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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.

Housing snakes together


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.

  • stacey

    i posted a post 2night about my 2 baby corns that escaped, no my corns have always been in the same viv since they hatched and they seem to get on fine when we feed them we take them out one at a time and put them into a portable viv as we found they started striking at our hands when we went to handle them because they where usto us putting our hands in the vivs with food no we dont have any problem like that anymore. do you think its ok to keep them together so long as they show no problems untill i move out of my mums as she hasnt got the space to put another viv as we currently have 3 big ones x

  • PetSnakes

    Stacey,

    I never encourage anyone to house snakes together except when you are trying to breed them and even then only for a relatively short time. Snakes aren’t social, they don’t live in communities and they don’t tolerate being confined with other snakes all that well. If you have to you have to but there’s always a risk that something will go wrong. What I’d do in your case is get a plastic sterelite tub and make a cage for one of them out of it. It’s not great for display but it works.

    How to make a snake tank

  • Mickeyevans

    i agree with all u have said, and i know about snake hibernating together. i have put a mexican milk snake with a corn snake. the corn is so much larger i don't think there will be a problem. since it was the milks gage he followed the corn around at first and checked him out. the corn did not want any part of the milk and u can see that the milk saw the corn as potential prey. they have settled down now and lay together very calm. i know i will have to be care feeding because if they both start eating one mouse the larger one may continue up the mouse on onto the smaller snake. no chance of disese because both were raised from very young to about 3 y o each. will keep u posted, i think the corn and milk can be housed together because of the size difference and the smaller one is very strong and can defend himself to say the least. i will keep u posted

  • AllAboutRingnecks

    I am very sorry, but I disagree. I personally keep my two snakes together. One is a male brown snake, and the other is a female ringnecked snake. Both are very sweet, and they have never shown any signs of agression. They are both babies, and the even snuggle with eachother. They also get “upset” when seperated. Is it really that important to seperate the two?

  • Alex-lizzy

    Personally I think my snakes enjoy being together. I have two ball pythons in the same 4′ X 2.5′ X 2.5′ enclosure and even with all the room, separate basking areas, and even different hides available they seldom choose to be apart choosing instead to curl up together. They are fed separately of course in different feeding tubs. This is not to say that all snakes should be kept together but my ball pythons choose to stay together most of the time even when there is so much room to be separate. I still think it is probably much safer to keep most snakes individually but I truly believe my ball pythons like each other.

  • Gingerswindell00

    I personally have raised or had snakes all my life and currently have 3 ball pythons (1 male regular 5 yrs old, 1 female het pied 2 yrs old, and 1 female spyder 1 yr old) all living together and they get along great, when we take them out they each get their own love time with us then we all have fun on the floor with a snake pile and they get along great.  I also have a 10 yr old burm. and a 2 yr old columbian red tail boa but they of course are housed seperately.

  • http://pet-snakes.com Pet Snakes

    You do realize your snakes don’t “snuggle”, or get “upset”, right? They are animals, not people. And moreover they are animals with very low level (survival) brain function.

    It’s up to you how important it is to keep them separated but the fact is that any snake can turn into a cannibal at any time. If you are comfortable with that and aren’t going to wonder why when one of them eats another then I won’t try to change your mind.

  • http://pet-snakes.com Pet Snakes

    Like I always say if the risk isn’t great enough for you to change how you do things I won’t try to change your mind. Just don’t be entirely shocked if something goes wrong.

  • http://pet-snakes.com Pet Snakes

    Sorry, Alex-lizzy they don’t “like” each other. Snake’s are incapable of that higher brain function of like and dislike. They are used to each other but that’s different than liking. If you separated them there wouldn’t be any separation anxiety.

  • mario

    like some of the people here i too hous my female and male ball python toquether and no matter what any “expert” says they do like each other you have you beliefs i have mine you might be able to show me science test that “proof” snakes dont have that higher thinking but quess wat buddy science FAILS  a lot more time than it actually is succesfull the only one the really knows the anwers to it all is the lord JESUS

  • Red

    my two corn snakes get along well, they always share the same hide, if one is taking out the other gets very active as if its looking for the other one and will not calm down until the other one is put back in the tank. I feed them in separate tanks to insure they both will eat. My female after eating is  very active and will not calm down until I reunite them, then they both go back into one hide and sleep together with no problem. 

  • Joseivan

    Hi:

    I got two ball python living together, they actually lived well and they acclimate very well.  One day i commit the error to feed them while both of them were in the same place.  Suddenly one of the catch the other half of the mice that the other already have it in her mouth.  That was the baddest experience because one grab the mice also the mouth of the other.  I was trying to separate them without damage each one.  One snake get the food the other did not eat at all until the next day

    Reading this article I’m considering to get another terrarium for the other.

    Thanks

  • Kymber

    I have a few breeding pairs! I have Murray darlings, jungles and hypo bredli all living in there pairs! If you animals are eating each other then ur obviously not feeding them right! If one gets sick the other one will too 90% because it would be from poor hygine in the tank! As for them showing no compassion my jungles sleep together all day it’s very cute :) and my hypo pair my male gets very defense of the female. They are in large tanks and have the room to separate
    If they want space. Also my animals are feed out of the tank in separate feeding bays do they don’t associate the tank with food. Just to note that people to obviosly have no high brain copasity and clearly think humans are all mighty and that animals are not capable of emotion! I pity the small minded!

  • Termato

    The key fact you must pay attention to here is: “They are both babies”

    They are going to get along until they get a little bigger. Then you are going to run into some issues most likely. The chances of this happening are decreased by you housing them together from babies BUT it will not outweigh the snakes natural instinct to want to be solitary. 

    IMO I would separate them. Sooner than later.

  • Lcpljames2000

    I currently house an adult california king snake and red tailed boa together in the same aquarium. They have had a peaceful romantic relationship for the past four years. Both snakes love each other and on occasion have casual sex. Kind of weird, but what else do they have to do. I believe separating my snakes would cause unnecessary stress on which would force them to wither away in depression. I strongly believe housing snakes together is better for the self esteem and way of live. I mean, How would you feel if you were locked in a cage alone?

  • http://pet-snakes.com Pet Snakes

    Uh… um ok…

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