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REPTILE / new pets

The Most Popular Types of Pet Snakes


How Many Different Types of Pet Snakes Are There? 


There are dozens of snakes that can be kept as pets. However, not every snake is a good fit for a beginner or someone who is still learning about snakes. Some of the most popular types of pet snakes include: 


Beginner Snakes


  • Rosy Boa - The rosy boa snake can grow as long as 3 ft, 4in, lives up to 15 years on average, and is a great beginner snake for first-time snake owners because they like to be handled.


  • Corn Snakes (Albino/Black/Fancy) - The corn snake can grow up to 5 feet long and live up to 20 years on average. These are great beginner snakes for first-time owners because they are docile and don’t mind being handled.


  • Kingsnakes (Albino California/Banded California/Striped California/Mexican Black) - The kingsnake can grow up to 4.5 ft long, lives up to 18 years on average and is great for first-time snake parents because they are docile and are easy to care for.


Snakes for More Experienced Pet Parents


  • Sand Boa - The sand boa can grow as long as 2 ft, 8 inches, lives up to 15 years on average, and is better for more experienced snake parents because they are slightly more difficult to handle.


  • Pueblan Milksnake/Sinaloan Milk Snake - This snake can grow up to 4 ft long, lives up to 15 years on average and is better for more experienced pet parents because they have more complicated habitat needs than other snakes.


  • Ball Python - The ball python is a large snake that can grow up to 6 ft long, lives up to 30 years and is better for more experienced snake parents because they are much larger than others. 


How Big Should My Snake’s Habitat Be? 


The size snake habitat you buy will vary depending on the size of your snake. Snakes grow fast so you want to buy a tank that is the size of what they will be, not what size they are when they are young. For smaller snakes, a 10 to 20-gallon (38-75 liters) tank might be enough room for them. You might need to buy a 30-55 gallon (120-210 liters) tank for bigger species. Ball pythons might need even more room. The general rule is that the length of their terrarium should be 2/3 their length. 


Your tank size might be too small if your snake shows signs of stress, such as weight loss, loss of appetite, hissing, striking and more. Talk to your veterinarian if you want to know what size terrarium will work perfectly for your type of pet snake. 


What Should I Buy for My Snake’s Habitat? 


  • Screened Lid - Snakes are master escape artists. A screen lid to their terrarium is important to make sure they don’t slither off to anywhere they’re not supposed to. 


  • Daytime Light Bulb - While snakes do not require any special lighting, pet parents should still do their best to mimic day and night cycles for their pet snake. 


  • Heat Lamp and Bulb - Snakes require a temperature gradient (cool side and warm side) in their habitats. Temperatures should vary between daytime and nighttime hours. Use either a reptile tank light and/or terrarium heating pad/mat to provide a heat gradient.


  • Thermometer - A thermometer helps you monitor the temperature of your snake’s habitat so that it’s always right. Exact recommendations for snake habitat temperatures can vary between species. For more detailed information on temperature, refer to snake species care guides.


  • Basking Site - A basking site is a spot near the heat lamp of the tank that gives them a spot to soak up warmth. 


  • Reptile Bedding - Line the bottom of the terrarium with reptile carpet or bedding. Remove droppings frequently, stir the bedding every other week and change monthly.


  • Big Water Dish - While snakes do not always drink a ton of water, they do still need it. Make sure to put a big reptile water dish in their terrarium that allows them to soak if they want to. 


  • Hygrometer-Most types of pet snakes need higher humidity levels in their habitats. The exact level of humidity will depend on the species. A hygrometer can measure humidity to help you keep track. Mist your snake and habitat as needed to maintain humidity or use an automatic fogger.


  • Plants/Decor - Provide branches (artificial or live) for hiding and climbing, and add a rock or wood hiding place on the habitat’s cool side.


  • Pet Snake Starter Kit - Starter kits can be really helpful for making sure you have all of the essentials to bring your pet snake home. 


Information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure your pet and is not a substitute for veterinary care provided by a licensed veterinarian. For any medical or health-related advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet, contact your veterinarian.