Best Pet Snakes (Top 10)

By Snaketracks / August 26, 2019
Best Pet Snakes

Snakes are among the most popular pets in the world. They are colorful, interesting and hardy. Unlike many other pets, snakes don’t require much attention.

Most snakes need to be fed just once every two weeks. You can leave them alone for long stretches and they will be perfectly okay. North American snakes (Colubridae) even brumate during fall and winter.

During that time, they can go without food for several months. Most snakes don’t require special lighting nor do they require supplements as they acquire all the needed nutrients and minerals from the rodents they eat.

Which snakes are the best pet snakes? This question may be impossible to answer as preferences differ. However, we have compiled a list of the most popular pet snakes on the market.  The types of pet snakes included in this article are boas, pythons, and colubrids.

List of the Best Pet Snakes

1. Ball Python

Ball Python with boy
Ball Python held by boy

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Pythonidae
  • Binomial Name: Python regius
  • Common Names: Ball python, royal python
  • Popular Morphs: Albino, pastel, lesser, leucistic, ghost, GHI, and Mojave
  • Adult Size: 36 to 48 inches (0.91 to 1.22 m)
  • Lifespan: 20-30 years
  • Average Price Range: $40 to $400

This lovely snake is one of the most popular snakes kept as pets. The ball python is small and comes in over 3000 variants/morphs. regardless of your preference, there is definitely a pattern and color for you. Colors include brown, red, orange, yellow, blackish, white and many more. There are also several patterns available.

Ball pythons do not need a large enclosure. An enclosure that measures 36 x 18 x 12 inches such as the Exo Terra Glass Terrarium is perfect. These snakes thrive in a temperature range of 96 to 78 F. Use a heat mat to warm the enclosure. The mat should cover a third of the enclosure and be place underneath the enclosure at one end.

The pros of this snake include their small size, docile nature and the countless number of colors and patterns available. They don’t require frequent misting nor do they need UVB lighting. However, they need high temperatures to be comfortable. Providing this shouldn’t be difficult.

Ball pythons are definitely the best snake for beginners.

Check out the in depth Ball Python Care Sheet for more information!

2. Corn Snake

Corn Snake
Corn Snake

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Binomial Name: Pantherophis guttatus
  • Common Names: Corn Snake
  • Popular Morphs: Lavender, hypomelanistic, black, snow, anerythristic, albino, and Okeetee phase
  • Adult Size: 24 to 72 inches (60 to 180 cm)
  • Lifespan: 23 years
  • Average Price Range: $20 to $70

This North American snake is one of the most popular snakes in the world. The snake gets its common name from the checkered pattern (alternating rows of black and white) on its belly.

This resembles corn on a cob. Corn snakes do not need much room and a 20-gallon vivarium has more than enough room to house a small adult. Large female adults, however, require a much larger enclosure.

A temperature range of 85 to 70 F must be maintained within the enclosure. Use a heat mat to warm the enclosure since this snake is a ground-dwelling snake.

As with ball pythons, caring for corn snakes is simple and stress-free. They don’t require high humidity levels, nor do they require high temperatures to be comfortable. While they may not be as exotic as some of the other snakes on this list, they are great pets and are quite affordable.

Check out the Corn Snake Care Sheet for more information!

3. Green Tree Python

Green Tree Python
Green Tree Python

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Pythonidae
  • Scientific Name Morelia viridis
  • Common Names: Green tree python, Chondro
  • Popular Morphs: Biak, Aru, Jayapura, Sorong, Manokwari, and Wamena.
  • Adult Size: 4.9 to 6 feet (1.50 to 1.80 m)
  • Lifespan: 20.6 years
  • Average Price Range: $300 to $500

The green tree python is an interest and eye-catching snake. These peculiar snakes are born yellow, orange or red. As they grow, they change color and become green.

They grow to be quite large so they need a large enclosure. Although they are called tree pythons, they require a wide enclosure and not a tall one as they spend almost all their time resting on a branch.

Acquire a terrarium that measures 36 x 18 x 18 inches if you want the snake to be happy. Popular pet snake breeds of this species include Biak, Aru, Jayapura, Sorong, Manokwari, and Wamena. The morphs are named according to where the snakes originate from.

These snakes require temperatures between 88 F to 78 F. As tropical snakes, they require high humidity levels. Humidity must not fall below 40 percent. You need to mist the enclosure daily.

