Pet Snakes That Stay Small?

For many reasons, snakes tend to intimidate people. Their legless, muscular bodies and some species constricting capabilities can make people’s skin crawl; however, others find snakes fascinating for these same reasons. If you are reading this article, you might be curious about snake ownership but conflicted about where to start. While you find snakes to be a suitable pet, you dont want a species that is difficult to care for or extremely large.

Luckily, first-time snake ownership doesnt need to be an overwhelming endeavor, as there are numerous species that make excellent pets. The last quality is very important because dealing with a snake that refuses to eat can be stressful and require some experience to resolve.

Size: 14 inches to 3 feet (females are larger) Availability: Common Temperament: Docile. Not only are these snakes unique in their appearance, with their stout body and upturned snout, but they also possess interesting behaviors. These animals have impressive bluffing behavior when they feel threatened; they hiss, flatten their body, and may even play dead as a last-ditch effort.

These snakes are simple to care for and can be kept in a small, inexpensive enclosure (20-gallon tank or plastic bin); however, they do require supplemental lighting. In the wild, this species feeds mostly on frogs and lizards, so naturally, they can be finicky when younger, which is the case with most snakes. While these unusual snakes are not readily available like the others on this list, they are surprisingly easy to care for and are the only species that can be considered to be a “vegetarian.”

African egg-eating snakes, as their name suggests, feed exclusively on eggs and require no whole animal prey. The only catch is that you will need a reliable source of extra small quail or finch eggs that are preferably fertilized. These eggs can be found in Asian food markets, online, and sometimes bird breeders will provide them; however, some of these are not fertilized.

The website Reptilinks.com sells small eggs that are fertilized, although some have fully developed chicks that cannot be fed. When using frozen eggs, defrost in warm water and lightly shake until you detect “sloshing” on the inside, then feed immediately. If you can locate their food, these small snakes make lovely pets that have no front teeth but rarely bite anyway.

Size: 20 inches to 2 feet long (females are larger) Availability: Common Temperament: Passive personality; some individuals can be flighty. The cage doesnt even need to include much dcor since these snakes prefer to burrow, and excessive items can get in their way. Most Kenyan sand boas have a reasonable disposition, although some individuals can be flighty; however, they do not prefer to bite in defense.

Bites can occur; however, if the snake mistakes your hand for food, but this can be avoided with proper handling. Size: 3648 (longer specimens have been observed) Availability: Very common Temperament: Many are calm; some can be flighty and may bite. The following are some milk snakes that are common and easy to care for in captivity when purchased as older, established feeders:

Some owners opt to offer a brumation period to enhance the snake’s health and feeding response. Quinn handling a California King snake by Tim Pierce is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Some species will take fish, eggs, or even meaty products like Reptilinks for those who are not comfortable with feeding rats and mice.

It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional.

What comes up in most peoples minds when they envision pet snakes are giant Anacondas, fearsome cobras, and enormous pythons. For many reasons, such snakes with muscular bodies intimidate people and make their skins crawl. But the truth is that not all pet snakes are larger than life.

Image Credit: Frauke Feind, Pixabay Although pet snakes have varying costs depending on the type, you may end up spending a fortune to buy the smallest of all. But one sure thing is that itll exempt you from the accompanying extra expenses on the enclosure, decorations, and heating elements.

The snakes sizes cant allow them to constrict humans or other animals to death, which means you wont experience an injury at any point. Image Credit: gliciafernandaalmeida, Pixabay Snakes are cold-blooded, meaning they cant regulate their temperatures internally and require you to ensure they are warm and the enclosure is not too humid. These conditions, with husbandry issues, affect smaller snakes more than giant serpents, and youll be lucky if you notice symptoms like mucous or retained sheds early.

Similarly, their tiny bodies are prone to injuries, attacks from live rodents, and mishandling by children. Image Credit: gayleenfroese2, Pixabay Lifespan: 15 30 years Size: 17 44 inches Temperament: Docile, gentle Price: $30 $40 Rosy Boas are gorgeous little snakes that are easy to take care of, except for the extra attention when maintaining their temperatures.

