25 Best Pet Snakes for Beginners

Are you considering bringing a slithering companion into your home? Exploring the world of reptile ownership can be both exciting and rewarding, and choosing the best pet snakes for beginners is crucial for a positive experience. In this guide, we’ll delve into the captivating realm of serpentine companionship, shedding light on the best pet snakes for beginners.

Corn snakes and ball pythons are commonly recommended as the best pet snakes for beginners due to their docile nature, manageable size, and ease of care. These snake species are known for being relatively low-maintenance, making them suitable for novice reptile enthusiasts.

Corn snakes are particularly appreciated for their vibrant colors and active behavior, while ball pythons are appreciated for their calm demeanor and manageable size. Providing a proper enclosure, maintaining appropriate temperatures, and ensuring a consistent feeding.

Importance of choosing the right snake for beginners

Best Pet Snakes for Beginners

Choosing the right snake for beginners is crucial for several reasons. Snakes vary in terms of size, temperament, care requirements, and handling ease.

Here are some key reasons why selecting the appropriate snake species is important for beginners:

  1. Size and Space Requirements:
    • Different snake species vary significantly in size. Beginners should choose a snake that fits well within the space they can provide. Larger species often require larger enclosures, which may be challenging for beginners to set up and maintain.
  2. Temperament:
    • Some snake species are more docile and tolerate handling better than others. Beginners generally benefit from starting with a snake that is known for being calm and less prone to aggression. An easy-going temperament makes handling and caring for the snake a more enjoyable experience for beginners.
  3. Ease of Care:
    • Different snake species have different care requirements, including temperature, humidity, and dietary needs. Beginners should choose a snake with relatively straightforward care needs to build confidence in their ability to provide proper care.
  4. Feeding Habits:
    • The feeding habits of snakes can vary. Some species may be more challenging to feed, especially for beginners. Choosing a snake with simpler feeding habits, such as readily accepting pre-killed or frozen-thawed prey, can make the feeding process smoother.
  5. Health and Hardiness:
    • Certain snake species are more resilient and hardy, making them more forgiving of potential beginner mistakes in husbandry. Selecting a snake that is known for its robust health and adaptability can increase the chances of success for a novice snake keeper.
  6. Availability and Legal Considerations:
    • Availability of the species in your region and adherence to local laws and regulations are important factors. Some species may be more readily available and legal to keep as pets than others.
  7. Educational Resources:
    • Abundant educational resources and community support are often available for popular beginner snake species. This can be invaluable for a novice snake owner, providing guidance on care, behavior, and troubleshooting common issues.
  8. Longevity:
    • Different snake species have varying lifespans. Beginners should consider the long-term commitment associated with keeping a particular species. Some snakes live for several decades, so it’s important to be prepared for the potential long-term responsibility.

Overall, thorough research and consideration of these factors will help beginners make an informed decision when choosing a snake, ensuring a positive experience for both the keeper and the pet. Consulting with experienced reptile keepers, breeders, or veterinarians can provide valuable insights tailored to individual preferences and circumstances.

25 Best Pet Snakes for Beginners

Choosing a pet snake for beginners involves considering factors such as temperament, size, ease of care, and handling.

Here is a list of 25 popular pet snakes that are generally considered suitable for beginners:

