15 pet snakes for beginners and first-time owners (with photos)

Brown house snake

15 pet snakes for beginners and first-time owners (with photos)

Snake folklore has a long history. People seem to be either attracted to their “sneaky” nature, or afraid that they represent something dangerous or evil.

In fact, mammals are biologically predisposed to be wary of snakes in their environment, which explains why there have been so many mythological stories about them for thousands of years.

Snakes can represent evil creatures or signs of fertility and rebirth, depending on the origin story. With this knowledge, it’s easy to understand the fascination with snakes and why so many people want to keep them as pets!

As for diversity? Let’s just say the snake ate the cake…

They have so many variations (about 3,600!!) , color and size.

They are often very powerful, potentially dangerous, or completely harmless – that’s what we want in a partner.

It is important that a new snake owner plans his or her snake journey so that he is not only not overwhelmed, but also able to provide the best possible home for the snake.

But considering adopting a snake? Keep reading to discover the 15 best snakes to make pets for first-time snake owners!

Brown house snake

The African house snake or “brown house snake” is a small, underrated yellow snake that makes the perfect pet for most beginner reptile breeders!

From temperature, to humidity, to substrate, to fence decorations, enthusiasts have managed to maintain this hardy species in a wide variety of conditions, so much so that it’s hard to go wrong.

The general recommendations are similar to most North American daylilies, with a basking temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit, an ambient temperature of 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and humidity of 40-60%.

African house snakes are very small, and females rarely grow to more than three feet long. Males are only half that size!

Because of their small size, they can live their entire lives in 20-gallon aquariums or 24-inch plastic tubs.

Like most snakes, well-cared for snakes can live to be around 20 years old.

Once the pups have eaten a few rodent meals, they rarely refuse food for the rest of their lives.

This is an active and curious nocturnal species that tolerates handling well and is fun to watch (if you’re a late sleeper!).

Perhaps the only downside to African house snakes is that they’re not yet common as pets, so you probably won’t find them at a pet store. Instead, go to Google and try to find a reputable breeder.

Python on

The Woman python is an Australian species that has become increasingly popular in captivity due to its simple care requirements, calm demeanor, and manageable size.

These snakes are light yellow or tan with dark brown horizontal stripes all over their body and look very much like tigers!

Woman pythons rarely grow to more than six feet, but they usually stay around four to five feet, making them the perfect size for anyone new to snakes.

An adult Woma Python needs an enclosure at least three feet long, like a 40-gallon aquarium. They are active and enjoy exploring lots of Spaces and decorations.

In the wild, woma pythons live in arid, red deserts. They will be like 50-70% of moderate humidity, a water dish, can dig holes matrix, and can be hidden under the rock caves and cracks of the environment.

Provide 90 degrees of sunshine and keep the ambient temperature between 79 and 85 degrees.

Although Woman pythons naturally feed on reptiles, they are also keen on rodents and rarely give up food like some finicky species.

In fact, you have to watch out for overfeeding so they don’t get fat. A proportionally sized rodent every 10 to 14 days is enough.

Tarahumara python

Pythons are very common bullet-proof pet snakes.

Their care requirements are simple, they don’t stress easily, there are a wide variety of color and pattern variations to choose from, they taste like garbage disposals, and they’re easy to get.

Unfortunately, some pythons can grow up to 8 feet long, which can be quite intimidating for many beginners.

Size matters when it comes to handling and housing, and many people think the Python is too big for a novice.

Fortunately, there are a few places that are relatively small, like the Tarahumara boa constrictor, which rarely grows to 5 feet long. Most Mexican and Central American pythons are small.

Because of their size and humidity requirements, most baby pythons do better in plastic cages that are at least 4 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 2 feet tall. Many pythons love to climb, especially when they are young.

Ideally, pythons should have a spot to bask in the sun at 90 degrees Fahrenheit, while ambient temperatures should be kept between 78 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Humidity should fluctuate between 60 and 80 percent, and stay at the high end of that range when your python is about to shed.

Ratsnake of Baird

The Baird’s rat snake is a medium-sized yellow snake endemic to the semi-arid stony deserts of the southwestern United States and northeastern Mexico.

Compared to the popular Oriental (gray) rat snake, this species tends to be more colorful, better-tempered, and smaller.