Image Credit: sipa, Pixabay Lifespan: 6 8 years Size: 2 6 ft Temperament: Docile, hardy flighty when young, hyperactive Price: $20 $50 Selective breeding allows breeders to develop these snakes to virtually any color youd want, although youll naturally find them in orange shades. These small pets are generally affordable, easy to maintain, and rarely have feeding issues in captivity.

Image Credit: cubialpha, Pixabay Lifespan: 15 20 years Size: 14 84 inches Temperament: Calm, flighty, can bite Price: $99+ Some of these species have red, black, and yellow bands that mimic poisonous coral snakes. Lifespan: 8 10 years Size: 15 36 inches Temperament: Squirmy, docile, defensive but rarely bite Price: $300 and above

This species popularity has increased over the years due to their distinctive facial features and sizes that make them adorable. Western Hognose snakes have a stout body and upturned snouts (nose), giving them a pig-like appearance. Western Hognose snakes thrive on toads and amphibians as their natural diet when not in captivity.

Image Credit: reptiles4all, Shutterstock Lifespan: 25+ years Size: 20 32 inches Temperament: Passive, can be flighty Price: $99+ These small boas are native to Northern Africa, and you can pick that they love burrowing in the sand from their name. Their habitats also require minimum decor items, just a few substrates like calcium, play sand, coconut mulch, and aspen they can burrow.

Image Credit: Pong Wira, Shutterstock Lifespan: Unknown Size: 6 inches Temperament: Somewhat dull, docile Price: $30+ These snakes have a bright orange and yellow underside, while the upper side can range from grey to black. Ringnecks are slender and smooth, and most people assume they are baby snakes, mainly because their average length is 10-15 inches.

Image Credit: Susan Flashman, Shutterstock Lifespan: 20 30 years Size: 36 48 inches Temperament: Friendly Price: $125+ Image Credit: 2968288, Pixabay Lifespan: Up to 4 years Size: 10 13 inches Temperament: Active, wiggly, do not bite Price: $22+ Worn snakes are small, burrowing reptiles with shiny scales and black, grey, or brown backs and pink or whitish bellies.

Snakes are often misunderstood and receive negative attention from most people, but they can make excellent companion pets if given a chance. Oliver (Ollie) Jones A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his masters degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.

When a typical person envisions a pet snake, they probably imagine a ginormous Burmese python or reticulated python. Perhaps even a girthy ball python (opens in a new tab) or even a long corn snake.

The price of the actual snake is highly variable, but you will typically spend less money on the animals enclosure, decorations, hides, substrate, the heating element(s), and food. Anything with a mouth and teeth can bite, and while most of these snakes are generally docile, none of them are capable of inflicting a severe wound.

Even with the most docile of giant snakes, a keeper also risks pulling a muscle while handling their 150-pound serpent, but thats improbable with these little guys. Husbandry issues with the enclosures temperature and humidity can affect a small snake more than it would a large one, and it can be more difficult to see symptoms like mucous or retained sheds. Imagine trying to find a snake that is small enough to fit into virtually any opening in your house.

Now that weve covered the universal pros and cons of owning a small snake lets dig deeper into individual species! Also, please note that all of the information listed pertains to the animals care after it reaches its adult size. ), heavy-bodied Minimum Enclosure 20 Gallon Long Aquarium or Equivalent Diet 1 Adult Mouse Every 7-10 Days Temperature 70-75F (21-24C) on Cool Side
84-86F (29-30C) on Hot Side Humidity <50% Lifespan 25+ Years Average Price $99+These beautiful little boas have a special place in my heart, and I currently own two of them myself.

Their small size, calm nature, and enthusiastic feeding response make them a decent beginner species. One of the MOST common husbandry mistakes is allowing the humidity in their enclosure to get too high, which can cause respiratory and fungal diseases. ), heavy-bodied Minimum Enclosure 20 Gallon Long Aquarium or Equivalent Diet 1 Adult Mouse Every 7-14 Days Temperature 75-80F (24-27C) on Cool Side
85-90F (29-32C) on Hot Side Humidity <50% Lifespan ~20 Years Average Price $300+Several viral videos have showcased their amusing defensive behaviors, including hooding up like a cobra and playing dead.