  1. Ball Python (Python regius): Known for their docile nature and manageable size.
  2. Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus): Gentle, hardy, and come in various colors and patterns.
  3. Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum): Colorful and relatively easy to care for.
  4. King Snake (Lampropeltis spp.): Various species with different colors, known for being good eaters.
  5. Rosy Boa (Charina trivirgata): Small and generally calm, making them good for handling.
  6. Kenyan Sand Boa (Eryx colubrinus): Small and burrowing, with a calm demeanor.
  7. Garter Snake (Thamnophis spp.): Non-venomous and usually have a good temperament.
  8. Children’s Python (Antaresia childreni): Small and easy to handle, suitable for beginners.
  9. Hognose Snake (Heterodon spp.): Known for their interesting defensive behaviors and relatively small size.
  10. Rat Snake (Pantherophis spp.): Several species available with different sizes and colors.
  11. California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis californiae): Hardy and easy to care for, with attractive color patterns.
  12. Rosy Boa (Charina trivirgata): A smaller boa species with a calm demeanor.
  13. Woma Python (Aspidites ramsayi): Relatively small, with a gentle disposition.
  14. Western Hognose Snake (Heterodon nasicus): Known for their unique appearance and harmless nature.
  15. Green Tree Python (Morelia viridis): Colorful, but more challenging to care for compared to other snakes on this list.
  16. Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus): Arboreal and slender, with a calm demeanor.
  17. Dumeril’s Boa (Acrantophis dumerili): A docile and slow-moving boa species.
  18. Eastern Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum): Hardy and easy to care for.
  19. Spotted Python (Antaresia maculosa): Small and manageable, with a calm temperament.
  20. Brazilian Rainbow Boa (Epicrates cenchria): Colorful, but may require more advanced care.
  21. Sonoran Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer affinis): Mimics rattlesnake behavior without being venomous.
  22. Gray-Banded Kingsnake (Lampropeltis alterna): Attractive coloration and relatively easy to care for.
  23. Eastern Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula): Hardy and adaptable, with attractive patterns.
  24. Black Rat Snake (Pantherophis obsoletus): Known for their calm demeanor and manageable size.
  25. Western Milksnake (Lampropeltis gentilis): Easy to care for and has a variety of color patterns.

Before getting any pet snake, it’s crucial to research their specific care requirements, including habitat, diet, and potential health issues. Additionally, ensure you are comfortable with handling snakes and are aware of any local regulations regarding snake ownership.

Considerations before getting a pet snake

Before getting a pet snake, there are several important considerations to take into account to ensure that you are well-prepared for the responsibilities of snake ownership. Here are key factors to consider:

  1. Research and Education:
    • Learn about different snake species, their specific care requirements, behavior, and size. Understanding the needs of the snake you’re interested in is crucial for providing proper care.
  2. Experience Level:
    • Consider your experience level with reptiles. If you are a beginner, it’s advisable to start with a snake species known for being more forgiving and easier to care for.
  3. Space and Enclosure:
    • Evaluate the space you can provide for a snake. Different species have varying space requirements. Ensure you have an appropriate-sized enclosure, complete with heating and lighting elements.
  4. Budget:
    • Assess the financial commitment involved in snake ownership. This includes the cost of the snake, the enclosure, heating equipment, substrate, hides, and ongoing expenses like veterinary care, food, and utilities.
  5. Time Commitment:
    • Snakes, like all pets, require time and attention. Cleaning the enclosure, feeding, monitoring health, and handling for socialization are all part of responsible snake ownership.
  6. Long-Term Commitment:
    • Consider the lifespan of the snake species you’re interested in. Some snakes can live for several decades, so be prepared for a long-term commitment before deciding to bring one into your home.
  7. Allergies:
    • Some individuals may have allergies to snake dander or to the prey items that snakes eat. Ensure that no one in your household is allergic to snakes or their food.
  8. Local Regulations:
    • Check local laws and regulations regarding snake ownership. Some species may be restricted, and permits may be required.
  9. Veterinary Care:
    • Locate a reptile-friendly veterinarian in your area before getting a snake. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for maintaining the health of your pet.
  10. Handling and Temperament:
    • Consider the temperament of the species you’re interested in. Some snakes are more tolerant of handling than others. If you’re a beginner, it’s generally advisable to start with a species known for being docile.
  11. Feeding Habits:
    • Research the feeding habits of the snake species. Some may prefer live prey, while others readily accept pre-killed or frozen-thawed food. Choose a species that aligns with your comfort level regarding feeding practices.
  12. Emergency Preparedness:
    • Have a plan for emergencies. Familiarize yourself with common health issues in snakes and know how to respond in case of an emergency.
  13. Social and Lifestyle Considerations:
    • Consider how a pet snake fits into your lifestyle and daily routine. Some species are more nocturnal, while others are diurnal. Choose a snake that aligns with your preferences and schedule.

