When a person sees my snakes for the first time they usually ask me something like Do snakes make good pets? My answer is always the same, It depends on the person. That’s true of any pet be it cute and cuddly or a reptile. I know plenty of people who love dogs, but a dog would not make a good pet for them. Kind of like when you know someone who loves babies, but having one wouldn’t be a good idea for them.
- A capable snake owner
- Let’s take a look at a few of those attributes that make a capable owner.
- A snake doesn’t “think about”, or “reason out” what it does. It does, or does not based on instinct. Which means you need to be patient and not expect much from your pet snake.
- They don’t come when called. Yes, I’ve seen someone trying to call their snake
- They may bite you. It isn’t an everyday occurrence, but you might get bitten
- They aren’t going to cuddle with you
- They won’t eat on command. In fact they might not eat for weeks
I could add more to that list, but I just wanted you to get an idea of what I mean. Having a snake requires patience.
- As a snake owner you’ll have to overcome cold stares, angry hissing, distrusting glances, direct assaults on your very person, and much more. All that’s not even counting what you’ll have to deal with from the snakes themselves. That’s just a small glimpse of what you can expect from people. Calmness is a necessity just like patience.
- A snake depends on you for everything. Food, shelter, water, exercises (very little necessary), care and everything else you can think of. If you aren’t dependable don’t get a snake. To give you an idea of what dependability means when it comes to a snake consider the following which is only a short list.
- Overall health of the snake. It’s something you should pay attention to each and everyday
- Feeding. Knowing what to feed, when to feed, and how to feed
- Environment. Keeping the snakes home at the right temperature and right humidity can be a lot of work.
- Handling. Your snake should be handled on a daily basis in most instances. You shouldn’t handle it for 24-48 hours after eating and at least 5-7 days after you bring it home
- Cleanliness. Because snakes don’t relieve themselves on a daily basis it can be easy to forget about cleaning their tanks, but you have to keep up with it
- Depending on the kind of snake you get it could live upwards of 20, 30, 40, even 50 years! That’s pretty much a lifetime commitment for most of us! That can add up to not just a lot of time, but also a lot of money. Especially if you catch the bug and become addicted to snakes. Don’t laugh, it happens to a lot more people than you’d expect it would. Either way prepare to be dedicated to the snakes you have for a long time.
Those are three basic traits of a capable snake owner. If you’re missing any of those three traits you might not be cut out for the job at this time.
- An educated snake owner
- You will have to be on top of your game to be a good ambassador to the world when it comes to snakes. You’ll need to know how, why, what, and when. You’ll need to know how to communicate it effectively to others. People will ask all kinds of questions about snakes if they know you have one. Everything from “Isn’t it slimy”, to “Don’t they have salmonella?“, to “How big will it get”, and everything in between. You need to be educated on all things, or as many things “snake” as you possibly can be. By that I mean you should know about your snake for certain, but you’ll need to know about the species as a whole. In fact you should take time to educate yourself about reptiles in general. Not only will you find it very useful in dealing with people, but they are truly fascinating creatures.
- A considerate snake owner
- Be considerate of other people and their feelings towards snakes. If someone is deathly afraid of snakes throwing one in their face isn’t going to make that fear go away. Just because you like them doesn’t mean everyone else does. If you live with other people make sure you clear it with everyone else in the house BEFORE bringing a snake in. While we’re on the subject of being considerate please be sure to ask your landlord. Almost everyday if you spend some time looking around at Craig’s List or other classifieds you will come across several ads with people trying to get rid of snakes because the landlord “suddenly changed their minds”.
It’s critical that you are entirely honest with yourself as you consider if you should or shouldn’t get a snake. They are truly one of God’s most amazing creations and it is a true honor to be able to interact and observe them on a daily basis, but if they aren’t for you then don’t get one “just because”. If on the other hand you’re going to get a snake take a look at my guide on choosing a snake which will help you maneuver through the process.