This small species is native to the United States and their name comes from the upturned scale on their rostrum (nose) , which gives them the adorable boop-able and pig-like appearance. Aspen is an EXCELLENT substrate choice that will allow your hognose to burrow to their hearts content. They even have a unique tooth utilized for popping toads, which inflate as a defense mechanism.

Western Hognose snakes are becoming increasingly popular as pets , and they are readily available in captivity, and there is a variety of morphs available. ), heavy-bodied Minimum Enclosure 10 Gallon Aquarium or Equivalent Diet 1 Hopper or Adult Mouse Every 7-28 Days Temperature 78-80F (26-27C) on Cool Side
90-95F (32-35C) on Hot Side Humidity 30% Lifespan 25+ Years Average Price $99+ Kenyan sand boas are native to Northern Africa. Any substrate that they can burrow in would work calcium or play sand, aspen, and coconut mulch are some popular choices, depending on your preferences regarding cleaning and appearance.

Kenyan sand boas will readily eat mice and possess a docile temperament . ), proportionate body composition Minimum Enclosure 20 Gallon Long Aquarium or Equivalent (or larger for large individuals) Diet 1-2 Large Adult Mouse Every 7-14 Days Temperature 72-78F (23-26C) on Cool Side
85-89F (29-32C) on Hot Side Humidity 40-60% Lifespan 15+ Years Average Price $99+Milk snakes are a small species of kingsnake that are endemic to many parts of North, South, and Central America. The New Mexico Milk Snake is one of the smallest species, topping out at around eighteen inches.

Their red, black, and white or yellow bands are meant to mimic the venomous coral snake to ward off would-be predators. Each subspecies requires slightly different care, so make sure to do some additional research if you decide on this species. ), heavy-bodied Minimum Enclosure 10 Gallon Aquarium or Equivalent Diet 2-3+ Pinkies or Fuzzies, As Accepted* Temperature 70-74F (21-23C) on Cool Side
78-82F (26-28C) on Hot Side Humidity <50% Lifespan 25+ Years Average Price $250+The rubber boa is native to the Western United States.

They live in the coldest environments for any boa species, and they can even digest meals in temperatures as low as the sixties. It can be helpful to hide the prey under some cover to encourage the rubber boas natural tracking and hunting instincts. ), proportionate body composition Minimum Enclosure 40 Gallon Aquarium or Equivalent Diet 2-3 Fuzzy Mice Every 7 Days* Temperature 70-75F (21-24C) on Cool Side
80-85F (26-29C) on Hot Side Humidity 80-100% Lifespan 9+ Years Average Price $50+The primitive sunbeam snake is native to Southeast Asia and some regions of Indonesia.

Still, this species rarely bites , and its iridescent black scales are a significant appeal for many hobbyists. They can be difficult to transition to a diet of rodents; they prefer to eat amphibians and other small reptile s. Even if they do accept mice, its essential to stick with young feeders because of this snakes narrow jaw composition. Coconut fiber substrate holds moisture very well and allows the snakes to burrow to their hearts content.

Despite these husbandry challenges, the rainbow-like sheen of their scales and fabulous temperament attract many snake keepers . ), heavy-bodied Minimum Enclosure 10 Gallon Aquarium or Equivalent Diet 1 Fuzzy Rat Every 14 Days Temperature 77-82F (25-28C) on Cool Side
85-89F (29-32C) on Hot Side Humidity 70-80% Lifespan 10-20 Years Average Price $200+Their common name comes from the viper-like appearance of their coloration and head shape, and perhaps even their somewhat defensive nature. Their preferred habitats in the wild are very wet, so it is crucial to keep the humidity high in their enclosure .

Even a water bowl large enough to swim or rest in might be an appreciated source of enrichment for your viper boa. Viper boas do enjoy digging, so be sure to provide at least two to three inches of any substrate that is easy to clean and retains moisture to maintain high humidity levels. As with any other species, it can be helpful to rub the scent of their preferred prey on the mouse that you intend to feed.

This species has recently declined in popularity as a pet due to increased importation restrictions . ), proportionate body composition Minimum Enclosure 20 Gallon Long Aquarium or Equivalent Diet 1 Large Adult Mouse or 1 Small Rat Every 7-14 Days Temperature 78-80F (26-27C) on Cool Side88-90F (31-32C) on Hot Side Humidity ~50% Lifespan 20-30 Years Average Price $125+Dont let the image above fool you Childrens pythons, while perhaps on the larger side when compared to the other snakes on our list, make a fantastic beginner species . Theyre typically a terrestrial species, so enclosure floor space is the MOST important , but they will climb if given a chance.

