When it comes to finding the best pet snakes, it can be a bit of a challenge. Finding out what the best snakes for beginners are, or what the best pet snake is for slightly more experienced snake owners is only made more difficult by all the contradictory information online.

This article was created to solve that exact problem. We’ve listed some of the best pet snake breeds along with some useful information about the different species. If you’re looking for the best pet snakes to have as a pet, then read on!

This list is in no particular order and doesn’t just focus on beginner snakes. We’ve left out some of the more challenging species, but there’s a good selection here that should help you find the right pet snake for you.

Image of a ball python talking to the camera and saying that he's the best pet snake

Ball pythons

Ball pythons certainly are some of the best pet snakes for beginners. These snakes are extremely docile and aren’t prone to biting either.

When it comes to handling, these snakes are great. They need to get used to being handled first, as with all animals, but after a little while, ball pythons can grow very accustomed to handling.

Fun fact: Ball pythons are actually called King’s/Royal pythons in some countries. This is down to the fact that, in the past, emperors and kings used to wear them around their necks. This was possible due to their extremely calm nature. You can sometimes barely tell they’re real!

Ball pythons get their name from the fact that they can roll up into a ball when they feel threatened. This helps to protect themselves.

Ball pythons make great beginner pet snakes due to the fact that there’s loads of information about their care online. Because of their popularity, there is a lot of information available about their husbandry (care).

The only downside to ball pythons is that they are so docile that they can sometimes have problems when it comes to feeding. There are a lot of things you can do though to get them interested in food again and with some good research, this is usually a problem that’s easily overcome.

Due to their popularity, there are a lot of breeders which makes them widely available. Normal morphs can usually be bought for less than $100, but there are examples which reach well into the thousands if you’re looking for something special.

Ball pythons feed mainly on mice and apart from food and lighting, don’t have many added monthly costs. This makes them very accessible to the reptile keepers that are just starting out.

Quick question: Have you ever wondered whether snakes have tails or not, and if they do, where their tail starts? Our post answers that exact question: Do snakes have tails?

Image of a corn snake who's sure his species are one of the best pet snakes available.

Corn snakes

Another one of the best pet snakes for beginners is the corn snake. Corn snakes, together with the ball python, are one of the best pet snakes you can get. They’re also the most popular which makes gathering information about their care all the easier.

Corn snakes have a good food response which makes them relatively easy to feed. They tend to have fewer problems than ball pythons when it comes to feeding. They’re also a little less timid than ball pythons.

Corn snakes are very inquisitive too! This makes them a lot more interesting to watch and makes for them to be a great display animal. After some getting used to, corn snakes are great snakes for handling too.

There are many different varieties of corn snake which adds to their popularity. With an ever-expanding range of morphs, there’s a lot to choose from.

These snakes are hardy and relatively easy to care for. They don’t have many crazy needs to keep alive and they aren’t very prone to disease either. They’re slightly smaller in stature than ball pythons, but lengthwise can actually surpass ball pythons in some cases.

Being such popular pets, there’s no shortage of these snakes available in the pet trade. A normal corn snake won’t set you back a lot. Their care isn’t very expensive either which makes them a great snake for beginners.

Image of a western hognose snake digging

Western hognose snake

The western hognose snake is another colubrid that’s relatively popular to keep as a pet. Their funky looking head makes them extremely unique which makes them even more appealing as pets.

These snakes are a relatively small type of pet snake. They don’t grow to be much larger than 2 or 3 feet in length. These ground dwellers like to have quite a bit of room to move around though, so a minimum of a 30-40 gallon terrarium is still advised.

These snakes love to dig and providing them with a medium for digging in gives them a great opportunity to demonstrate natural behavior.

When it comes to handling, the western hognose is certainly up there as one of the best snakes for handling. Once they’re used to being handled, they’re extremely docile compared to some of the other snakes on this list.

These snakes are classed as mildly venomous, but the chances of you getting bit are extremely low. The western hog nose doesn’t generally bite, and if it does the bite is less than impressive. Some mild swelling is usually all you’ll experience unless you’re allergic.

Western hognose snakes are relatively hardy snakes and are becoming more easily available. This hasn’t always been so in the past, but their growth in popularity over the years has sparked quite a few breeders to start breeding them.

They’re relatively hardy pet snakes and aren’t too expensive to maintain either. This, together with this just being a fantastic and unique animal make it a great addition to this list!

A king snake hiding in the grass

King snake

The king snake is another snake that couldn’t be left out of the list of the best snakes to keep as pets. King snakes are one of the most popular pet snakes, which makes it easy to find information on their care. This is always one of the first things we look for when adding a species to our list of the best pet snakes.

As well as ease of gathering information about their care, they are also great display animals that demonstrate a lot of unique behavior.

There are many different kinds of king snakes, but in general, they all make for great pets. The California kingsnake is one example and a very popular variety of king snake. They’re hardy snakes and their care isn’t all too challenging either.

Lighting isn’t required but can be used in some cases. These snakes do need some sort of heating though like most other snakes. This isn’t an issue and it’s easy to regulate once you get the hang of it.

They also don’t need a very large enclosure, but a bigger enclosure is always better for your reptile. This gives them the possibility to move around more and enjoy their environment. By giving them various hiding spots and places to climb and explore, you can ensure that your king snake loves life in their terrarium.

