A rewarding, exciting and unusual pet, snakes are a fantastic way to get into the world of pet reptiles. Choosing the right pet snake for the beginner can be a daunting process, so here are three species – each with slightly different characteristics to suit different types of owner – that make for great companions, along with some pet care advice!
Corn snakes are a popular choice for first-time snake owners, and for good reason. The majority of corn snakes are calm, friendly, and don’t dislike being handled too much, so make for a forgiving and enjoyable entry point into the world of snake ownership. They’re beautifully patterned the length of their bodies, often in vivid oranges and reds – though other colour variations can be found. While a great choice for your first snake, corn snakes can grow up to around six feet and can live up to 20 years – both things worth considering before committing to a new pet!
Another frequently-recommended species for the fledgeling snake owner is the ball (or ‘royal’) python. Famous for their rich brown-and-gold patterning and their ability to curl into a tight ball when threatened, the ball python is another calm, sometimes shy species that provides a gateway into larger snakes. While they can live for over 40 years, the female pythons grow to a maximum of about five feet long, while the males only get to two or three feet at full growth.
Smaller than the first two snakes on this list and much more active, the garter snake has historically been an extremely popular choice for those dipping their feet into the world of reptiles. Often identified by a brightly-coloured stripe running the length of their backs or a unique checked pattern (depending on the subspecies), garter snakes are lively, somewhat hyperactive reptiles that require some careful handling. With this said, their living requirements are fairly easy to manage. A tank of 20 gallons or above provides enough space, as long as several hides are provided. The species grows to two and a half feet and only lives for about 10 years, making it a far smaller commitment compared to ball and corn snakes.