is important to examine why certain species are so popular in the first place. There’s a reason why smaller, even tempered and pretty constrictors tend to make the most popular snakes. As long as you do your homework, and take the proper steps to ensure that your snake will have a safe and enriching environment, you will have years of success with your new pet.
Read More: Fledgling’s Guide to Reptiles as Pets