Beyond the decision of what breed, morph, and sex of snake you are going to get lies the need to decide if you want to get a wild caught, captive hatched or a captive bred specimen.
- What does wild caught mean?
- A snake that falls under this category was collected from its native habitat. In other words someone went out wherever you find the kind of snake you are looking at and caught it. Then they stuffed it (and probably hundreds of others) into some gunny sacks and shipped them to an importer (if you’re talking about exotic species).
Wild caught snakes usually have a whole host of problems which include (but are in no way limited to):
- Poor feeding responses
- Internal parasites
- Ticks, and mites
- Aggressiveness because they aren’t used to people
In addition to the problems listed above there is also the fact that due to succesful breeding of most snakes that are kept as pets there is no need to catch them in the wild. Snakes you get from places like PetCo and PetSmart are often wild caught.
- What does captive hatched mean?
- When someone tells you that their snakes are captive hatched it means that they were born in captivity but the mother was caught in the wild while pregnant or the eggs were gathered and then hatched in captivity. These snakes are generally able to adapt more readily to being pets but they can also have some “issues” that aren’t normally found in hardy stock.
- What does captive bred mean?
- A snake that has been captive bred is one that was conceived, and born/hatched in captivity. These are the best snakes to get as a pet. They generally are hardy eaters, free of parasites and bugs and haven’t been manhandled to the point of aggression. Since they are interacting with people literally from the moment (or within a few hours) of being born or hatched they won’t usually have aggression issues.
A good rule of thumb is that the more experienced you are in keeping snakes the more likely you are to be successful with a wild caught specimen. You should do your best to start out with captive bred snakes until you get some experience under your belt. When you have some then consider moving on to captive hatched and wild caught. It’s not that you can’t handle wild caught snakes without experience but your success rate will be much higher.