Provide them with several different decoration choices to hide in and explore, because they are very active and curious snakes. They usually accept rodents with few problems, but you may need to scent pinkies with anoles for hatchling childrens pythons . This species is a common pet due to its friendly nature, small size, and simple care, so they are readily available for purchase from captive breeders.

), slender-bodied Minimum Enclosure 10 Gallon Aquarium or Equivalent Diet 1-3 Pinky Mice or 1-3 Anoles/Geckos Every 5-7 Days Temperature 78-82F (26-28C) on Cool Side
84-85F (29-30C) on Hot Side Humidity 50-80% Lifespan 10-15+ Years Average Price $60+This small, semi-arboreal species is native to Indonesia, New Guinea, and the Bismarck Archipelago. Most individuals wont accept rodents as a food source, so they will need to be fed appropriately sized frogs and lizards . Their enclosure should include branches for climbing, ground-level hides or cover, and a large water bowl to soak in.

), proportionate body composition Minimum Enclosure 20 Gallon Long Aquarium or Equivalent Diet 1-2 Large Adult Mice Every 7-14 Days Temperature 70F (21C) on Cool Side
90F (32C) on Hot Side Humidity 40-60% Lifespan 20+ Years Average Price $50+As their name suggests, African house snakes are found in Africa. They are popular amongst snake keepers due to their small size, voracious appetite, and hardiness. African house snakes are SUCH enthusiastic feeders that they tend to ingest a side of substrate along with their main course meal , which can cause infections and digestive issues, so they should be fed in a separate, empty enclosure.

They have been popular in captivity for some time now, and due to their proliferation, it can be easy to procure a captive-bred snake . I hope that these brief introductions to some of the smaller snakes species have helped guide you towards making the best choice for your situation. Whether you are looking for something unique or common, fossorial or arboreal, plain-hued, or flashy, there is undoubtedly an ideal small snake species for everyone.

If you or your child are interested in taking home a snake as a pet, but not quite as interested in dealing with a pet that can grow to be humongous, there may be a compromise. While larger snakes might be difficult for a number of reasons keeping them fed and housed, for one thing, can be quite the chore snakes that stay on the smaller side can make great pets.

Families and children also benefit by learning together the needs that each species of snake requires and how the animals captive life parallels that of their wild kin. The Pueblan milk snake, or Tri-color, is very popular with pet store chains because they only grow to about 36 inches and they are brightly colored in red and peach, and in white and black.

Feeding them is easy, too, since they can easily live on small frozen and thawed rodents youll find at your pet store, says Spinner. Actually, milk and king snakes (another on our list) are related species, both being of the genus Lampropeltis , which is Greek for shiny skin, says Heidi Hoefer, DVM. Milk, snakes, Hoefer explained, do well with slightly lower humidity and temperatures than tropical species, so the environment might be easier to maintain.

These snakes will musk, or give off a noxious odor from the scent glands, when frightened or stressed, but with gentle handling this can be reduced or eliminated, saod Hoefer. Hoefer also describes this type of snake as one that tends to be docile and generally easy to handle, making them a good choice for families. The Western hognose snake has become increasingly popular through the years due to its whimsical facial features and small size.

Although this snake takes a variety of food items in nature, they readily accept frozen and thawed rodents and sometimes even strips of raw chicken in captivity. Western hognose snakes tend to be squirmy while young, but will lose that with handling, Spinner said, adding that biting rarely, if ever, occurs. Western hognose are a bigger commitment than a garter snake, says Hoefer, and they can have unusual hissing and striking behavior that may scare a younger child.

Ball pythons are naturally shy snakes and are known for hiding their head within their coils in a ball-like fashion, rather than biting, when frightened, said Spinner. While captive born ball pythons readily accept frozen and thawed rodents, and many individuals will readily take fresh, raw chicken as well, Hoefer recommends getting an established feeder when purchasing this type of snake because they can be finicky when transported to new environments. They are primarily fish eaters but will often take earth worms and sometimes frozen and thawed rodents, said Spinner.

