Do you want to keep a pet but haven’t got down to deciding what type it should be?
Do you want something unique that makes you look cool and different?
If you are in that scenario, I want to ask you a question. Have you considered keeping a snake?
Well, it might turn out to be your perfect companion animal, and here are five reasons why.
1. Pet snakes are unique pets. They make you look cool
Snakes make terrific pets, and their popularity in the US has been exploding over the years, but by 2012, only about 550,000 households kept 1,150,000 snakes compared to 43,346,000 households keeping 69,926,000 dogs.
These fascinating and beautiful creatures are not your everyday pet. It takes a special person to understand, live with them, and take care of them. And you can be that cool guy.
2. Snakes have many breeds to choose from
No matter how esoteric your taste might be, you will get a fitting pet snake because they come in incredibly many kinds, sizes, shapes, magnificent colors, and patterns.
Snake sizes range from a few feet to a substantial length. For instance, tiny snakes such as the bimini blind snake, or the ringneck snake grow to only three feet long or less, while their giant counterparts like the ball pythons easily exceed 20+ feet long at maturity.
The colors are just stunning. Some snakes have single uniform solid colors ranging from black, brown, green, yellow, while others have dark or light stripes, spots, blemishes, or other patterns. You get all sorts of colors you can imagine.
3. Snakes are easy to maintain
The initial housing for a snake includes:
- A closed tank (vivarium) to keep the snake comfortable and secure, so it doesn’t slither away. The size of the container depends on the mature size of the pet
- A heat source to provide the right temperature and humidity
- Two hideouts, one for the cold and the other for the warm side of the tank
- A water dish regularly filled with clean water for the snake to soak in
- Bedding (substrate)
Once you set up the initial outlay, maintenance is a breeze.
Feeding and cleaning is child play
Snakes have one of the best work/pay-off ratios. You get so much joy, yet you hardly have to do anything for them. They don’t require a lot of your time apart from the regular feeding- usually one good meal a week when young and 10–15 days as adults.
Cleaning is also quite simple. The snake’s poop once a week or less, and their urine comes out in solid so you can spot clean the cages once per week.
Plus, unlike dogs, snakes don’t need daily walks in the park, you can take them out only when you feel like it.
4. Snakes are less noisy, less messy
Compared to other pets, snakes don’t smell at all, especially if their enclosure is kept clean. Occasionally they may musk when frightened, but if you handle them well and let them have their space, they have no smell.
Plus, snakes are quite clean. They won’t create a mess in your bathroom, scatter things around or even tear your couch.
Finally, snakes are calm, shy creatures that, day or night, want to mind their own business, giving you all the time to do the things you want until you are ready to interact with them. Contrast that with a dog or cat that will be all over you most of the time, needing your attention.
5. You can keep snakes even when you have a respiratory allergy
Pets with fur or feathers such as rats, cats, dogs, and birds produce dander, which causes or worsens respiratory allergies. Not so for snakes because their bodies are covered in scales, so there is no risk of allergy
Now, if you have decided to have a pet snake, and before you go online or to the pet shop to get one, you must prepare yourself and here are basic things you need to take care of:
So how do you prepare before you keep a pet snake?
Things to do before you buy a pet snake
Do your research
Learn everything that you can about snake care to build your confidence, reduce your fear, and make it easy for you to take care of them. Find out the specific requirements on nutrition, housing, lighting, heat, and humidity of the snake species you want to keep because the conditions can vary from one snake species to another.
You can get invaluable information from your local exotic pet shop, herpetological society, zoo, museum, nature center, and during state fairs.
Also, join snake keeper forums and facebook groups to meet other pet owners and learn from their experiences.
Choose the right species for a beginner
The best beginner snakes are those with many of the characteristics listed below:
- small in size
- not stressed easily
- love to be handled
- less nippy
- have calm temperament
- cheap to purchase (within $40–80 range)
And the snakes that readily fit the bill are corn snakes and ball pythons.
Look for a specialized vet within your area that you can quickly reach in case of an emergency and for regular medical check-ups, as not all vets treat snakes. Better yet, consult the vet before you purchase to guide you on the best snake and prepare your expectations.
Find out if it is legal to keep snakes in your town, state, or even within your own, rented, or shared accommodation.
Buy from a reputable pet store or from a good snake breeder to be sure that your pet is captivity-bred and is disease-free at purchase. And buy baby snakes, they cost less, and they need less food.
Now I want to address the elephant in the room — the fear of being bitten.
Will the pet snake bite me?
The right answer is, unfortunately, YES.
Likely the snake will bite you, but it doesn’t have to be. And I say likely because other pets — cats, dogs, hamsters, rats, horses — bite you too. But injuries from snake bites are rare and less painful.
Well-kept snakes and those bred from captive generations can be very docile and may never bite if properly handled.
Why a pet snake will bite you and how to avoid it
Snakes are very predictable, and if you understand their behavior, you can prevent a strike.
A snake will strike for two reasons: if it thinks your hand is food or if it feels in danger.
So to avoid being bitten, you should take the following precautions:
- Wash your hands before handling the snake, especially if you have touched rats, ferrets, or mice, so the snake doesn’t smell them on you and bite.
- Have a separate place (really the snake’s dining room) for feeding. It prevents the snake from thinking that anything entering its enclosure is food, reducing its chance of biting you.
- Handle snakes from when they are babies, so they get used to handling to remove their fear. Interact with them regularly for at least 15 minutes a day until they become comfortable with you.
- Be aware of the snake’s response to handling. An agitated snake will show by whipping its tail, musking, jerking its body, and tensing its muscles. If the snake gets anxious, return it to its box until a later time.
Now i have shown you how the snake can be the pet you need, get one now.