Snakes are intelligent and fascinating animals. They make wonderful pets, but they aren’t for everyone! Before you head out to the pet store, take a step back and ask yourself – Is a pet snake right for me?
DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING I WILL EARN A COMMISSION IF YOU PURCHASE THROUGH MY LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU. FOR MORE INFO, PLEASE READ MY FULL DISCLOSURE.
If you’re considering adding a snake to your family, congratulations!
A new companion is always exciting, but this is a decision that should never be taken lightly. This is true for EVERY pet – not just larger animals like dogs.
Sure, a snake may require a smaller space in your home, but they still rely on you for their daily needs.
Furthermore, with snakes, there are some aspects of care that may be a little challenging or unpleasant if you are squeamish.
Are you willing to do what it takes to meet their dietary needs?
Let’s break down some important points for consideration…
Is a Pet Snake Right For Me? Ask Yourself These 7 Questions!
#1 – Are You Prepared for A Long-Term Commitment?
If you’re a new pet home, regardless of the species, you need to consider whether you’re willing to provide a safe, loving home for their full lives.
Your new snake’s lifespan will vary with the exact species, but it should be noted that many can be expected to live over 20 years!
Where do you expect to be 20 years from now?
Are you willing to make decisions regarding your housing and lifestyle that will allow you to properly care for your new family member from year to year?
#2 – Are You Comfortable With Meeting Your Snake’s Nutritional Needs?
Snakes are not vegetarians, nor can they be fed a simple diet of kibble or pellets like many other pets.
Most snakes will eat pre-killed food without a problem.
If you go this route, you need to be prepared for the site of a bag full of dead mice, frogs, or other ‘critters’.
However, some snakes will never take to pre-killed food.
In this situation, are you comfortable with feeding your snake live prey? Are you okay with seeing the circle of life in action?
#3 – Do You Have Enough Space in Your Home?
While your snake will live in an enclosure, limiting its access to your home, you need to ensure that the enclosure is large enough to home a full-grown snake.
Depending on the species you choose, this could be quite large.
Most pet snake owners recommend using glass or Plexiglas enclosures as they prevent snakes from escaping through the holes of a wire cage and are easier to maintain and regulate temperatures.
#4 – Are You Financially Prepared for Your Pet Snake’s Needs?
Often pets that live in a cage or enclosure are depicted as ‘beginner pets’ as they are easier to care for and lower cost.
This overlooks the unique needs of pets like snakes.
Not only will you have to provide a safe enclosure and food for your snake, but they also have other needs that you must meet.
One important consideration is the temperature necessary to keep your snake healthy.
The exact temperature will depend on the species.
Tropical snakes prefer a constant temperature between 80 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day while American snakes prefer a slightly lower temperature between 70 and 80 degrees.
In addition to heating one side of the enclosure, you will need to maintain a cooler side that they can move to when necessary.
This can all be achieved with products like heating pads and heat lamps.
NOTE: The use of lower-cost heating options like rocks may put your snake at risk of overheating or being burned. Most experts advise against leaving these options in your snake’s enclosure.
Finally, don’t cheap out with the cost of purchasing your snake!
There are many questionable individuals selling solely to make a quick buck with no consideration for the health of those in their care.
Take the time to research reputable breeders in your area.
When you do purchase your snake, take the time to do an initial exam, checking for any signs of illness or disease.
Concerns to note include:
- Mouth rot
- Closed eyes
- Bubbles coming from the snake’s nose
- Retained skin
- Inability to take prey during a feeding demonstration
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and advocate for yourself and your potential new pet!
#5 – Are There Children in Your Home to Consider?
While children CAN be taught to care for a snake at a young age, there are additional risks to consider with babies or younger children.
One such risk unique to most reptiles and amphibians is the potential for salmonella.
The younger population is more susceptible to salmonellosis as well as more serious complications resulting from salmonella infections.
It is generally recommended to avoid bringing a snake into a home with children under five, at which point they can be taught to handle their new pet safely.
Younger children can also find themselves in a dangerous situation with larger snakes.
Despite being raised as a pet in your home, larger snakes like pythons still maintain their natural instincts. This includes crushing instincts.
If you do have children in the home, they should NEVER be left unsupervised with access to the snake (even if it is ‘safe’ in its enclosure).
#6 – Are You Looking for A Pet You Can Cuddle and Train?
Some snake owners are able to train their snakes, however, they are very difficult to train and it isn’t always possible.
It should also be noted that ‘training’ in terms of a snake is not the same as that of a dog.
They can be ‘trained’ to adjust to specific routines, but they will not respond to given commands in the way that a dog would.
Additionally, if you are looking for an affectionate pet that enjoys being handled and pet, you should keep searching.
Going back to our original question, is a pet snake the right for me?
Not if you’re looking for that stereotypical emotional attachment that is experienced with cats, dogs and other smaller animals.
Snakes are more independent, often hiding away inside their enclosure. However, they are fascinating to watch when they do emerge to explore their surroundings!
#7 – Are You Willing to Research and Learn About Your New Pet?
Bringing a snake into your home will be different from any other pet you may have experienced in the past.
In order to provide your snake with a healthy, happy home, you will need to research and learn about their unique needs.
This includes proper handling, nutritional information, providing the best possible enclosure and signs of illness or disease.
There is a ton of quality information available online and published in books, as well as experts available to answer your questions and concerns. Make the most of it!
Are you willing to take the time out of your busy schedule to educate yourself on these topics?
Can you admit that you don’t know what you don’t know, humbling yourself to the role of a student with your snake’s best interests in mind?
You need to be 110% honest with yourself… If you’re not willing to put the time in, you may not be ready to be a pet owner.
Have you ever wondered ‘Is A Pet Snake Right For Me?‘
If so, what questions did you ask yourself to help reach a well-informed decision?