These snakes are eye-catching and spectacular to behold but they are tougher to care for as compared to both the ball python and the corn snake. They are large and require high humidity levels. Additionally, they absolutely hate to be handled. You can tame them with practice, but they are primarily display pets.

Check out the Green Tree Python Care Sheet for more information!

4. Gopher Snake

Gopher Snake
Gopher Snake

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Boidae
  • Scientific Name: Pituophis catenifer
  • Common Names: Yellow gopher snake, gopher snake, western gopher snake, Sonoran gopher snake, Pacific gopher snake, coast gopher snake, bullsnake, Churchill’s bullsnake, Oregon bullsnake, western bullsnake, western pine snake, Pacific pine snake, blow snake, and Henry snake
  • Popular Morphs: San Diego, Bechtel, Het, RUSTY, Great Basin, Albino, Motley, Patternless, and Dyer
  • Adult Size: 6 to 9 feet (1.80 to 2.75m)
  • Lifespan: 15 to 30 years
  • Average Price Range: $40 to $750

Gopher snakes resemble rattlesnakes although they are nonvenomous and harmless to humans. Wild gopher snakes are pale brown with a row of dark blotches that runs down their back as well as thin dark blotches that run down their sides.

Adults require 30-gallon enclosures, while large females require custom-built cages that are at least 48 inches long such as the Carolina Custom Cages Terrarium. The temperature of the enclosure should range from 75 F to 87 F. The snake requires low relative humidity.

The gopher snake is an American favorite. It is well-known and easy to find in North America. Almost all snake enthusiasts have come across this snake one time or another. Gopher snakes are curious, active and docile, all great characteristics of good pet snakes. They are easy to acquire and are affordable. They may not be exotic but they are just right for beginners and kids.

Check out the Gopher Snake Care Sheet for more information!

5. Rosy Boa

Rosy Boa
Rosy Boa

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Boidae
  • Scientific Name: Lichanura trivirgata
  • Common Names: Rosy boa
  • Popular Variants: Desert, Coastal, Mexican, and albino
  • Adult Size: 1.4 to 3.6 feet (0.44 to 1.12 m)  
  • Lifespan: 15 to 30 years
  • Average Price Range: $75 to $400

The rosy boas are known for their calm demeanor and beautiful patterns. They are endemic to the Americas and are quite easy to find.  Their docile nature is one of the reasons why they are a good pet snake species.

Since they are small snakes, they don’t need a large enclosure. This is a plus since maintenance of a small habitat is easy. Another plus is the low humidity level requirement.

These snakes don’t require special lighting, special substrate or frequent misting. Just heat the enclosure with a heat map and keep a temperature gradient of 88 F to 70 F and the snake will be fine.

The small size, docile nature and low maintenance requirement of this snake make them an absolute hit.

Check out the Rosy Boa Care Sheet for more information!

6. Western Hognose Snake

Hognose snake curled up
Hognose Snake

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Binomial Name: Heterodon nasicus
  • Common Names:  Texas rooter, Texas hognose snake, spreadhead snake, spoonbill snake, prairie hognose snake, plains hog-nosed snake, faux viper, bluffer, blow snake, and western hognose snake
  • Popular Morphs: Anerythristic, super conda, the yellow albino, the albino, axanthics, and snow
  • Adult Size: 1.4 to 3.6 feet (0.38 to 0.51 m)  
  • Lifespan: 15 to 20 years
  • Average Price Range: $40 to $60

The nose of this snake looks like that of a hog, thus their common name. They come in several colors such as tan, brown and yellow with olive oval blotches.

As small snakes, western hognose snake doesn’t need a lot of room which is a pro because it makes cleaning and maintenance easy. They also don’t require high humidity and daily misting.

They don’t need much attention although they don’t mind being handled. They are usually very eager to feed which makes feeding them eventful and quite fun. Lastly, they are really affordable snakes to acquire.

The western hognose snake may not as eye-catching as the ball python or green tree python but they are rewarding to take care of. In fact, colubrids are excellent types of snakes for pets.

Check out the Western Hognose Snake Care Sheet for more information!

7. Boa Constrictor

Boa Constrictor
Boa Constrictor curled up

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Family: Boidae
  • Binomial Name: Boa constrictor
  • Common Names:  BCC, red-tailed boa, boa constrictor, the common boa, and Colombian boa constrictor
  • Popular Morphs: Hypo, albino, anerythristic, ghost, and snow
  • Adult Size: 5.5 to 13 feet (1.7 to 4 m)  
  • Lifespan: 20 to 35 years
  • Average Price Range: $150 to $1000

The boa constrictor is one of the largest snakes in the world. They also have really long lifespans. In fact, they can grow to be over 40 years. If you wish to keep a boa constrictor, you need to be committed. The most popular breed of the boa constrictor is the B. c. imperator also known as the Colombian boa constrictor. These grow to a reasonable size, usually 5.5 feet.

