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Pet Snakes provides easy to understand, practical information and facts to help the new snake owner take care of their animals. At Pet Snakes we want to provide information that will help you enjoy your reptile more than ever.

The real cost of keeping a snake


Before you acquire a pet snake give some thought to how much it will really cost. The initial purchase price is only one very tiny part of the overall cost of a snake. Just like any other pet snakes require vet visits, food, shelter, water, and more. Unlike cats and dogs snakes require specially suited environments to live in. Heating pads and lights running 24/7 will run up your energy bills very quickly.

Cost of the snake
This is the cost of the snake itself. It is a onetime fee and can range anywhere from free to tens of thousands of dollars. If you only ever buy one snake this will be the only time you’ll need to count this cost in your figures.
Cost of equipment for snakes
We’ll start by assuming that you aren’t going to build your own snake cage and thus save yourself a great deal of money. Instead we will assume that you are going to buy the equipment from a pet store. Let’s take a look at the cost of this equipment to properly house and secure your snake.

  • Glass aquarium: You’re very likely going to pay at least $100.00 for this piece of equipment alone
  • Under Tank Heater (UTH): Around $25 to $30 for one of these
  • Heat lamp setup: Prepare to spend between $50.00 and $75.00 on this stuff
  • Substrate: About $15 to $25 for a bag of this stuff that will last about 4 to 6 weeks
  • Miscellaneous: Hides, water bowl, climbing branches, fake foliage, and all the rest will cost you about $25 to $50
  • Food: Figure that each mouse you need will cost between $1 and $2 and rats about 3/4 to twice that amount
  • Literature: You’ll probably want to get a book (or 10) about your snake and how to care for it. Minimum cost will be $10 and it will go up from there
  • Vet Checkup: Since you’re a good parent you will get your snake to the vet as soon as possible for a basic health check. Because snakes are a specialized animal you’ll likely pay more than you would for a dog or a cat
  • Heating the room: No matter what you use to heat a snakes cage you’ll also need to factor in the cost of heating the room they are in above and beyond the rest of your house

Now take all of those costs mentioned above and any others you might think of on your own and add them up. Once you do that consider that snakes can live to be 15 to 40 years old and multiply those costs over that amount of time. For example you will go through at least three or four tanks as the snake reaches its full size. Bulbs burn out, food gets eaten, books become outdated. All of which means you’ll be buying it more than once.

Emergency costs of keeping a snake
What if your snake bites someone? Are you prepared to pay their medical bills and lawyer fees if need be? How about if your snake gets sick? Will you be able to afford a vet to take care of it? It’s always a good idea to set aside $800 to $1200 just for covering the cost of snake emergencies that you might not even think of until they happen.
Other costs you might not have thought about
If your snake is a high value animal (let’s say worth over $1,000) you might want to have it insured. You might want to have it insured if it is a large species of snake. You’ll have to buy cleaning supplies. Gas for taking it to the vets or running back and forth to get it food if you don’t breed your own

This isn’t to discourage anyone from getting a pet snake. It is just so that you can see that actual cost of keeping a snake as a pet. Sometimes we find someone giving away a snake and it never occurs to us how much free can really cost.

  • Gary

    What’s the general cost of a) buying a newborn cobra for a domestic pet and b) the cost of keeping it?….obviously de-venomed!

  • PetSnakes

    @Gary – Your mentor, who teaches you how to properly handle venomous snakes, should be able to help you out with costs and a good place to get one. I also am not a fan venomoid snakes. If you want a venomous snake as a “pet” you should learn how to keep them without needing to do that.

  • Jessica

    WOW! that just killed ANY and EVERY hope i had for ever getting a snake!!!! 😛

  • SnakeKeeper

    This just turns people off of buying snakes for pets. 

  • Megyn Ruffrage

    while overall I’d say this is accurate, I really REALLY cringe at the glass enclosure… these are very difficult to keep proper humidity and heat for most snake species and aren’t ideal at all, they’re great for looks but not for the pet. Boaphiles are nice and better maintain the proper husbandry of most snakes, or if you want to go on the cheap side and don’t really care about the look of the tank itself, large rubbermaid containers work great with some light modification. The larger containers can easily house 4′ or so snakes (length=1/2 snakes body)

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