Hatchlings are grayish brown, but many adults turn striking orange and yellow as they mature, especially on their bellies.

Their adult body length is usually under 5 feet. A 30-gallon or 3-foot fence is enough to hold an adult.

Since Baird rat snakes naturally feed on rodents in the wild, in captivity they readily accept being fed mice as a food source.

They are not known to be shy eaters, although they may be less inclined to eat in the winter.

Paper substrates, such as kitchen paper towels, newspaper or butcher paper, can be made for fine, economical bedding. Alternatively, you can use aspen shavings, which will enable your rat snake to burrow and explore underground.

Jungle substrates like coconut husks and cypress mulch can make humidity too high, as this desert species prefers humidity below 60 percent.

They also need a basking point of around 95 degrees Fahrenheit to digest and a temperature gradient between 78 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit to stay comfortable.

Brazilian rainbow boa constrictor

The Brazilian rainbow boa is another snake that can easily be kept in captivity.

Their striking orange and black rose pattern and namesake rainbow sheen are irresistibly beautiful to even the most hardened ophiophobic.

They range from five to six feet in length and have medium girth, making them manageable for a new snake owner.

Their humidity and climbing requirements are also on the edge of moderate care levels, making this a good stepping stone species for those interested in breeding challenging arboreal and tropical snakes in the future.

An adult rainbow python needs an enclosure that is at least 48 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 24 inches high. Glass terrariums are known to allow heat and moisture to escape, so plastic containers are preferable.

Multiple safe places to hide are essential, as well as branches or poles for climbing. Most snakes don’t need UV lighting, but they can certainly help bring out the intense patterns and colors of this snake.

Live plants and natural substrates, such as cypress mulch, coconut husk, and coconut husk, are good at maintaining the 70 to 90 percent humidity required for this species.

Also, if your climate is too dry, you may need to invest in a reptile spray system.

The hognose snake is another rising star in the captive snake industry.

Their upturned noses, lively and dramatic antics, and rugged bodies are irresistible to many reptile lovers!

While pig-nosed snakes are actually more defensive than some of the other species we’ve featured, they tend to bluff and not bite.

Videos of their dramatic performances, including flattening their necks like cobras and even playing dead, have gone viral several times

S/year. Even if they do attack, it’s usually a “warning” that they’re not actually opening their mouths. More like a headbutt if you ask me!

Their maximum size is just under three feet, although males usually stay under 20 inches.

The name “Snout” comes from the upturned rostral scales that make their snout look like a small piggy.

Their natural colors and patterns are very similar to rattlesnakes, with a creamy tan background covered with dark brown saddles.

One of the biggest drawbacks of pet pig-nosed snakes is their fussy diet.

Many newly hatched pig-nosed snakes are difficult to raise in captivity to feed rats, but responsible breeders won’t sell their babies until they can reliably eat pinky.

A 20-gallon aquarium, or equivalent sized bathtub, is perfect for most adult hognose snakes. Because of their stout bodies, they usually do not climb or utilize vertical cage space.

Their upturned snouts evolved for digging and burrowing, so pig-nosed snakes like to have at least two to three inches of burrowing substrate, such as aspen shavings or coconut shells.

Milk snakes are known for their similarity to coral snakes, an evolutionary imitation designed to fend off potential predators.

Rest assured that although their bright colors are usually “Danger! “In nature, milk snakes are completely harmless and have no venom.

Milk snakes range in size from one to six feet. There are currently 24 identified subspecies. They usually have yellow, red, orange, black and white stripes.

These little yellow snakes are closely related to king and corn snakes, so they have a similar body composition – long and slender, but still muscular.

The life span of captive milk snakes is usually 10 to 20 years, which is short compared to other snake species.

Care will vary depending on the subspecies you breed, but the general guidelines are the same as for other North American yellows.

At a minimum, the length of the enclosure should be two-thirds of the snake’s total length. Milk snakes use branches and appreciate the chance to climb.

?? Expert tip: While most people know milk snakes as small snakes, this is not the case for every subspecies of milk snake. Therefore, if you decide to choose milk snakes, be sure to research your specific subspecies in advance.

Like their king snake Cousins, milk snakes are cannibalistic, so it’s best to keep them alone in a cage.

Milk snakes are diurnal and will actively explore their territory during the day due to their natural curiosity.

This makes them a good species for those who enjoy observing and interacting with their pets all day long.

