There are many different varieties of snakes available in the pet trade these days. This presents an intriguing question: what are the finest little pet snakes for novices who demand little room in captivity?
While certain snake species are difficult to care for due to their natural behaviors, eventual size, or level of aggression, there are a surprisingly large number of snakes that are ideal for beginners.
If you’re thinking about getting your first pet snake and want to know what the best possibilities are, keep reading for my personal “hot list.”
1. Corn Snakes (Pantherophis guttatus)
A wild-type corn snake is an excellent tiny pet snake for beginners.
Corn snakes are among the most popular little pet snakes, and with cause.
Corn snakes, often known as “red rat snakes,” are generally highly placid and forgiving pets. As a result, they are one of the easiest – and hence greatest – pet snakes for a novice to manage.
Because this species has traditionally been “the” snake that most new owners begin with, they have been bred in captivity for decades.
This provides two advantages for the goalie. To begin with, newborn corn snakes are available at most decent reptile stores on a regular basis. Not only are tiny corn snakes adorable, but they are also considerably less expensive than purchasing an adult snake.
Buying a hatchling also helps you to get your snake habituated to handling early on, ensuring that it remains tame and gentle throughout its adult life.
The second advantage of having so many corn snakes born each year is that there are now dozens of various hues (dubbed “morphs” in the trade) available.
While I must admit that I am a bit dull and still favor the normal “wild type” of corn snake, it is now totally available to get corn snakes in an almost endless mix of reds, oranges, pinks, whites, blacks, and brown.
Here are a some of the more common corn snake variants that could appeal to a first-time keeper:
Amelanistic Corn Snake
Anerythristic Corn Snake
Snow Corn Snake
Butter Corn Snake
2. Ball Python
The ball python is an excellent first pet snake.
I’ll be honest with you: ball pythons are one of my all-time favorite snakes, and they remain so to this day.
I believe this is one of the greatest pet snakes for a variety of reasons.
When new acquaintances learn that I keep pythons in my bedroom, they frequently envision one of the larger pythons – possibly a burmese or reticulated python from the zoo.
They believe I have a vivarium the size of a small apartment and that every time I open it, I endanger my life. Nothing could be further from the truth in actuality.
To begin with, ball pythons are normally just 5 feet long. As a result, they make an unusually tiny pet snake. Perhaps even more intriguingly, they are often rather stocky and sturdy-looking snakes.
This can make them a lot more appealing as a pet. Furthermore, they move more slowly than corn snakes, making them ideal for handling.
Then there are all the numerous color morphs to choose from. As with corn snakes, this means that there are colors to suit practically any taste, ranging from the original “wild type” to a wide range of reds, whites, yellows, and browns.
Here are a few of the most common color morphs:
Albino Ball Python
The albino ball python, like other species, lacks dark pigmentation, which eliminates the blacks and browns from the body. The result is a red-eyed snake with yellow/orange saddles on a soft cream backdrop.
Piebald Ball Python
The piebald ball python is an enthralling snake with varying patches of white and colorful portions. Each of these piebalds is unique since they are all distinct.
3. Hognose Snakes
The hognose snake is an excellent first pet reptile for novices.
Hognoses are little pet snakes, reaching only around 3 feet in length (males can be even smaller than females). As a result, they’re one of the greatest pet snakes for those who don’t have a lot of space for vivariums. The hognose gets its name from its distinctive upturned snout, which resembles a pig’s snout.
To be honest, hognoses are significantly less common than either ball pythons or corn snakes, so you may have to do a bit more digging around for a specimen if you choose one of these tiny beauties, but it may be well worth the effort.
The hognose is an uncommon but simple-to-care-for pet snake because it is readily handled, durable, and easy to care for, and it is modest in size.
Because the hognose snake is less widespread than many of the other species here, it has not experienced as much breeding. This might imply not just somewhat higher pricing, but also a significantly narrower selection of color variants.
A kingsnake is an excellent tiny pet snake for beginning snake keepers.
King snakes are a wide group of snakes with a lot of variety within that category. Examples of small pet snakes include the lovely chocolate-and-cream Californian kingsnake and the brilliantly patterned Florida King Snake (the first species of snake I ever personally bred).
A Caucasian mid-adult guy holds a California Kingsnake.
Many of these snakes develop to quite small sizes, with my Florida kings reaching about 3-4 feet in total length. This makes them much smaller than ball pythons or other corn snakes.
The black king snake and the lovely mountain king are two less commonly observed king snake species.
Many king snakes, unlike corn snakes and ball pythons, are not innately passive. If you buy a snake that hasn’t been handled on a regular basis, it may get nervous and may even defecate on you to get you to put it down.
In other words, while choosing a king snake, it’s vital to get the specimen out and get to know its distinct characteristics. It’s also critical to handle these snakes on a frequent basis to maintain them familiar with the process.
5. Milk Snakes
A milk snake is an excellent first pet. Continue reading to learn how to care for them in captivity.
Milk snakes are, in my view, one of the greatest tiny pet snakes. After more than a decade of caring for milk snakes, I still believe they are one of the most visually appealing kinds of snakes available, with their magnificent red, white, and black rings.
Few other snake species come close to the overall look and color contrast found in these snakes.
They’re also strong feeders that seldom stop eating (unless a moult is approaching), allowing them to develop swiftly. This is not a cause for concern, as many milk snake species seldom grow to be more than 4 feet long. As a result, they are simple to accommodate in the home.
I’ve also discovered that milk snakes are quite unlikely to bite. Even after all these years, I still haven’t had a specimen go for me, which is quite an accomplishment. Indeed, based on their dispositions, milk snakes appear to be significantly more inclined to try to flee than to bite.
However, you should be aware that milk snakes may be rather fast when they want to be. Whereas a ball python cage can usually be opened and the small snake scooped out without any difficulty, when you open your milk snake tank, you’ll need to be on high watch.
Gently remove the hide and then grab your snake quickly but gently. Remember: the odds of getting bitten by a milk snake are almost nil, but if you move your gaze away from them, they may escape in the blink of an eye.
As a result, while they are beautiful and little pet snakes, they may not be the greatest choice for youngsters or beginners. A more “plodding” snake, such as a ball python or corn snake, may be easier to care for and manage.
Milk snakes may be genuine escape artists owing to their small size and speed. When I originally bought my first pair, in my late teens, I would always come home to find the cage empty and the snakes lounging by the heater in my room.
In other words, if you’re going to maintain milk snakes, make sure you have a decent quality vivarium with no ugly gaps or holes through which these natural escape artists may make a run for freedom!
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