There are a lot of perks to having pets. Kids who take care of pets grow up to become responsible people. Getting used to foreign materials that can be contracted from animals can help boost a person’s health. Lastly, pets make for good companions, so whenever you’re down in the dumps your animal pal will be right there to comfort you. While most people would opt for the more popular furry choices such as dogs and cats, the unconventional few would go for the more exotic kind. Although weird and potentially harmful, some people are drawn to having snakes as pets. They’re not exactly the huggable kind but they are quite fascinating creatures and petting them pushes the limits of the usual pet care regimen. The following questions are what you should be asking when you’re about to take that giant leap as a pet owner.

Am I fit to take care of a snake?

Before you make the final decision of having snakes as pets and welcoming them into your home you must see to it that your house can accommodate the crawling, scaled creature. Find a well-ventilated area where you can put the snake’s cage. Make sure that the house is not full of holes or dark hiding spots in case your snake turns out to be an efficient escapee.

Snakes require long term commitment. The average snake can live for as long as 20 years. Remember that their diet consists of prey animals such as rodents so make sure you can afford to provide them with what they want to eat—for 20 years or so.

If there are children living with you, think your decision thoroughly. To avoid accidents instruct your kids to behave well around the snake. Even when you think the snake is already tamed it can still pluck up a mean bite if threatened. Defense mechanism is only natural to them.

What are the things I need to buy?

Apart from buying the pet itself, there are other things you are required to purchase to ensure your pet of a satisfactory and healthy life. Here is a list of things you must buy in preparation for your new pet.

  • Cage

You will need a nice, escape-proof cage to house your snake in. Snakes like to explore and once they find even the smallest passage they will use it to escape. Also make sure that the locks are tight.

  • Heating devices

Unlike mammals, snakes cannot regulate their own body heat from inside therefore they rely on the different levels of temperature in the environment. If the weather is too cold for your snake, turn on a heating device to warm the snake up.

  • Snake hides

Snakes naturally like to hide and they require more privacy than other pets. Snake hides are miniature rocks and logs where your snake can conceal itself from onlookers. Your snake will get stressed if they are over exposed, leading to some serious illnesses if not helped. Any material can be used as snake hides, even the ones you can find in your homes.

  • Water bowls

Snakes get dehydrated, too. But unlike dogs they won’t be able to bark when they want to drink fresh water, so make sure you place water bowls inside their cages so that they can drink water whenever they want.

What type should I choose?

Before you decide to bring a snake home you must always remember the fact that even in a tamed state snakes are still one of the dangerous animals in the world. There are different species of snakes and each of them has different eating habits, sociability, venom toxicity and such. Choose a snake whose characteristics fit your lifestyle, and consider the people living with you as well.

As a beginner, it is advisable that you go for a captive bred snake. Snakes born in the wild can be really difficult to tame and are more likely to contract parasite infection. Snake experts have identified some species that can be recommended to new pet owners. Here’s a list of the species you need to get familiar with.

Corn snake – Because its scales have attractive colors and patterns, the corn snake is easily the more popular choice, and a good one, too! Corn snakes do not grow very long. It is rare to find one that is measured at over six feet.

These brightly colored reptiles aren’t picky eaters. They’re okay with frozen or pre-killed hamsters, mice, and rats. Even when fed with the same frozen food every day they will not complain. The most important thing is that corn snakes are rather docile, and with regular training they can easily be tamed.

If the corn snake is properly cared for they can live for a long span of time.

King snake – Like corn snakes, king snakes tend to be very docile and are easy to tame. As they breed well even in captivity, they are a popular hit among breeders.

They are cannibalistic in nature so they prefer their food live and fresh. They also have the tendency to prey on other snakes living in the same container with them.

Being a constrictor snake, the king snake will strangle its prey to death before it can feed on it.

When it comes to size the king snake grows up to an average of 6-7 feet. And as for appearance, king snakes have different coloring and patterns on their scales. You can get one that is striped, speckled or banded.

The California king snake is the most popular among the king snake species.

Ball python – This snake has a unique defensive strategy from which it got its name.

When threatened, the snake will curl itself into a ball. The ball python’s dark outer covering is not reflective of its peaceful temperament.

They rarely bite. Size wise they do not grow longer than 5 feet. If properly cared for, ball pythons can live for about 25 years in captivity.

The only problem with ball pythons is that they are particular with their food.

If you continuously feed them fresh rodents, they will get used to it and will not touch frozen ones.

Gopher snake – The gopher snake is extreme docile and easy to handle.

This type of snake can grow longer than the previous ones on our list. The gopher snake is not so much choosy with its food.

Their scales are not as decorated as the king snakes or corn snakes. They can be colored with black, brown and yellow.

They are also constrictor snakes.

Which snakes should I avoid?

It is highly dangerous to keep venomous snakes. Beware of water snakes, green-colored snakes, tree pythons, reticulated pythons and large constricting snakes. Some people-friendly snakes closely resemble venomous snakes like the milk snake and the coral snake which looks almost identical but the latter is far more lethal than the former so it’s best to do your homework beforehand.

Why choose a snake over other pets?

Although it sounds dangerous to have snakes as pets, they are actually really cool and interesting creatures to have. Snakes are independent. They do their own thing on their own terms and all you have to do is provide them the materials for it.
Cleanliness is always an issue for pet owners. Snakes are good to have because they do not leave their fur all over the place and they don’t like to chew on your furniture. Although they do shed, it is easy to clean after. Snakes are also hypoallergenic.
They don’t need to eat 3 times a day. Because they only eat at least twice a week, they poop only as much, too.