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Top 5 Most Docile Snakes

These are the top 5 most docile snakes a new snake owner can get. They are all great options for beginners, but can also be wonderful additions for existing owners.

As unbelievable as it might sound, owning a pet snake is way less demanding than owning any other kind of animal, like dogs for example.  Below are some great beginner snake options since they are docile. You won’t have to worry too much about being bitten.

As follows is a list of what we believe are the most docile snakes together with our best beginner snake recommendations.

Recommended Books

Quick Reference Section

Docile Snakes


Corn snake wrapped around branch

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Binomial Name: Pantherophis guttatus
  • Common Names: Corn snake,red rat snake
  • Adult Size: 61-180 cm (3 to 5 feet)
  • Lifespan: 6-8 years (in the wild); 15-20 years (in captivity)
  • Average Price Range: $20-40 – common orange/brown;
  • Popular Morphs & Price Range:  Candy Cane Corn Snake: ~$49, Okeetee Tessera Corn Snake: ~$99, Coral Snow Corn Snake: ~$149

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size: 20-gallon long tank
  • Food: pre-killed mice or small rats, although the latter is only suitable for larger corn snakes
  • UVB Lighting: an overhead incandescent heat light is preferred
  • Temperature Range: about 70 to 85 F (21 to 29 C)
  • Humidity Requirement: between 40-50%
  • Book: Corn Snakes: The Comprehensive Owner’s Guide

Corn Snakes are currently seen as good beginner pet snakes as they are widely accessible, not too expensive, available in different morphs, and are very easy to maintain as they can survive in almost any condition.

When choosing a corn snake, a captive-bred specimen is the best choice and shouldn’t be too difficult to find, since corn snakes breed fairly readily in captivity.

When it comes to cost, a Corn Snake is on the cheaper side. Common orange/brown corn snakes typically cost between $20-$50 dollars. However,  if you are looking to get a fancy albino morph or other exotic morphs, you should be ready to spend about $150 to $200 and even more.

They’re not difficult to handle can be a little tricky and may try to escape from their enclosure. One little trick you can do is use a clip like the Zilla cage clips making sure the top stays on if that is the type of enclosure you have.

Check out the Corn Snake Care Guide for more!


Pink Albino Western Hognose Snake
Pink Albino Western Hognose Snake

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Binomial Name:   Heterodon Nasicus; Leioheterodon; Lystrophis
  • Common Names: blow snake, bluffer, faux viper, plains hognose snake, prairie hognose snake, spoonbill snake, spreadhead snake, Texas hognose snake, Texas rooter, and western hognose snake
  • Adult Size: the largest variety (known as the eastern hognose) reaches just over four feet in length but most species kept in captivity are less than two feet long
  • Lifespan: 8 to 10 years
  • Average Price Range: $ 60 to $ 80
  • Popular Morphs & costs:  Speckled Hognose Snake: ~$99, Anaconda Phase Hognose Snake: ~$149, Super Anaconda Phase Hognose Snake: ~$399

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size: 20-gallon long tank
  • Food: will start out eating gut-loaded crickets dusted with calcium powder but will graduate to pinkies, fuzzies, and possibly adult mice, depending on how large your species grows
  • UVB Lighting: on a 12-hour cycle (but it is not completely necessary)
  • Temperature Range: a good temperature gradient should be provided with a basking area reaching 85 to 90 degrees and a cool side not dropping below 70 degrees.
  • Humidity Requirement: around 25-30%
  • Book: Hognose Snakes as pets

These snakes are very popular as pets. The reason why is because of their size: they don’t grow very big. However, size depends on the sex, but typically Hognoses only grow between 24-36 inches. So, if you’re looking for a pet snake on the smaller side, this is a great choice.

Hognose snakes tend to be timid but for some reason, during their adolescent stage, they can be a little more aggressive. This only lasts for a short period and they will revert back to their docile nature afterward.

Even though they are venomous they rarely ever bite humans. And in case they do, they will just cause your finger to swell but nothing more.

Check out the Western Hognose Care Guide for more!


Ball Python

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Family: Pythonidae
  • Binomial Name: Python regius
  • Common Names: Ball python, Royal python
  • Adult Size:  36-58 inches (depending on if males or females; females are larger)
  • Lifespan: Specimens have survived for over 40 years in captivity, with the oldest recorded ball python being kept in captivity 47 years and 6 months until its death in 1992 at the Philadelphia Zoo.
  • Average Price Range: $20-80 (average snake)
  • Popular Morphs & Price range: Bumble Bee Ball Python: ~$149, Albino Ball Python: ~$179, Blue Eyed Leucistic Ball Python Cost: ~$349, GHI Mojave Ball Python: ~$549.

