A common question that we often get from new snake owners is in regards to keeping more than one snake per tank. There are a few schools of thought in regards to this. Here at Pet-Snakes we subscribe to the following. No. We will go into greater detail why we believe it is a bad idea to house snakes together, but for those of you who want the summary version this is it.
It is better safe than sorry. The possibility of cannibalism and the spread of disease are too great a risk to your snake to house them together. Those aren’t the only problems that can arise but they are the most notable. There is also the likelihood of feeding problems creeping up.
- Cannibalism in snakes kept together
- The most (in)famous snakes species when it comes to cannibalism are the King Snakes and the King Cobra. Both regularly make a meal of other snakes. All species of snakes however have to one extent or another a cannibalistic nature. 9 out of 10 times you’ll never see it manifest but at some point it will. It is simply not worth the risk when providing a cage for each snake is so inexpensive and simple.
- Diseases among snakes kept together
- There’s a reason that proper quarantine procedures are needed when new snakes are introduced to a collection. It could literally save you thousands of dollars in vet bills as well as the lives of your animals. When you one day decide to bring a new addition to your snake “family” home and toss it in with an established snake you throw quarantine right out the window. Just because a snake looks healthy at the breeder or pet store doesn’t mean it is. It can take several months for symptoms to develop and that’s why snake owners tend to quarantine new animals from their existing collections for 3 to 6 months.
- Feeding issues when housing snakes together
- If cannibalism and disease aren’t reason enough not to house snakes together then consider feeding. Snakes are by nature solitary animals. The don’t hang out together (except when breeding and brumating) or “pal around”. When you put two snakes together one will quickly become the dominant animal in the cage. You’ll notice it is always the one who eats. The submissive snake won’t eat; the “alpha” snake won’t let it. A snake that is forced not to eat by another snake will quickly deteriorate in terms of health and temperament.
In closing with the exception of breeding when they obviously have to be together don’t risk the health and safety of your snakes. House them one per tank so you don’t have to worry about it. If you can’t afford a secondary setup for another snake then take a look at our tutorial for building a very low cost snake cage. If you still can’t afford it perhaps it is best to wait until you can.