These yellow snakes are harder to find than their corn and king snake Cousins, but they’re still fairly common, making them a good choice if you’re looking for a smaller or more colorful snake.

For enthusiasts who are not ready for medium to large snakes, the Kenyan sand python is another great option.

These interesting animals can grow up to three feet long at most.

Their chubby bodies, beady eyes, and similarly shaped heads and tails make them look a bit stiff, which most people either love or hate. The strange shape of its body and the position of its eyes help sand pythons burrow and move underground.

In the wild, and even sometimes in captivity, you’ll usually find them completely buried with just their eyes and sometimes even their faces in broad daylight, waiting for prey to pass by.

Kenyan sand pythons need to feed every two weeks or so. Fortunately, they are not inclined to fast or fast, as long as you don’t feed them too often.

They will thrive in bathtubs or aquariums that have at least 2 to 3 inches of base to burrow in.

All but the largest females can live comfortably in a 10-gallon tank.

Humidity should be kept below 50%. If you’re having trouble keeping the humidity low, try placing the water bowl on the cool side of the fence or offering it only a few times a week.

Like most pythons, Kenyan sand pythons are born alive.

Here’s another great species for python lovers, but with some bonus points – this unique species is smaller than a ball python, and they’re less likely to stop eating!

Child pythons are native to Australia. They grow to two to four feet long and have slender bodies like corn snakes.

They may look dull compared to other primary snakes, with dark brown spots on a tan background, but color variants are becoming more common!

The species is named after John George Children, the scientist who was the first to describe them as new.

Because of their calm demeanor and manageable size, it’s easy to believe a common rumor that they get their name from their ability to be cared for by children. While newly hatched hatchlings may be a little timid and defensive at first, they usually calm down as adults.

These young pythons also like to climb trees and roam the ground.

In fact, in the wild, they are known to climb stalactites in caves and hang from them to catch little bats in flight! Because of this, they will appreciate the height and climbing opportunities in their enclosure.

Three square feet of space per adult python is ideal, but the more the better. That’s about the same as a 30-gallon aquarium or a 32-quart plastic bucket.

Being nocturnal, child pythons require plenty of hiding spots and ground cover in the form of artificial or natural plants.

Also, you should note that their heat needs to come from a non-glowing source, as light makes them hide!

If you want to get a python as your first pet snake, but you’re afraid of red-tailed pythons, which are known for being defensive and growing to 10 feet long, why not consider a rose python?

The rose-colored boa is one of two species of boa constrictors native to the United States. These docile young snakes usually grow to be two to three feet long. They are usually white or off-white with three brown, orange, or gray stripes on the body.

The rose boa is calm and slow moving. In fact, almost all red snake bites are due to an accidental feeding reaction.

Perhaps not surprisingly, rose pythons have such a voracious appetite for food that obesity is their most common health problem!

Therefore, you will want to keep an eye on your pet’s physical condition and reduce prey size or feeding frequency as needed.

If they maintain a healthy weight and are properly fenced, these magnificent pythons can often live for over 30 years in captivity!

An adult rose-colored python needs a 20 – or 29-gallon aquarium, but bigger is usually better at your slippery friend’s house.

Native to the desert regions of the western United States, rose pythons need low humidity and warmth to digest their food.

?? Fun Fact: If you have some breeding experience after you are interested in breeding snakes, you will be interested to know that rose snakes are one of the 30% of snake species that can give birth live!

This snake is a little different from the others. It is the most common snake species in the world, with dozens of subspecies. In fact, chances are you’ve come across one on a nature walk or even in your backyard.

Garter snakes are small, thin and come in a variety of colors. Garter snakes are alert and active during the day, and great for those who want a snake that is busy and always on the go!

Male garter snakes are about two feet long and female garter snakes are about three feet long. They have very good eyesight and pay attention to what’s going on around their habitat.

In the wild, they only live about five years, but in captivity they can live to the ripe old age of 10.

They needed a glass tank of about 30 gallons that could fit together.

However, like all snakes, they should be separated at feeding time so that they do not try to prey on each other.

Since they are active during the day and enjoy more light than nocturnal snakes, UV rays are necessary for them, as is a place to bask.

As for diet? Their food choices are very varied, including:


In captivity, it’s a good idea to try to mimic different diets and offer different foods for each feed (ideally).

