How do I Keep Snakes As Pets?

Constance Simmons

Keeping snakes as pets requires knowledge, time, and patience. Prospective snake owners must take many things into consideration before making the commitment. Choosing the right species, housing, food, and other supplies are all important when having snakes as pets. Owners must also be knowledgeable about maintaining the reptile's body temperature, its life span, and feeding techniques.

A king snake.
A king snake.

Owning snakes as pets is a long-term commitment because snakes can live for up to 20 years. Once an individual has decided to purchase snakes as pets he must choose the right species. Experts generally recommend corn snakes, king snakes, and ball pythons. Purchasing from a reputable dealer or pet store is also important to ensure that the snake is both captive-bred and healthy.

A shed snakeskin.
A shed snakeskin.

When choosing a pet, venomous and large constricting snakes should be avoided because of the danger that they can create for owners. Some species to avoid include anacondas, reticulated pythons, and water snakes. Wild snakes also should not be considered because they can be difficult to tame.

Snakes require special care.
Snakes require special care.

Determining what size tank to house a snake in is essential. The proper tank will have room for a snake to move around or hide if necessary. Both of these are important in order to keep the snake's body at the right temperature. Snakes are also masters at breaking out of tanks, so ensuring that the closures on the tank are secure is a must. Before purchasing a tank, find information on the specific species that it will house to make sure all the pet's needs are met.

Ball pythons are popular pets for snake and reptile lovers.
Ball pythons are popular pets for snake and reptile lovers.

Creating the proper environment inside the tank ensures that the snake will stay healthy. Some items to include are rocks and branches, depending on the type of snake. It should also contain a water dish that is filled daily.

Reticulated pythons should be avoided when choosing a pet snake.
Reticulated pythons should be avoided when choosing a pet snake.

Like owning other animals, having a snakes as pets requires regular cleaning. Snakes are reptiles, which can make them more vulnerable to skin infections than other species, therefore the proper environment is essential to their health. A brief, daily tank inspection and cleaning can help to maintain the habitat. The entire tank should be thoroughly cleaned once a week.

Keeping snakes as pets can be challenging because they are cold-blooded and require a variety temperatures. To ensure that this is done, snake owners should provide their snakes with a thermal gradient, which is a range of temperatures from one end of the tank to the other. To create this, use artificial heat from something like a heat lamp or heat rocks, combined with shaded hiding areas that can be made from branches and rocks.

One potentially intimidating aspect of having snakes as pets is feeding. The specifics of a snake’s diet, including the type and size of prey, vary depending on the species and its size, but all snakes must eat live or frozen prey. Frozen prey is recommended because live rodents, regardless of size, can injure snakes before they are consumed. Snakes do not eat every day, but the time between feedings varies depending on the snakes age and size.

Most snakes prefer live food that they can kill themselves, although frozen prey is sometimes better, as it prevents the snake from getting hurt.
Most snakes prefer live food that they can kill themselves, although frozen prey is sometimes better, as it prevents the snake from getting hurt.

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