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size: 30-40 gallon tank
  • Food: common rats, mice and some accept chicken
  • UVB Lighting:  do not require as they are primarily nocturnal; however the use of a full spectrum light with low UVB output, such as 2.0 bulb can be beneficial for promoting regular photo-periods and displaying the snake to its best colors.
  • Temperature Range: 88 to 96 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Humidity Requirement: 45 to 75%. You can measure the humidity with reptile hygrometers.
  • Book: Ball Pythons (Complete Herp Care)

Ball Pythons are among the most commonly owned pet snakes: they are the smallest of all the other pythons, are non venomous and very easy to keep. Most ball pythons are happy to be taken out of their enclosure and are very docile, not too active, and relaxed. On top of it, ball pythons are very cheap.

Aside from the docile nature, the smaller relative size, and low price, Ball Pythons are popular because of the wide variety of morphs they come in. There are hundreds of different patterns. Depending on the morph, Ball Pythons usually cost $40-80 on the low end and up to $500 on the high end. Some morphs are extremely rare, making them much more expensive.

Check out the Ball Python Care Guide for more!


Kenyan Sand Boa

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: beginner
  • Family: Boidae
  • Binomial Name: Eryx colubrinus
  • Common Names: East African sand boa, Kenyan, Egyptian sand boa
  • Adult Size: females reaching little more than 2 feet in length and males tend to be smaller, rarely exceeding 20 inches in length.
  • Lifespan: 20 years and over
  • Average Price Range: $75 to $200
  • Popular Morphs & Price range:  albino $75 to $200, anerythristic $75 to $200, snow $ 150, paradox $ 150 to 200, striped  $ 100, tiger $100.

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size: 10-gallon tank
  • Food: baby Kenyan sand boas typically prefer live pinky mice to get started, but with maturity, they almost always switch to frozen/thawed prey. Even with dead food, the prey is usually constricted.
  • UVB Lighting: do not require
  • Temperature Range: the cooler side of the enclosure should be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A drop to the mid-70s at night is acceptable.
  • Humidity Requirement: Kenyan sand boas are from the dry sections of Africa and do not need much moisture in their air at all.
  • Book: East African Sand Boas Care Guide

Kenyan sand boas make great beginner pets due to their manageable size, passive personality and simple captive care requirements. Kenyan Sand Boas are constrictors and don’t use venom to kill their prey.

The naturally occurring color of Kenyan sand boas is beautiful as it is, but there are also plenty of color morphs to choose from.

Check out the Kenyan Sand Boa Care Guide for more!


California Kingsnake
California King Snake

Quick Facts

  • Experience Level: beginner
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Binomial Name: Lampropeltis getula californiae
  • Common Names:  
  • Adult Size:  36-48 inches
  • Lifespan: over 20 years
  • Average Price Range: $30-80

Quick Care Requirements

  • Tank Size: 20-gallon tank
  • Food: rodents, usually mice, live or well-thawed frozen
  • UVB Lighting: no need
  • Temperature Range: 70/75 Fahrenheit on the cooler side, and 85-90 on the warmer/basking side
  • Humidity Requirement: between 30 and 60%

California Kingsnakes look really cool and like Corn snakes, are widely available. They are good beginner snakes because they have a docile nature, cool patterns, are easy to maintain and don’t get too large (usually, they will grow somewhere in between 36-48 inches long).

California King Snakes do typically have two distinct morph looks. One has brown and creme bands all down the length of its body. The other morph has a solid brown body, with a single creme line going down the center of it’s back all the way from head to tail. Both morphs usually have a white underbelly.

Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t keep more than one California Kingsnake in an enclosure. The reason is that this breed of snake is known to eat other snakes. So, to avoid any traumatic experiences, it’s best to keep these guys separated from any other snakes.


These are some of the most docile snakes out there and we believe are a great option for any snake enthusiast.

They’re easy to handle so you can actually enjoy them and they are perfect to getting you comfortable handling snakes so you can advance to other snake species later on if you want to.

As a beginner snake pet owner, be sure to read up on the care guides and even consider picking up a book or two on the snake you want to keep so that you are well informed on their care requirements.

We love hearing from you, so be sure to let us know in the comments what your first snake was! And if you know of other docile snakes, be sure to share too!

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