The decision to keep a snake as a pet is a personal choice depending on individual inclinations, lifestyle, and expectations. Snakes are amazing creatures. They are solitary, prefer to hide, and are rarely venomous. So far, he has found himself as the friend of modern mankind. They are increasingly in demand as a pet, and their perceived beauty is enough to make them the first choice for millions of homes. It is wise to evaluate the pros and cons of snake ownership before arriving at a decision. Herein lies the search for these aspects:
Benefits of adopting a snake as a pet
- Quiet Companions: Snakes are peaceful pets that won’t make a racket or bother your neighbors.
- Low Maintenance: They’re pretty easy to take care of. They don’t need much attention, grooming, or exercise. You’ll just have to feed them once a week or even less, depending on their type.
- Unique and Fascinating: Owning a snake provides an aura of exclusivity and exoticism, which sets the individual apart from the ordinary. It also provides an opportunity to gain deeper insight into their biology, behavior and ecology.
- Clean Creatures: Unlike some other pets, snakes don’t shed hair or produce any stinky smells. You won’t need litter boxes or waste disposal systems for them.
- Affordable: Keeping a snake won’t break the bank. They don’t need fancy food, toys, or accessories. A simple terrarium with some basic stuff will do.
Drawbacks of keeping a snake as a pet:
- Escape Artists: Snakes are experts at getting out of their enclosures if they’re not secure. You’ve got to make sure their terrarium is top-notch to avoid accidents.
- Not for Kids: Snakes aren’t the best choice if you have children. Some of them can be dangerous, unpredictable, or just not friendly to handle. They might bite or cause harm if they feel threatened.
- Not Cuddly: Snakes aren’t like dogs or cats. They won’t snuggle with you or respond to your voice and commands. Playing with them isn’t really their thing.
- Not Great Learners: Teaching tricks to snakes is a tough gig. They’re not the brightest creatures, and they don’t have distinct personalities that make them super engaging.
- Legal Hassles: Be aware that in some places, owning a snake might be illegal or have restrictions. It could be due to concerns about the local wildlife, environment, or public health. So, always check your local laws before getting one.
What are some popular species of snakes for pets?
Let’s learn about some of the most common snakes kept as pets. There are many different types of these interesting creatures to choose from:
Ball Pythons (Python regius)
These petite serpents are known for their tranquil demeanor and ease of care. They come in a myriad of captivating colors and patterns, making them visually stunning. Ball pythons are gentle and seldom resort to biting. They thrive in warm and humid environments and have a diet exclusively composed of pre-killed rodents.
Corn Snakes (Pantherophis guttatus)
If you seek vibrancy and docility in a snake, corn snakes are a splendid choice. Their colorful appearance and slender build make them an attractive pet. They are neither venomous nor aggressive and tolerate regular handling well. Corn snakes prefer moderate levels of temperature and humidity and are content with a diet consisting of mice or rats.
Garter Snakes (Thamnophis spp.)
These snakes exude energy, curiosity, and liveliness. Their social nature allows them to be kept in groups. While they lack venom, they have a defense mechanism of secreting a malodorous musk when threatened. Garter snakes prefer cooler, drier environments and have an eclectic diet, including fish, worms, frogs, or mice.
King Snakes (Lampropeltis spp.)
For those who appreciate robust and visually appealing snakes, king snakes fit the bill. They possess the unique ability to consume other snakes, even venomous ones. Though not venomous themselves, they may bite or constrict when provoked. King snakes thrive in warm, dry habitats and feast on rodents, lizards, or birds.
Boa Constrictors (Boa constrictor)
Enter the realm of the majestic and imposing boa constrictors, which can reach lengths of up to 10 feet. While they lack venom, they compensate with powerful constriction to subdue their prey. Boa constrictors require spacious and humid enclosures and sustain themselves on a diet of sizable rodents, rabbits, or chickens.
How do I take care of a pet snake?
When it comes to pet snake care, knowledge and preparation are required. You have to set up the right home, ensure a balanced diet, and maintain a healthy environment. Here are the essentials:
Choosing the Right Species of Snake
The first step is to choose a type of snake that fits your preferences, income, and level of experience. Some snakes are more manageable than others, while some may have specific demands. Prior research is important to ensure that you can meet your snake’s specific needs.
Invest in a spacious and secure terrarium with proper ventilation. It should have a secure lid to prevent escape and enough room for your snake to move comfortably and find refuge.
Temperature and Humidity Control
Snakes are cold-blooded creatures, so they rely on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature. Employ heat lamps, mats, or ceramic heaters to create a warm zone in the terrarium. Utilize thermometers and thermostats to monitor and maintain the temperature, which typically falls between 75°F and 95°F. Additionally, maintain appropriate humidity, especially during shedding, which usually ranges from 40% to 70%. You can achieve this through humidifiers, misters, or damp sphagnum moss.
Hydration and Feeding
Ensure a consistent supply of clean water in a suitably deep bowl or dish. Change the water daily and clean the container regularly. Snakes are carnivores, consuming whole prey animals like mice, rats, rabbits, birds, or fish. Purchase frozen or live prey from reputable sources, thawing them before feeding your snake. Feeding frequency varies based on size, age, and activity level but typically ranges from once a week or less. Avoid handling your snake before or after feeding, as it may become stressed or defensive.
While snakes aren’t social creatures seeking human interaction, they can tolerate occasional handling when done correctly. Wait until your snake has acclimated to its new environment and consumed at least four meals before initial handling. Prioritize hand hygiene before and after touching your snake to prevent infections. When picking up your snake, support its body with both hands, avoiding head or tail contact. Remain calm, gentle, and composed, avoiding sudden movements or noises that may distress your snake. Keep handling sessions under 15 minutes and return your snake to its terrarium if signs of discomfort or aggression emerge.
These basic steps provide a solid foundation for snake care. However, it is important to recognize that different snake species may have different needs and preferences. Thorough research and consultation with a qualified veterinarian is important before welcoming a pet snake into your life. Snakes offer charm and reward as pets but demand responsibility and respect from their owners.