Are you interested in getting your first beginner snake and wondering what the best option is?
Whether you're getting a snake for your children or yourself, you want to know which options you have and make sure the are affordable, easy to manage, and relatively docile and friendly.
There are 3 snakes that fall within these categories which we're going to cover in detail within this article.
Corn snakes, king snakes, and ball pythons are three good snakes for beginners. They stay relatively small (under 6 feet), are docile, and are inexpensive.
Here's the rundown.
1. Corn Snakes
Corn snakes are generally easy-going, aren’t difficult to care for, are manageable in size, and affordable. At maturity, they will typically reach between three and five feet in length though rare six-footers are known to exist. Like all snakes, they are carnivores, and their diet consists mainly of mice.
Corn snakes come in various colors, with many breeders working towards producing a variety of colors and patterns. They are generally excellent eaters and require very little specialized care aside from keeping their tank at the proper temperatures (88-90 degrees basking and 70-75 ambient background).
Like all snakes, they prefer a temperature gradient so they can more easily regulate their body heat by moving from one spot to another. Average household humidity works fine for these snakes as Corn snakes are not a tropical species.
No additional lighting is necessary but if you use it, then go with 12 hours off and 12 hours off cycle as too much will be stressful for them. Visit N.E.R.D’s site for a more complete Corn Snake care sheet.
2. California King Snake
California Kings are hardy snakes that will often live for 10 to 15 years in captivity. Over 20 is rare but not unheard of. They grow to about four feet in length, but five and six-footers are out there as well.
The “normal” pattern is black and white banding, but breeders have managed to manipulate genetics through selective breeding to develop a variety of patterns and colors.
Like the Corn snake, they need 88-90 for basing and between 70-75 ambient. These snakes also do very well with average household humidity. One item of note is that they are cannibals and will eat each other and your other snakes.
Do NOT house them with any other snake, and do NOT house them together.
3. Ball Python
The Ball python is a short, heavy-bodied python with a gentle disposition that makes a tremendous first-time pet snake. They can live to be upwards of 40 years old and generally grow between three to five feet in length.
Some Balls have gotten over six feet, but those are rare. Unlike the previous two snakes, we mentioned the Ball python has some strict requirements to keep it healthy.
First, the temperatures must be kept as close to exact as possible. They require a basking area that is 88-92 degrees, and the ambient background temperature should be 78-80 degrees.
Do not let it fall below 75 degrees, as these snakes can have issues with a respiratory infection. You will also need to keep their humidity between 50-60% and around 70-75% while they are shedding.
The temperature and humidity requirements of these snakes make them good candidates for a homemade tub. It should also be noted that Ball pythons are infamous for going “off feed”, especially in the winter months.
Sometimes they will refuse to eat for three or more months at a time. During this time keep an eye on them and make sure they aren’t losing excessive weight (some is to be expected) and generally healthy.