Boa constrictors are majestic creatures that love to explore, however they are not the easiest snakes to care for. They require large enclosures that are humid. They are also expensive to acquire. These exotic and majestic snakes may not be best for beginners but they are a must-have for any snake enthusiast.

Check out the Boa Constrictor Care Sheet for more information!

8. Garter Snake

Garter Snake
Garter Snake

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Scientific Name: Thamnophis sp.
  • Common Names:  Garter snake
  • Popular Morphs: Anerythristic, albino, red albino, Christmas albino, and Iowa albino
  • Adult Size: 2 to 3 feet (0.61 – 0.91 m)
  • Lifespan: 5-10 years
  • Average Price Range: $10 to $40

Garters are popular and come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Some of the colorations and morphs are absolutely stunning. For instance, the San Francisco neon blue morph is one of the most stunning snakes you will ever meet.

This subspecies and very few exist.  Garters are easy to care for and don’t require any special care. They are affordable and several morphs are readily available. They are as curious, as active, as docile, as alert and as colorful as a snake can be.

Check out the Garter Snake Care Sheet for more information!

9. Kingsnake (Common Kingsnake)

California Kingsnake
California Kingsnake

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Binomial Name: Lampropeltis getula
  • Common Names: Kingsnake, eastern kingsnake, bastard horn snake, black kingsnake, black moccasin, Carolina kingsnake, chain kingsnake, chain snake, common chain snake, common kingsnake, cow sucker, eastern kingsnake, horse racer, kingsnake, wampum snake, wamper, thunderbolt, thunder-and-lightning snake, thunder snake, rattlesnake pilot, racer, pine snake, pied snake, oakleaf rattler, North American kingsnake, and master snake
  • Adult Size: 3.5 to 4.3 feet (1.06 m to 1.32 m)
  • Lifespan: 15 to 33 years
  • Average Price Range: $50 and $300

Kingsnakes are not the most colorful colubrids you can find. They are usually all black, black and white, or a mix of brown and white. There are other colorations though.

The Mexican black kingsnake is dark black in color. This coloration is unique and easy to find when it comes to the kingsnake. If you want an inky black snake, then the Mexican black kingsnake is one to consider. It is easy to care for. Adults require a regular-sized 40-gallon enclosure. They don’t require any special care.

Check out the Kingsnake Care Sheet for more information!

10. Milk Snake

Red Milk Snake
Red Milk Snake

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Binomial Name: Lampropeltis triangulum
  • Common Names: Milk snake and milksnake
  • Popular Morphs: apricot, Halloween, anerythristic, albino, and albino tangerine
  • Adult Size: 3 – 4 feet (0.9 m – 1.2 m)
  • Lifespan: 15 – 22 years
  • Average Price Range: $50 to $200

Milk snakes and Kingsnakes belong to the same genus and as such they share similar characteristics. They are both very easy to care for and come in a wide range of colors.

Milksnake species include at least 24 subspecies. The scarlet kingsnake is still considered by many to be a milk snake although it is now a distinct species. Because of the large number of subspecies, milk snakes come in all sorts of colors and patterns.

The most common pattern is the alternating bands of white, black and red; or red, black and yellow. This pattern and coloration resembles that of a coral snake.

Milk snakes require humidity levels of 40 to 60 percent, which is the humidity level of most rooms. They don’t require special bedding. They are docile, nonvenomous, and easy to look after. In all, they are excellent pets for beginners and experienced snake keepers alike.

Check out the Milk Snake Care Sheet for more information!

Conclusion

There is no one best pet snake. Depending on preference, each snake keeper/enthusiast has a different favorite pet snake. With that said, the most popular pet snake species include the ball python, the corn snake, the green tree python, and the gopher snake.

The ball python is admired for its variety. There are thousands of established morphs on the market when it comes to ball pythons. They are widely popular.

The green tree python may not be a docile pet but they are absolutely stunning. I consider them the best display snake you can acquire. They spend their day coiled up on branch for all to see. The corn snake and the gopher snake are American favorites. They are easy to find and easy to provide for.

If we missed any snakes you feel deserve to be on the list, kindly let us know in the comment section below.

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