If you’ve made the decision to get a pet snake, deciding which one to get might seem an overwhelming or even an impossible task. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing a new pet snake with the foremost being your experience level.
Are you a first-timer whose pet snake will be your first foray into the world of exotic pets and specifically cold-blooded animals? Perhaps you’ve gotten a few other reptile pets under your belt and are looking for a snake that’s a little more of a challenge?
Then, you’ll need to consider the type of snake-owning experience you’re looking for. Are you looking for the easiest pet snake there is to own; something unfussy and forgiving if you don’t get everything right the first few times? Maybe you’re willing to sacrifice physical interaction for a beautiful and rare species that’s the look-but-don’t-touch variety but a perfect choice for breeding.
Once you’ve determined the answer to these fundamental questions, the search for your new pet snake can begin. Here’s our selection of the best pet snakes, ranging from beginner-friendly picks to more advanced options:
Table of Contents
Beginner Level: Corn Snake
Pantherophis guttatus is part of the colubrid family and is a species of rat snake. Widely considered to be the all-time best pet snake for beginners and one of the easiest to care for, it should come as no surprise that we start off our list with the corn snake.
These brightly colored snakes are small and slender-bodied that average a length of 2-6 feet and are renowned for their remarkably docile temperament. Inherently calm and non-aggressive, they do well with humans and are very tolerant of handling.
Beginner Level: Ball Python
Python regius, one of the smaller member of the python family, is a beginner-friendly snake that is equally loved by seasoned reptile pros. There are plenty of reasons why—all of which have contributed to this species being one of the more popular pet snakes of all time.
Aside from their charming demeanor (they’re inherently calm, docile, and friendly without the need for taming), ball pythons are a hit in the way they interact with humans. These snakes are constrictors and instinctively wrap themselves around anything they’re exposed to—including arms, legs, and shoulders. This makes them tons of fun when it comes time for handling.
Intermediate Level: Red Tail Boa Constrictor
Ready to move onto a snake that’s a bit harder in difficulty? Red tail boa constrictors are a great intermediate snake species that are very popular amongst reptile pet owners. They’re so popular, actually, that this species is commonly referred to simply as “boa constrictor”. They’re naturally docile and do well with humans, however, their care requirements make them better suited for those with prior experience.
Despite having a great temperament, their large size can make them challenging for a beginner. Red tail boas can grow to lengths of 8-10 feet and weigh upwards of 22 pounds. That’s a lot of snake to have to maneuver for feedings, move out of the tank for cleanings, not to mention handling. Plus, they’ll curl around any object they find (they are constrictors after all) which could quickly prove too unwieldy.
Their size aside, another challenge of caring for red tailed boas is that being native to the tropical rainforests of South America, they like their tank environment to be hot and humid. Humidity can be a tricky element to manage in a controlled environment, and too much or too little can lead your snake to become ill.
In short, pet boa constrictors have the sweet personality of a beginner snake but their large size means they shouldn’t be underestimated.
Advanced Level: Blood Python
Blood pythons are smaller than most boa constrictors and typically only grow to be about 4 or 6 feet in length. But their manageable size isn’t their only claim to their newfound popularity. These snakes are stunning and offer dozens of various colored morphs to choose from. Even their “default” morph is still vibrant and eye-catching: blood-red scales from which its name is derived.
Initially, blood pythons had a bad rep in the herpetological community. The reason? Their attitude. Rumored to be temperamental and difficult to own, it is only in recent years that these snakes have been able to overcome this unfair reputation to become a popular and in-demand snake species.
However, that’s not to say that blood pythons aren’t capable of being sassy from time to time. They have more of an edge than the other snakes mentioned in our list, which is why they’re strongly recommended for seasoned snake owners with years of experience. Blood pythons can absolutely make for great pets, but it can take quite a bit of time and patience to learn how to avoid their potential aggression.
Ready To Buy Your New Pet Snake?
Although corn snakes and ball pythons are available nearly anywhere that reptiles are sold, you might need to look a bit harder to find some of the more advanced level species. Fortunately, you won’t have to look far. You will find the best selection of snakes for sale at online reptile shops. These specialty pet stores are dedicated to cold-blooded creatures and provide more than just the animals themselves, but all the equipment needed to care for them too.