If you’re looking for an unusual, eye-catching pet, it’s hard to go wrong with a snake. They’re exotic enough to catch people’s interest, yet hardy enough to require minimal care. Here are some simple suggestions that can help ensure the health of the snake and prevent a lot of aggravation too.
- First, take note of how big your snake can grow to be. Most North American varieties only grown to be about four feet long, which is a sensible size. Do not let a pet store employee talk you into buying a Burmese python, because these creatures can grow to be more than thirty feet long, and will require massive cages and tremendous amounts of food. (And before you ask… No, most zoos will not accept these as gifts.)
- Do not scrimp on cage size. A crate that is too small can be very stressful and damaging to your pet. Pet shop clerks will sometimes try to sell you caging that is inadequate in size, so don’t fall into this snare. For adequate comfort, the combined length and width of the cage should at least match the snake’s length. Snakes can grow fairly quickly, so don’t forget to take that into account also!
- Do find out how docile that particular specimen is. Many non-venomous North American snakes are quite docile, but if you are a first-time keeper, then you should probably make sure that your prospective pet can be handled easily.
- Be certain that you select a pet with a hearty appetite. Ball pythons, for instance, make great pets–but they’re notoriously finicky eaters. Corn snakes make great starter pets because they are exceedingly docile and are not picky about what they consume.
- Snakes–really, any reptile–could possibly spread salmonella. The risk involved is quite small, but one should play safe. This is particularly true when young children or people with compromised immune systems are involved. Do read up on reptile hygiene and salmonella before buying your pet.
Obviously, these tips only constitute some basic advice. I recommend that all prospective owners must read up on snake care in general, as well as the specific needs of the species which they intend to buy. Just a little bit of basic research can prevent a good deal of aggravation in the future.