So you have decided to purchase a snake and you view it as a pet and a companion, a low maintenance animal that will grow and enjoy life with you. Something you can hold in your hands and show to friends and family members. An animal that is on the unusual side and reflects your independent nature, and sets you aside from main stream society. All of these reasons are valid and a snake can be a very interesting subject of conversation. As for low maintenance, a snake can be considered low maintenance after the initial set up has been completed and you have learned the basics of caring for the species of snake you have chosen. Snakes are like humans, they come in all types and sizes, when in the infant stage (less then 6 months of age) all snakes are cute, easy to handle and require minimal care. Like people, snakes grow and some grow and grow and grow, prior to purchasing your pet you must complete a short study program to ensure you purchase the right snake for your needs, in short you must become a smart shopper. reptile expo
First you should look at your housing situation, if you live in an apartment complex, a snake is not for you. Should it escape, you have let yourself in for lawsuits filed by neighbors as well as being asked to move. Snakes do not belong in a multi family type dwelling and that is that. If you live in a single family home, you have met the number one requirement. A snake will reach adulthood at two to three years of age, how large of a snake do you want to own if purchased as an adult? two feet, three feet, twenty-eight feet? Most people new to the hobby want a snake that will max out at five feet and weigh less then seven pounds. This is the ideal size for a beginner, at this size a snake is easy to handle and does not cost an arm and a leg to feed. Deciding upon the correct species is the next question. Boa constrictors are not very good beginner snakes mainly because they tend to have an attitude and often bite when annoyed. Being bitten by a non venomous snake is really no big deal, it is far less painful then an injection at the doctors office and when washed with soap and water, it is forgotten in a day or so. Members of the Colubridae family are snakes that include King snakes, Garter snakes etc. These animals are also not generally for beginners as they require a complicated habitat set up and must be fed more often then other species. Next is the python family, this family has members that reach lengths of thirty feet so you must use caution when purchasing a member of the python family. One python that is ideal for a beginner is the “Ball Python” it grows to six foot tops and weighs about seven pounds tops. It is a popular snake and easy to find in reputable pet stores everywhere. This species of snake is extremely tame and rarely if ever bites. They seem to show affection once they become familiar with their keeper and readily crawl around in their owners hands. After forty years of handling reptiles I would wholeheartedly recommend a Ball Python for a beginner. Other reasonably good choices for a beginner are the Rainbow Boa, the Rubber and Rosy Boas, A California King Snake and a Corn snake, all make excellent starter snakes.
Prior to purchasing the snake you must purchase its habitat and accessory items. You should take them home, set the habitat up, obtain the snakes food supply, I recommend you purchase a three month food supply and then freeze it. When the food supply gets down to one month left in the freezer, purchase another three month supply and use the oldest first. The following is a list of items you will need to maintain a snake and keep it in good physical health for a life time. Before you go any farther, a snakes life time can run from ten to thirty-five years! Ask yourself if you are really prepared for this long a commitment, and please be honest with yourself. Snakes grow very fast during the first 18 months of their lives. The 18 inch snake you purchase today will double in size before its first birthday so purchase a tank that will accommodate a 36 inch snake, it will save trips to the pet store in the future and money in the long run. OK here are the items required for a Ball Python (Also any other snake)