Small, Easy-to-Care-for Pet Snakes for Beginners

For many reasons, snakes tend to intimidate people. Their legless, muscular bodies and some species’ constricting capabilities can make people’s skin crawl; however, others find snakes fascinating for these same reasons. If you are reading this article, you might be curious about snake ownership but conflicted about where to start. While you find snakes to be a suitable pet, you don’t want a species that is difficult to care for or extremely large.Luckily, first-time snake ownership doesn’t need to be an overwhelming endeavor, as there are numerous species that make excellent pets. As snakes only need to eat once every few days to once a month, they have many advantages over ‘traditional’ pets. Here is a list of snakes that are not only relatively small but also easy to care for.

Western Hognose

The criteria that will be used to designate a species as a good starter snake are:The last quality is very important because dealing with a snake that refuses to eat can be stressful and require some experience to resolve. In most cases, buying snakes that are not extremely young or confirming with the dealer that the snake is feeding on frozen prey will be your best bet to get a snake with a good feeding response, regardless of the species you choose. All of the snakes on this list can be comfortably housed in 30-gallon tanks or less.

African Egg-Eating Snake (Dasypeltis)

Looking for a “mini python”? This species is certainly for you. The Children’s python (named after a person, not their suitability for children) is easy to keep and breed, and they only reach an extremely reasonable length of no more than 40 inches (3 feet and 4 inches), which is very small for a snake.These miniature animals can be kept in a 15-gallon tank, but even two snakes will be fine in a 20 gallon. In the wild, this species feeds mostly on frogs and lizards, so naturally, they can be finicky when younger, which is the case with most snakes. Nearly all available Children’s pythons will be acclimated to eating frozen/thawed mice.There are a few other species of python that are closely related to the Children’s python and are very similar in appearance. The

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While these unusual snakes are not readily available like the others on this list, they are surprisingly easy to care for and are the only species that can be considered to be a “vegetarian.” African egg-eating snakes, as their name suggests, feed exclusively on eggs and require no whole animal prey.The only catch is that you will need a reliable source of extra small quail or finch eggs that are preferably fertilized. These eggs can be found in Asian food markets, online, and sometimes bird breeders will provide them; however, some of these are not fertilized. The website Reptilinks.com sells small eggs that are fertilized, although some have fully developed chicks that cannot be fed.When using frozen eggs, defrost in warm water and lightly shake until you detect “sloshing” on the inside, then feed immediately. If you can locate their food, these small snakes make lovely pets that have no front teeth but rarely bite anyway.

Mexican Milk Snake

These tiny boas are fabulous for people who want a snake that stays small both in girth and length. They are colorful and can be housed in a tank as small as 10 gallons or a similarly-sized plastic tub comfortably. The cage doesn’t even need to include much décor since these snakes prefer to burrow, and excessive items can get in their way. Just be sure to provide the recommended substrates.Most Kenyan sand boas have a reasonable disposition, although some individuals can be flighty; however, they do not prefer to bite in defense. Bites can occur; however, if the snake mistakes your hand for food, but this can be avoided with proper handling.

Corn Snakes

These thicker-bodies snakes are one of the smaller reptiles you can keep. Some can even be kept in a tank as small as 10 gallons, but the general recommendation is 15 gallons and up, depending on their size. This species will not exceed 3 feet, which is very small for a snake.They have simple care, with the possible exception of maintaining their temperatures. Some owners opt to offer a brumation period to enhance the snake’s health and feeding response. If your rosy boa is reluctant to feed, this process can help to resolve the problem.

Further Reading

There are many different types of kingsnakes that vary in size. The scarlet kingsnake is one of the smallest snakes in the reptile-keeping hobby, but it is not for beginners. The most popular king snake is the California kingsnake, which reaches around 3–4 feet with a thin body. There’s the Mexican black king snake, which is a striking jet black reptile of around the same length, and the grey-banded kingsnake, another beautiful option that reaches about 3 feet in length (a record length of 57 inches has been recorded).They are called kingsnakes because they consume other snakes in the wild (do not house two together). These snakes have similar care to other beginner species and can be kept in 15–20 gallon tanks or similarly-sized plastic bins. They are a popular option for people who are new to snakes.