Also, it should be noted that garter snakes take longer to adjust to handling than other snakes. They are defensive and looking to attack, but with patience they will succeed.

They may never enjoy it as much as ball pythons, but they don’t resist, and like other creatures, each has its own unique personality. If you’re a fan of the Blue Snake, check out the Blue Race snake!

Did you know that your first snake can be a boa constrictor? Is this your ideal pet snake? A lot of people like the idea of pythons because they have great power.

In reality, very few pythons pose a threat to humans, and ball pythons are definitely not one of them!

Males are usually two to three feet long, while females can grow up to a foot long. Some ball pythons have been recorded growing to about six feet, but this is unusual.

They also live to around 30, so if you’re dreaming of a ball python, be prepared to make a commitment that will last longer than many marriages!

Ball pythons can be a little shy and need a place to hide when they need a little quiet. A commercial hiding box or flower pot would work well.

?? Fun fact: Did you know that there are more than a thousand variations of ball pythons? ! Breeders are constantly pushing the aesthetic limits, crossing different varieties together to create endless colors and patterns – from yellow to stark white, black, lavender and more!

Also, you must be willing to take the time to build trust with your ball python and show him that you mean no harm. Finally, ball pythons seem to like being handled by people they know.

Ball pythons are nocturnal, so they need a place to bask, but they don’t need any supplementary light. He prefers to operate as stealthy as possible.

Keep his fish tank warm and have a heat lamp that allows him to regulate his temperature.

Like many snakes, it may lose food during the colder months. As long as he looks healthy, it’s not a problem.

The California king snake is another very hardy snake that thrives in the western United States and northern Mexico.

These snakes grow up to six feet long, but are usually between three and four feet long.

Because of their slender bodies, they don’t look as big as other snakes. They live for about 20 years and are known for their escape-artist antics.

They need at least a 20-gallon glass tank with an escape hatch.

Also, the snakes have to live on their own, as they are known to eat each other, especially during their teenage years. Multiple can be kept together when they are mature, but you will need to separate them during and for a few hours after feeding.

However, as a beginner, it is best to keep only one snake.

Of course, if you’re eventually going to consider breeding (and these snakes are easier to breed), you’ll need to find compatible breeding pairs.

The California king snake likes to have a warm and cold glass box (including heat lamps and heating pads) so that it can self-regulate to its preferred temperature.

At first he doesn’t want to be handled, but with patience he will become an easy pet to handle.

The gopher snake is a common snake in North America. Its largest variety is the cow snake (often considered its own species), which actually happens to be one of nine gopher snake subspecies.

Gopher snakes are adaptable, hardy and generally widespread. It’s worth noting, though, that there may be regulations for these snakes depending on local laws, so check before you buy.

And if you think I’m using the word “hardy” when describing these snakes, consider this…

The average life span of a gopher snake is 15 years, but some snakes in captivity can live to be 30 years old!

They are just a foot long at birth and grow to an average of four or five feet, but can grow out to as much as six feet – especially if you have a cow snake.

But, you might wonder…

“With all the preamble about longevity, size and rules, how did it make it onto our list of best beginner snakes?

Well, in short, these guys are fun to look at and interact with!

?? Expert Tip: Not 100% committed to the idea of adopting a snake? No worries! If you have your heart set on reptiles, there are plenty of other options. In fact, there are several types of lizards that are also good choices for first-time reptile owners.

Unfortunately, due to their color and behavior, they are often mistaken for Pacific rattlesnakes.

In the wild, this would put them at risk, but in a domestic setting, it makes them an excellent conversation starter.

They will often lunge back at people and beat them with their noses to warn them. Like rattlesnakes, they may even wag their tails, but they don’t actually have rattles and don’t usually bite, especially after they get used to being handled.

This breed’s cold resistance and availability make it a worthy consideration for a new snake owner, as long as you have the space to accommodate it…

An adult baby gopher snake may be fine in a 30-gallon container, but when they reach full length, a full pen of at least 4 feet is much better.

The corn snake is almost always the first snake recommended by a new owner, so it’s still a deserving spot on our list.

The corn snake got to this position because it is a simple, cheap and gentle snake.

They are flexible with food and rarely change their eating habits. They accept mice that have been previously frozen, while other snakes may be picky to the point of making themselves sick.