Taking the time to thoroughly research and consider these factors will contribute to a positive and fulfilling experience as a snake owner. It’s important to be well-prepared and committed to providing the best possible care for your new reptilian companion.

Criteria for Beginner-Friendly Snakes

Best Pet Snakes for Beginners

Choosing a beginner-friendly snake as a pet involves considering several factors to ensure that both the snake and the owner have a positive experience. Here are some criteria to keep in mind:

  1. Size:
    • Smaller snakes are generally better for beginners. They are easier to handle and manage.
    • Avoid extremely large or heavy-bodied snakes, as they may be more challenging to handle and require larger enclosures.
  2. Temperament:
    • Choose a snake species known for its calm and docile nature.
    • Avoid highly aggressive or defensive species, especially for beginners.
  3. Handling Ease:
    • Some snakes tolerate handling better than others. Species that are generally more docile and less prone to stress are better for beginners.
    • Avoid snakes that are known to be nippy or overly skittish.
  4. Feeding Habits:
    • Select a species that readily accepts captive diets, such as frozen-thawed rodents. Avoid species that are known for being picky eaters.
    • Consider the frequency of feeding as well; some species eat more frequently than others.
  5. Enclosure Size and Setup:
    • Choose a snake that is comfortable in enclosures suitable for beginners. Some species have simpler habitat requirements than others.
    • Avoid species with complex environmental needs or those requiring large enclosures that may be challenging for a beginner to set up.
  6. Availability:
    • Opt for species that are readily available in the pet trade. This ensures a consistent supply and accessibility of necessary supplies.
    • Rare or exotic species might be more challenging to care for due to limited information and resources.
  7. Hardiness:
    • Beginners may benefit from snake species that are hardy and can tolerate minor mistakes in husbandry.
    • Avoid species that are highly susceptible to health issues or require very specific environmental conditions.
  8. Lifespan:
    • Consider the commitment involved, as some snakes can live for several decades. Choose a species whose lifespan aligns with your long-term commitment.
  9. Legal Considerations:
    • Ensure that the snake species you’re interested in is legal to own in your area. Some species may be restricted due to conservation concerns or potential threats to local ecosystems.
  10. Educational Resources:
    • Select a species for which there is ample information and resources available. This will aid in better understanding their needs and behaviors.

Common beginner-friendly snake species often include Ball Pythons, Corn Snakes, King Snakes, and Rosy Boas. However, individual temperament can vary, so it’s crucial to research and understand the specific needs of the chosen species. Additionally, it’s advisable to purchase from reputable breeders or dealers to ensure the snake is healthy and well-started.

Top Pet Snakes for Beginners

Several snake species are considered excellent choices for beginners due to their manageable size, docile nature, and ease of care. Here are some top pet snakes for beginners:

  1. Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus):
    • Size: 3-5 feet on average.
    • Temperament: Generally docile and easily handled.
    • Feeding: Typically feeds well on a diet of mice or rats.
    • Housing: Relatively simple enclosure requirements.
    • Lifespan: 15-20 years on average.
  2. Ball Python (Python regius):
    • Size: 3-5 feet on average.
    • Temperament: Generally calm and tolerate handling well.
    • Feeding: Can be picky eaters but usually adapt to a regular diet of mice or rats.
    • Housing: Moderate enclosure requirements; need a secure hiding place.
    • Lifespan: 20-30 years on average.
  3. King Snake (Lampropeltis spp.):
    • Size: 3-5 feet on average.
    • Temperament: Usually docile; some species can be more active than others.
    • Feeding: Typically good eaters, accepting a diet of rodents.
    • Housing: Straightforward enclosure needs.
    • Lifespan: 15-20 years on average.
  4. Rosy Boa (Lichanura spp.):
    • Size: 2-3 feet on average.
    • Temperament: Generally calm and easy to handle.
    • Feeding: Typically accepts a diet of rodents.
    • Housing: Relatively simple enclosure requirements.
    • Lifespan: 20-30 years on average.
  5. Kenyan Sand Boa (Gongylophis colubrinus):
    • Size: 1.5-2.5 feet on average.
    • Temperament: Usually calm, burrowing snakes.
    • Feeding: Typically feeds well on a diet of appropriately sized rodents.
    • Housing: Requires a substrate for burrowing; simple enclosure needs.
    • Lifespan: 15-20 years on average.
  6. Garter Snake (Thamnophis spp.):
    • Size: 1-3 feet on average.
    • Temperament: Generally active but usually tolerate handling well.
    • Feeding: Often accept a diet of fish, worms, and amphibians.
    • Housing: Enclosure should have both water and land areas.
    • Lifespan: 10-15 years on average.

