Yes, I have two pet snakes. No, I’m not gothy or a hick or whatever else might come to mind when you think of a snake owner. As you read this, please remember that I’m not an expert and my pets may not be the norm, so if you’re seriously considering buying (or adopting) your own snake, do a lot of formal research and be honest with yourself about how good of a fit they are for your lifestyle.
I just like them, I guess. I held one once before I bought mine and I thought it was gentle, friendly, and cute. They’re great pets for practical reasons too; they eat once a week, they can’t damage your property, they won’t bother you, they don’t need to go out, they’re pretty quiet, they don’t need regular checkups unless they have known health conditions, they don’t smell unless you don’t clean up their droppings or clean their terrariums every few months, and they don’t need daily attention.
Where Did I Get Them?
Reptile conventions take place across the U.S. and they are an excellent place to look! I got my first corn snake at one when I was 10. You’ll find plenty of small business owners to support and people with a lot of first-hand experience who genuinely care about their animals and want to see them in good homes. There are also websites you can order from, but please read the reviews and check out the site extensively to ensure that you’re not dealing with a smuggler who catches wild animals or someone who treats their animals poorly. I bought my second snake from Reptmart and they delivered him overnight, healthy and tame.
What Do They Eat?
Yes, they do eat mice and it’s not fun. My corn snake has always been a good eater and he’s content with a few thawed out adult mice. I just put him in a plastic box with breathing holes and he gobbles them up! My East African sand boa was always pretty fussy and refused to eat for months as a baby- when he finally started eating, he would tolerate nothing but live, day-old “pinky” mice because he likes it when they struggle and it feels natural to hunt and kill his prey. I can always hear them squeaking when he attacks and it feels awful! I’m transitioning him to thawed out, pre-killed mice by feeding him one live and one dead per week. This is not only for my comfort, but his safety; as he grows, he eats bigger mice and adult mice can fight back and potentially injure him. I put him in a paper bag with his meal for about twenty-give minutes and he’s good to go. Overall, snakes are good pets when it comes to feeding. They only eat once a week and are fine with doubling up and then fasting if you can’t feed them for a while. You can go on vacation for a couple weeks and it’s perfectly fine if you give them as much food as if you’d stayed, right before you go.
Can You Play With Them?
A well-socialized snake who’s used to being handled will allow you to hold him, cuddle him, wrap him around your neck, put him in your lap- you name it. I chose two docile species who are easier to acclimate to handling and it’s always fun to take them out of their terrariums and hold them for a bit. You can even put them on carpets, furniture, etc and give them a chance to stretch out and explore. Just be careful not to lose them or let them get stuck- they will try to go anywhere! Snakes aren’t like cats and dogs. They probably won’t seek out your companionship or try to cuddle with you to bond. They like the warmth of your body and they like coming out of their terrariums for a change of scenery.
Do They Care About You?
Truthfully, I don’t know. They are primitive animals and may just associate positive things with me, like warmth and food. I think they understand in their own way that I take care of them, yet I don’t think they’ll ever understand that I love them. But sometimes, when I’ve been holding one of them for a while and he’s calmed down and he’s just sitting in my hand, he stares up at me and his eyes are just so soft and trusting and content, as much as any person or dog’s, and I wonder if he’s telling me in the only way he can that he cares about me too. Maybe I’m just imagining or projecting. For all I know, they look at me like that because they’re figuring out how they’d eat me. But I’d like to think that my snakes are somehow attached to me.
What other questions do you have about pet snakes? Would you ever want one?