These snakes look beautiful and are sometimes called “red rat snakes” because of their color. There are many beautiful variations of the corn snake, but usually you’ll find them orange or yellow-black in color.

They are very gentle, easy to control and harmless in the wild. In fact, they are even often considered friends of gardeners and farmers because they are so good at controlling pests.

Corn snakes aren’t perfect, however. It is one of the larger long-lived snakes, with a life span of 15-25 years and the potential to grow up to 6 feet!

Corn snakes should be kept in a tank of at least 30 gallons.

Corn snakes also need ambient temperatures of 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit and a heat lamp to bask in the sun.

Corn snakes like to burrow in their substrate, so you may not always see them until they’re ready.

If you’ve never owned a snake before, it’s important to know some key things about owning a snake. The following points will help you find the best house for you and your home.

Snakes are popular pets for all ages. Yes, some pets are potentially dangerous, especially to children who don’t know how to respect their snakes.

It is therefore important that we briefly state two points that all future snake parents should be aware of…

This means you have to feed the snake rats or other small rodents once or twice a week.

You can choose to buy dead, frozen mice for your snake that you will thaw completely before feeding your snake. You may also be able to find a supplier that offers freshly killed mice, but not frozen ones.

Many snake owners breed their own rats to save money and control the quality of food the snakes get.

For some snake owners, watching snakes hunt is part of the fun of owning a snake.

This means you need a proper power setup to keep your snake healthy.

Fortunately, once the aquarium is set up, very little works and you can even choose to make your snake’s home the focal point of your house!

Glass jars can be very beautiful showpieces, with the added benefit of housing huge creatures.

? Buyer’s Advice: Want to research all things snake before adopting? If so, feel free to check out our picks for the best books on snakes that all owners (both experienced and beginners) should read!

Now that you’ve learned some important, non-negligible points about snake ownership, let’s briefly discuss what you should consider when trying to find the right breed for you!

If you’re still on the fence, the following considerations can help you better narrow down the list above of the best snakes for beginners.

Snake life spans vary widely. As a general rule, the smaller the snake, the shorter its lifespan.

On average, the smallest snakes live to be 5 to 10 years old. It’s a great introduction to the world of snake farming.

You’ll have plenty of time to know exactly what it’s like to own and care for a snake, but you don’t need to consider who you’ll bequeath it to in your will. This can happen in large snakes that outlive their owners.

While this is unusual, a snake that lives into its 20s or 30s is likely to outlive its owner.

In addition to the personal choices you’ll need to make when deciding on the best snake for you, you’ll need to consider where you live and whether the snake you’re buying is legal in your area.

Some snakes are illegal nationwide, like the yellow anaconda, which is illegal throughout the United States. Others may be banned by condo boards or city governments.

Still, other snakes may be banned because if they escape, they will damage the natural environment.

Even if a snake isn’t completely illegal, you may need a permit to own it. Therefore, make sure you research the snakes you are allowed to own, or, better yet, stick to the following list of common snakes.

In most parts of the world, the deadliest “Big Four” snakes are not allowed to be kept. These include:

Russell’s viper
Sawed scale pit viper
The common golden ringed snake
Indian cobra

If you want to show how tough you are by owning one of these venomous beasts, get it out of your head! These pets are not suitable for either beginner or expert snake owners.

If you think these rules don’t apply to you, remember that snakes are notorious escape artists. This should be taken into account when you consider your position.

Don’t ignore condo board rules just because you think you’ve got the hang of keeping snakes.

You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you have to choose between relocating the snake or becoming homeless yourself.

In general, any snake that is easy to breed and easy to obtain is probably a good choice for a first pet. These tend to be easy to handle, hardy and disease-free if purchased from a quality breeder.

Of course, other factors such as where you live, how much money you need to put in, and whether you have children should also be taken into account. For more demanding snakes, you can see how care for fake water cobras needs to look.

As with any potential new pet, potential snake owners should put a lot of time and effort into considering how having a pet snake will affect their daily lives, as well as the rest of their household.

Snakes are by no means a pet that you can simply toss in the tank and relatively forget about!

However, as long as you put thought and planning into picking your first snake, you will most likely end up with a snake that suits your situation.

For many people considering getting their first snake, the choice comes down to corn snakes and ball pythons. If you’re in the same boat as me, then you’ll find our in-depth comparison helpful.