These snakes generally feed well and are ok when it comes to handling once they get used to you. They’re easy to find captive bred and aren’t expensive to buy or maintain. Truly a great pet snake!

Image of a garter snake

Garter snake

Next on the list of the best pet snakes is the garter snake. This snake is a magnificent pet snake and one that many reptile keepers are eager to keep as pets.

Garter snakes are hardy snakes that don’t die on you easily. As long as you provide proper husbandry for your pet garter snake, they should live to a ripe old age.

They’re also easy to care for which makes them a great pet snake for beginners. They do very well in a simple enclosure and aren’t extremely sensitive when it comes to temperature or light.

Garter snakes are actually venomous! This isn’t something people often think when talking about garter snakes, but it’s true. They are only mildly venomous though and do not pose any sort of risk to humans.

Fun fact: Did you know that garter snakes are one of the few species of snakes that gives birth to live young? These snakes don’t lay eggs like other snakes, which makes them kind of special. Rattlesnakes are also snakes that don’t lay eggs and live in America.

Garter snakes are good when it comes to handling, but they’re very active. This can cause some challenges around younger or less experienced keepers but isn’t anything to worry about.

Another thing that makes the garter snake a bit more of a challenge is the fact that they produce a stinking discharge when they feel threatened. Once your snake gets used to being handled, it shouldn’t musk at all, but it can be a bit of a pain when they aren’t used to it yet.

Garter snakes are great feeders and tend to eat a lot. Also, if you don’t like to feed rodents, garter snakes actually survive well on various worms and fish. This is great if you’re not too keep on feeding rodents. Feeding fish and worms also comes with its own problems though.

One last thing to mention about garter snakes is that they’re quite the escape artists. Make sure to get a terrarium that seals off properly to prevent these snakes from escaping. They’re a very active species which is one of the things that makes them great pets. However, this also means that they’re more likely to escape if not provided with the right enclosure.

All in all, garter snakes make for great pet snakes. They’re not all too expensive too keep and they’re not tricky to care for either!

Rosy boa

The rosy boa is another one we couldn’t leave off of our list of the best pet snakes. Not only are these snakes beautiful, but they’re great to care for too.

Even though these aren’t as beginner-friendly as corn snakes, they’re still great pet snakes. Caring for these boa’s isn’t all too difficult, and with some research, you can provide good husbandry without all too much effort.

These snakes aren’t very large either but they’re still large enough to prevent them from being all too delicate.

One great thing about these snakes is that they have a great feeding response. This prevents a lot of the problems you sometimes encounter with snakes like ball pythons.

This feeding response can cause some boas to be a little nippy when you first get them. However, once they’re used to you, these snakes are great for handling and are wonderful display animals too.

Rosy boas aren’t expensive pets. That being said, the initial purchase can get expensive depending on where you live and the morph you’re looking for.

All in all, a great pet snake if you’re looking for something different but still manageable to care for.

Kenyan sand boas

Next on the list is another boa. The Kenyan sand boa is another less-common pet snake that’s great for beginners.

Where to start…

One of the things that makes these snakes great for beginners is that they’re extremely hardy pets. As long as you don’t do anything drastically wrong, caring for these snakes successfully isn’t a problem.

They’re also great feeders and this takes away some of the challenges when it comes to snake keeping. They eat mice just like the other snakes on this list.

When it comes to handling, Kenyan sand boas are great too! They aren’t aggressive and only bite tend to bite when they mistake you as food. Some may become a little grumpy from time to time, but once you get to know your snake this doesn’t pose a problem.

These snakes are also widely available and are easy to breed. This makes them even better pets since their availability keeps prices at normal levels and ensures there’s enough information available about their care.

Since these snakes aren’t that active they don’t require an all too large enclosure. This makes them more accessible and easier to find a place for.

Image of a gopher snake

Gopher snake

Gopher snakes are the last snake we added to this list of the best pet snakes. They’re another snake that’s relatively easy to care for and accessible to beginners.

These snakes are another hardy snake species whose care is easy to master with the right dedication and research. This snake doesn’t feed as often as other snakes either which makes it ideal if you’re unavailable for a few days from time to time.

Gopher snakes are also one of the best pet snakes for handling because of their generally calm temper. They’re also unlikely to bite you once used to you and make for perfect pets.

When it comes to price, gopher snakes are similar to the other snakes on this list. Maintenance costs are pretty low and it’s only the one-time purchase of the supplies and the snake itself that will cost a little more.

Gopher snakes are a lot harder to find than ball pythons and corn snakes though. This makes it a bit of a challenge to buy one and may also drive the price up in certain areas.

These snakes don’t require an all too large tank and their enclosure is comparable with a corn snake’s enclosure.

One of the things that makes these snakes unique (except for the fact that they’re not as common as pets), is that these snakes can actually imitate rattlesnakes. If they feel threatened, gopher snakes can rise up and shake their tale just like a rattlesnake to try and scare an intruder off.


So, there it was! We hope that this article has been useful to you and has helped you pick a pet snake that’s right for you.

If there’s anything you think we might have missed, or you have any questions, please feel free to shoot us a message!

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