Are You Looking For The Best Snake For A First-time Owner? Here Are 9!

Snakes can be fascinating and low-maintenance pets, but choosing the right one for your first time owning a snake can be overwhelming.

With so many different species available, it’s essential to consider factors such as size, temper, and care requirements.

Whether you’re looking for a snake that’s easy to handle, visually stunning, or simply fascinating to watch, there’s a perfect snake out there for you.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best snakes for first-time owners, so you can find the perfect slithering companion for your home.

So, if you’re ready to take the leap into snake ownership, read on to discover the best options for first-time owners.

Corn snake

corn snake on branch

My first ever snake was a corn snake; I called him Slash (GnR fanboy).

Many keepers consider corn snakes (red rat snakes) the ‘friendliest’ snake species. The corn snake tops this list for several reasons.

One, corn snakes are calm and very docile, making them not only beginner-friendly but also child-friendly. Another reason the corn snake’s popularity in the snake pet trade is its size.

Corn snakes typically do not grow large; adult corn snakes are usually between 2.5 to 4 feet in length (some occasionally grow to be around 6 feet, though). And they have beautiful patterns.

Due to their relatively small size, you do not need large enclosures to house corn snakes. All you need to conveniently house a fully-grown corn snake is a 20-gallon tank.

Moreover, hiding options in your snakes’ enclosure is advisable for them to curl up. Also, the corn snake’s life span is between 15 to 20 years.

Ball python

Ball python

Another pet snake you should consider as a first-time owner is a ball python. Unlike other constricting snakes, ball pythons are relatively small, with an adult ball python averaging between 4 to 5 feet.

A beginning snake owner will find ball pythons easy to care for and docile. Thus, pet owners will not be putting themselves or anyone around them at risk by keeping ball pythons.

Regarding enclosure size, a 20-gallon tank would do for young ball pythons, while you will need a 30-gallon tank for an adult ball python. Since snakes are escape artists, ensuring the enclosure’s top is securely fitted is advisable.

Additionally, the ball python’s life expectancy varies from 20 to 30 years. However, some can live for 50 years or even more.

Milk snakes

Milk snake

Like their relatives, king snakes, milk snakes are as docile as they are beautiful. You can start with a milk snake if you have not had a pet snake before. You would love it.

Milk snakes are non-venomous and easy to tame. Also, milk snakes come in several morphs and have different color combinations (reds, whites, and blacks).

A fully-grown milk snake ranges from 3 to 4 feet in length. Thus, you would need an enclosure size of 3 feet by 1.5 feet by 2 feet to house an adult milk snake.

In addition, caring for milk snakes is a long-term affair as milk snakes’ life expectancy is around 20 to 30 years.

Children’s python

Children's python

A Children’s python is a non-venomous, docile, and calm pet snake discovered by John George Children (after whom it was named) in the 1800s. One reason for children’s python’s popularity amongst first-time pet snake owners is its size.

A fully grown Children’s python, which is around 3 to 4 feet, is small compared to other pythons. It is one of the smallest pythons in the pet trade.

Due to their relatively small size, they do not require huge cages to house them; 3 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet tank is enough for adult children’s pythons.

Moreover, you need not worry about parting with your pet soon because, once they are cared for properly, children’s snakes can live for as long as 30 years.

Garter snakes

Garter snake

Keeping garter snakes can be easy and rewarding once you meet their feeding and housing requirements. 

Holding them should not hassle a first-time pet owner because you can comfortably house an adult garter snake (usually around 1.5 feet to 2 feet) in an enclosure size of 4 feet by 2 feet by 2 feet.

Alternatively, if you’re prepared for breeding, you can house a pair of garter snakes in a 30 – 50-gallon tank – with tight-fitting lids to prevent them from escaping the cage. 

Garter snakes have several subspecies that you can choose from, and their menu is quite comprehensive. Moreover, garter snakes are not constrictors; thus, they are suitable for families with kids (i.e., child-friendly). 

The garter snake’s life expectancy is around 8 to 10 years.

Mexican Black King snake

Mexican Black King snake

Mexican black kingsnakes are suitable for first-time keepers because their diet is simple, they tolerate handling well, and they are active snakes. This means you will have a great time watching them move around.

As its name suggests, the Mexican black kingsnake is all-black in appearance – including its belly. With an adult Mexican black kingsnake averaging 3 to 5 feet, you would need a 40-gallon tank (at least) to house it.

However, for small ones, a smaller tank (20 gallons) is enough so that it won’t be overwhelmed.

The Mexican black kingsnake’s life expectancy ranges from 20 – 25 years in captivity.

Rosy boa

Rosy boa

Rosy boas are one of the best beginner-friendly pet snakes. They are constrictors, non-venomous, docile, and they rarely get aggressive.

Moreover, they are hardy (i.e., can withstand tough conditions) and docile snake species with beautiful colorations.

Also, rosy boas are manageable; an adult rosy boas is usually around 2 to 4 feet.

While they may not bite you, rosy boas may release a foul smell (musk) whenever they get frightened.

Rosy boas are expected to live anywhere from 20 to 30 years. So, you should be ready to care for it long-term.

Gopher Snake

Gopher Snake

Gopher snakes are pet reptiles that thrive with minimal requirements making them great pets for beginner snake enthusiasts.

You would have a great time handling gopher snakes because they tolerate handling very well.

Occasionally, gopher snakes act aggressively – rearing up, hissing loudly, and rattling their tails, just like rattlesnakes. But they do this to ward off predators, making them even more interesting to watch.

Adult gopher snakes are usually 5 to 7 feet long and can live for up to 30 years in captivity.

Ringneck snake

Ringneck snake

Ringneck snakes are small and easy to care for. For example, you won’t be feeding mice or any large feeder to your ringneck snake; their captivity diet consists mostly of insects.

When fully grown, ringneck snakes are around 10 – 15 inches and would thrive well in a 10-gallon tank.

However, ringneck snakes are not very social; they hide a lot. They’d hide under almost anything in their tanks.

The ringneck’s life expectancy is around 5 to 6 years.

Conclusion; factors to consider when selecting a pet snake as a beginner

There you have it – nine of the best pet snakes for beginners. Now, what are the factors that you should consider before choosing which of the pet snakes above to keep?

Here are some factors you should consider when picking a first snake amongst other snakes;

  1. Personality/temperament: You need to be aware of your snake’s personality or temperament, so you will not be surprised when it begins to exhibit some behaviors. Some snakes are shy; some are docile; some are aggressive, etc. however, with a proper understanding and regular handling, you’d be having great moments with your slithering friend in no time.
  2. Size: You need to watch out for this, especially if you do not have much space in your house. You do not want a situation where your snake will outgrow the enclosure, and you won’t be able to make more room for it.
  3. Feeding: You should also find out if your pet snake species has feeding problems (i.e., does it feed readily, and what are its diet options?)

In conclusion, keeping pet snakes can be so much fun and educational.

You are in for an amazing experience (and a couple of surprises, too) as you explore your pet snake’s personality and understand how to care for it better.

Good luck!

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