Cons of Keeping Small Pet Snakes

Snakes are cold-blooded, meaning they can’t regulate their temperatures internally and require you to ensure they are warm and the enclosure is not too humid.These conditions, with husbandry issues, affect smaller snakes more than giant serpents, and you’ll be lucky if you notice symptoms like mucous or retained sheds early. Similarly, their tiny bodies are prone to injuries, attacks from live rodents, and mishandling by children.Most small snake species require specialized diets and care. You should be ready to offer them prey, which may need you to designate freezer prey to store their frozen game.Feeding difficulties can be a real problem, and you may need a feeding demonstration from a breeder before taking your pet home.Some of these snakes are unmatched escape artists, and they do so efficiently through small cracks and openings. Unfortunately, it can be hard to locate them due to their small sizes.Since these pets can virtually fit through any opening, ensure that your snake’s enclosure is escape-proof.

Rosy Boa

Rosy Boa snakes are also known as “trivirgata” in Latin, which translates to “three stripes.” Most of these snakes have three stripes- orange, brown, and black-that running down their bodies. However, you can still find them in other morphs depending on the locality.Rosy Boas are gorgeous little snakes that are easy to take care of, except for the extra attention when maintaining their temperatures. Unfortunately, high humidity in their enclosures can cause respiratory and fungal issues.These snakes enjoy climbing and burrowing.

Corn Snakes

Corn snakes are some of the most popular small pet snakes, especially among beginner snake keepers. Selective breeding allows breeders to develop these snakes to virtually any color you’d want, although you’ll naturally find them in orange shades.These small pets are generally affordable, easy to maintain, and rarely have feeding issues in captivity. Corn snakes are not fast-moving and are ground snakes, so they love to burrow.

Milk Snakes

Milk snakes are among the widespread small snake species in pet stores because of their striking coloration and sweet temperaments.These snakes generally appear small, even if some can be up to four feet long due to their very small girths. They can be your go-to reptiles for a compromise, that is, if you want a “large but small” snake.Some of these species have red, black, and yellow bands that mimic poisonous coral snakes. However, Milk snakes are generally not dangerous.

Western Hognose

This species’ popularity has increased over the years due to their distinctive facial features and sizes that make them adorable. Western Hognose snakes have a stout body and upturned snouts (nose), giving them a pig-like appearance.Western Hognose snakes thrive on toads and amphibians as their natural diet when not in captivity. This diet makes it difficult to make a neonate Western Hognose interested in mice when in captivity. However, they can get used to it over time. They are agreeable snakes for first-time keepers.

Kenyan Sand Boa

These small boas are native to Northern Africa, and you can pick that they love burrowing in the sand from their name. Kenyan Sand Boas remain small, and their cages require minimum decorations.Their habitats also require minimum decor items, just a few substrates like calcium, play sand, coconut mulch, and aspen they can burrow. Kenyan Boas are docile, have good temperaments, and readily eat mice.

Barbados Threadsnake

The Barbados Threadsnake is not only small but one of the smallest snakes on earth-not thicker than a strand of spaghetti. You can only find these snakes on a few selected Caribbean Islands.Although Barbados Threadsnakes are rarely kept as pet snakes, they are among the breeds that stay small.You may know that most snakes hunt prey like rodents, birds, and amphibians. The problem is that such prey is, of course, too big for the Barbados Threadsnake. Instead, these snakes limit their diet primarily to ant and termite eggs.

Bimini Blindsnake

The Bimini Blindsnake is not much bigger either; you can mistake it for an earthworm. These snakes are not the most interactive or involved pet reptiles, but they are common in the pet world, thanks to their sizes.Bimini Blindsnakes are not blind even though they have “blind” in their name. It’s just that their eyes are teeny tiny to be seen. The longest Blindsnake can grow up to 6 inches and weigh only about one gram.

Ringneck Snake

You can distinguish a Ringneck snake by an orange or yellow band around the neck. Ringneck snakes are among the tiniest snakes on earth; you may mistake them for earthworms. These snakes have a bright orange and yellow underside, while the upper side can range from grey to black.Ringnecks are slender and smooth, and most people assume they are baby snakes, mainly because their average length is 10-15 inches. They mainly eat small worms and invertebrates.

