After you have decided on what species of snake to get, and where to get it you’ll need to pick the specific snake. This short guide (and video) will help you to know what you are looking for. If you are planning to order your snake online and can’t see it in person a reputable dealer will handle all of this on their end and ship you a healthy animal.
The initial once over
The point of this is simply to observe the snake you are considering taking home as a pet. It takes very little time (10 to 15 seconds) and is meant only to give you a moment to see if there are any obvious issues. For instance a badly kinked spine.
The reaction test
A snake should have an interest in you and your scent. When you put your hand in its cage its tongue should be flickering and it should be moving around. Sometimes instead of moving around it will start to hiss. That’s fine just as long as it notices you and reacts to your presence.
The face and head exam
We’re going to assume that you can pick the snake up at this point. Now look at its head carefully. You want to look for the following:
- Clean clear eyes. Unless the snake is in the middle of a shed and the eyes are opaque they should be clear
- Properly shut mouth. Make sure the jaw isn’t hanging half open or anything.
- No wheezing or clicking sounds coming from the snake. In fact no sounds at all (unless it is hissing)
- No odors coming from the snake’s mouth/face area
The overall body exam
Make sure the snake is well fed. Healthy. Not obese, but not emaciated. Judge based on the size and type of snake. If you can see or feel ribs and/or spine something is very wrong. Could be poor feeding, could be parasites, could be something else altogether. The scales should be in good shape. Some people say a snake feels like fine leather, some say it feels like silk. Whatever, as long as it doesn’t have scabs or boils or any other issues like that. Also look at the belly from tip of the nose to tip of the tail. You want to watch for scale rot, or discharge around the cloaca area.
Please watch the video for more information and details