When considering a pet snake, it’s crucial to research and understand the specific care requirements of the chosen species. Additionally, always purchase from reputable breeders or dealers to ensure the snake is healthy and captive-bred. Regular veterinary check-ups and proper husbandry are essential for the well-being of any pet snake.

General Care Tips for Pet Snakes

Proper care is essential for the health and well-being of pet snakes. Here are some general care tips for keeping snakes as pets:

  1. Enclosure:
    • Provide a secure and appropriately sized enclosure. The enclosure size will vary depending on the species of snake.
    • Use a secure lid or top to prevent escapes, as some snakes are excellent climbers and escape artists.
  2. Substrate:
    • Choose an appropriate substrate based on the species. Options include aspen shavings, cypress mulch, coconut coir, or newspaper.
    • Ensure the substrate is kept clean and dry to prevent health issues.
  3. Temperature and Lighting:
    • Maintain a proper temperature gradient within the enclosure, including a warm side and a cooler side. This allows the snake to regulate its body temperature.
    • Provide a basking spot with a temperature appropriate for the species.
    • Use appropriate lighting for diurnal species, but many snakes are nocturnal and do not require special lighting.
  4. Humidity:
    • Monitor and maintain appropriate humidity levels, especially for species that require higher humidity.
    • Provide a humid hide or moisture-retaining substrate if needed.
  5. Hiding Places:
    • Include multiple hiding spots within the enclosure, including at least one on the warm side and one on the cool side.
    • Snakes often feel more secure when they have a place to hide.
  6. Feeding:
    • Feed a diet appropriate for the snake’s species, size, and age. Most pet snakes eat rodents, either mice or rats.
    • Offer prey items that are approximately the same width as the snake’s widest part.
    • Establish a consistent feeding schedule. Some snakes may refuse food during shedding or breeding periods.
  7. Water:
    • Provide a clean and accessible water bowl. Ensure it is large enough for the snake to soak if needed.
    • Change the water regularly to prevent bacterial growth.
  8. Handling:
    • Handle your snake regularly to help them become accustomed to human interaction.
    • Be gentle and calm during handling sessions, and avoid handling right after feeding to prevent regurgitation.
  9. Health Monitoring:
    • Keep an eye on your snake’s behavior, appetite, and shedding frequency. Any sudden changes could indicate health issues.
    • Schedule regular veterinary check-ups with a veterinarian experienced in reptile care.
  10. Quarantine New Additions:
    • Quarantine new snakes before introducing them to existing ones to prevent the spread of potential diseases.

Always conduct thorough research on the specific care requirements of the snake species you plan to keep. Individual species may have unique needs and preferences, so tailoring the environment to mimic their natural habitat is crucial for their well-being.


The best pet snakes for beginners are characterized by their manageable size, docile temperament, and ease of care. Species such as Corn Snakes, Ball Pythons, King Snakes, Rosy Boas, Kenyan Sand Boas, and Garter Snakes stand out as excellent choices.

These snakes not only make suitable companions for novice reptile enthusiasts but also offer the opportunity for a rewarding and educational pet ownership experience. Choosing the right snake, coupled with proper husbandry and regular veterinary care, ensures a positive and fulfilling journey into the world of snake keeping. Best Pet Snakes for Beginners.