Children’s Python

Children’s snakes may not be familiar, but they are among the fast-rising small pet snakes in pet stores.These Australian snake species are on the larger side of small snakes and make fantastic companions for novice keepers. However, you may want to go for the juvenile or adult species because young Children’s pythons are difficult for beginners.It may look like they are designed for kids, but these reptiles acquired their name from scientist John George Children.

Worm Snake

These snakes resemble earthworms, as you can pick from their name. Worn snakes are small, burrowing reptiles with shiny scales and black, grey, or brown backs and pink or whitish bellies.They are non-venomous, and although they aren’t popular pet snakes yet, they can make excellent pets, owing to their subterranean habits. Worm snakes primarily feed on earthworms.

Small Snake #2: Western Hognose (

These beautiful little boas have a special place in my heart, and I currently own two of them myself.These desert snakes are native to southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico.They’re aOne of theAs such, the

Small Snake #3: Kenyan Sand Boa (

Because of this,Any substrate that they can burrow in would work – calcium or play sand, aspen, and coconut mulch are some popular choices, depending on your preferences regarding cleaning and appearance.Kenyan sand boas will readily eat mice andThanks to their ease of care and attractive pattern, they’re readily available in captivity. There are also several color morphs to choose from.

Small Snake #5: Rubber Boa (

Milk snakes are a small species ofThis speciesTheir red, black, and white or yellow bands are meant to mimic the venomous coral snake to ward off would-be predators.In addition to the twenty-four subspecies available,

Small Snake #7: Viper boa (

The primitiveBecause of this, theyStill,They can be difficult to transition to a diet of rodents;
Despite these husbandry challenges,Captive breeding is difficult, so most specimens on the market have been field-collected.

Small Snake #9: Indonesian Tree Boa (

Don’t let the image above fool you… Children’s pythons, while perhaps on the larger side when compared to the other snakes on our list,This species is perfect for someone enamored with pythons but not wanting to tackle the risk and responsibility of a goliath Burmese python or even a five-foot, stocky ball python.TheyThis species is a common pet due to its friendly nature, small size, and simple care, so they are readily available for purchase from captive breeders.

Snakes That Are Tame and Stay Small

By Cheryl LockIf you or your child are interested in taking home a snake as a pet, but not quite as interested in dealing with a pet that can grow to be humongous, there may be a compromise. While larger snakes might be difficult for a number of reasons — keeping them fed and housed, for one thing, can be quite the chore — snakes that stay on the smaller side can make great pets.“For families that choose to keep a snake as a pet, it can be a rewarding, educational experience that teaches a child the lesson of responsibility,” says herpetologist Leo Spinner. “Families and children also benefit by learning together the needs that each species of snake requires and how the animal’s captive life parallels that of their wild kin.”The lack of hair and fur is another pro, especially for families that deal with allergies. In addition, they urinate and defecate infrequently, and they are easy to clean up after. “A clean snake environment is virtually odor free,” says Spinner.If all of that sounds appealing, you might be surprised at how easy it is to find a snake that stays on the smaller side.“There are many species of snake readily available through the pet trade,” said Spinner, “several of which average between three and five feet in total length.” Female snakes also tend to be larger in length and girth than male snakes, in general, so that’s something to keep in mind.The following are some of the more common smaller snake breeds, along with some things you should know about them before taking one home.
Image: / Shutterstock

Milk Snakes

The Pueblan milk snake, or Tri-color, is very popular with pet store chains because they only grow to about 36 inches and they are brightly colored in red and peach, and in white and black. Feeding them is easy, too, since they can easily live on small frozen and thawed rodents you’ll find at your pet store, says Spinner.“A Tri-colored milk snake can live as long as 15 years, and have been known to reach a longevity of 20 years,” he added. “Most milk snakes are squirmy when held, but rarely bite once they have become used to handling.”Actually, milk and king snakes (another on our list) are related species, both being of the genus“These snakes will ‘musk,’ or give off a noxious odor from the scent glands, when frightened or stressed, but with gentle handling this can be reduced or eliminated,” saod Hoefer.Image: / Shutterstock

