Choosing a pet snake (Video)

Choosing a pet snake (Video)

This video will help you decide if a corn snake is right for you.

Is a pet snake right for you? Snakes make interesting pets. Before choosing a pet snake, keep in mind they eat whole food and some snakes eat live food. Size is another consideration. Pythons and boa constrictors can get very large. A pet snake is not like a dog, it cannot be trained and it will not show you affection.

Size matters

A variety of snakes make suitable pets. Large snakes include Burmese pythons, African rock pythons, Colombian red-tail boas, and the general boa constrictor. Rat snakes, like black rat snakes, can get large as well. Large aggressive snakes pose a danger to small pets like cats and small dogs. They are also a danger to toddlers and infants.

Small snakes are good for children and for beginning snake owners. Ball pythons, corn snakes, garter snakes and milk snakes are good choices. These snakes stay small, they eat smaller prey and they do not require huge enclosures.


Not all snakes are easy to care for. Some are very aggressive by nature. African rock pythons, Burmese pythons and Colombian re-tail boas can be a handful when full grown. Hungry snakes are much more aggressive than ones who are fed regularly. A bite from a large snake hurts and it will leave a bite mark the size of your upper arm. Large, aggressive snakes are best left to experienced snake owners.

Garter snakes, ball pythons and corn snakes are docile by nature. They are less likely to bite when handled. Small docile snakes are the best choice for kids and beginners.


See the article "What to feed your pet snake," for details on feeding. Keep in mind that large snakes will need large food. If you cannot envision feeding a rabbit to your snake, stay with a smaller snake that eats rodents, fish or reptiles.

Exotic species

Stay away from exotic species of snakes unless you are very experienced with snake keeping. Green tree pythons, anaconda and Solomon Island boas get large and have special housing requirements.

Avoid the urge to purchase a "hot" or venomous snake. They are illegal to own in most areas. One bite from a viper could kill you. This type of snake is never suitable for children or inexperienced handlers. Leave the dangerous species to zoos and museums.

Time and attention

Pet snakes require daily care. Fresh water must be accessible at all times. A clean enclosure is important, so check for feces and skin sheds daily. Bedding should be dry--if a water dish is overturned or spilled, change the bedding. Most snakes need weekly feedings. Make sure you can give your pet snake the attention it needs before bringing one home.