Corn Snakes

Thanks to selective breeding, the corn snake can be bred into virtually any color to satisfy the preference of the buyer (although their natural color is primarily shades of orange with a saddle-like pattern outlined in black and white), and they only reach an average three to five feet in length.“Corn snakes are not usually fast-moving snakes and they handle very well,” said Spinner. “They rarely if ever refuse food in captivity, and often accept frozen and thawed rodents. Many will often take fresh raw chicken right out of the package.”Hoefer also describes this type of snake as one that tends to be docile and generally easy to handle, making them a good choice for families. Keep in mind, said Hoefer, that “they are ground snakes and like to burrow, so will need a substrate like shredded paper that they can burrow into.”The downside to burrowing, of course, is that corn snakes can spend a lot of their time hidden.Image: / Shutterstock

Western Hognose Snakes

The Western hognose snake has become increasingly popular through the years due to its whimsical facial features and small size.“The average captive size of the Western hognose is one to three feet, though older specimens have been known to reach lengths of nearly four feet,” said Spinner. Although this snake takes a variety of food items in nature, they readily accept frozen and thawed rodents and sometimes even strips of raw chicken in captivity.“Western hognose snakes tend to be squirmy while young, but will lose that with handling,” Spinner said, adding that “biting rarely, if ever, occurs.”You’ll find the Western hognose in beige, brown, and white, with dark brown saddles, although selective breeding has made many color schemes and patterns available. The average Western hognose lives eight to 10 years.Western hognose are a bigger commitment than a garter snake, says Hoefer, and they can have unusual hissing and striking behavior that may scare a younger child. However, “if acquired young and handled often, they make good pet snakes,” she said.Image: / Shutterstock

African Ball Pythons

Ball pythons are Hoefer’s personal favorite because they tend to be very calm and are happy to wrap around your wrist or curl up in a ball on your lap. This snake’s short length and stocky body also leaves you with the feeling of a large snake in a small package. Traditionally you’ll find this snake in shades of brown, beige, white, and black, with spots and saddle patterns, but numerous color schemes and patterns have become available through selective breeding, including albino individuals and patterns of pin striping.The average length of this type of snake is between three and five feet, and they typically reach 25-30 years of age.“Ball pythons are naturally shy snakes and are known for hiding their head within their coils in a ball-like fashion, rather than biting, when frightened,” said Spinner.While captive born ball pythons readily accept frozen and thawed rodents, and many individuals will readily take fresh, raw chicken as well, Hoefer recommends getting an established feeder when purchasing this type of snake because they can be finicky when transported to new environments.Image: / Shutterstock

King Snakes

Typically a larger variety of the milk snakes, king snakes are known for eating other snakes, including venomous types, in nature, and will often consume any cage mates, so they must be kept individually, said Spinner.“King snakes average three to four feet in captivity, with some exceptions reaching lengths of five and six feet,” Spinner said. “On average, the captive king snake lives approximately 10-15 years.”There are many different varieties of this snake available at stores, the most popular being the striped or banded California king snakes. They are a chocolate brown or black base color with brilliant white or cream-colored bands or stripes.“King snakes tend to handle very well, though younger specimens can be quite squirmy and will sometimes bite,” said Spinner. “All king snakes readily accept frozen and thawed rodents in captivity, and some will accept fresh, raw chicken.”One of the things to be aware of with this snake is that they tend to be escape artists. A secure enclosure is a must, but they also need a hide box to prevent them from spending all day, every day, seeking an escape, said Spinner.Image: / Shutterstock

Garter Snakes

This under-rated species is related to the water snake and is sometimes available through pet store chains. “They are primarily fish eaters but will often take earth worms and sometimes frozen and thawed rodents,” said Spinner. These snakes can be squirmy when first handled, but they lose that tendency quickly, he said. “Garter snakes handle very well in captivity and rarely bite.”“Garter snakes average two to three feet in captivity, with some individuals reaching slightly larger sizes, and they may live eight to ten years on average,” Spinner said.They come in many natural shades of color and patterns, with the most common being red, brown, yellow, and green, and a pattern of stripes and bars.For housing, garters are great in reptile terrariums because they like to explore, said Hoefer. An added bonus? “They can eat fish out of a bowl, which is fun to watch!” she added.Image: / Shutterstock