Snakes as pets (2018)
Posted March 01, 2018
you’re not into furry animals with four legs, perhaps a pet snake
might be able to “slither” into your heart.
Some people may feel squirmy around snakes, but these reptiles
offer company and stress relief for many people. Snakes are also
low maintenance; they do not require daily walks and they are quiet
during the day and at night.
However, there are other factors to consider before getting a
pet snake, including breed, life-span, and health requirements. Dr.
Sharman Hoppes, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, suggests
snake breeds that may make a suitable pet.
“Ball pythons, kingsnakes and corn snakes are great,” Hoppes
said. “However, large boas and pythons do not make good pets for
most people due to their large size.”
If you’re thinking about getting a snake, you will need to
provide a habitat in an escape-proof aquarium.
Hoppes said that owners should provide lighting that produces a
day and night cycle. Temperatures should be 80-85 degrees
Fahrenheit during the day, with a cooler temperature at night that
never falls below 75 degrees.
A warmer basking site that measures around 90 degrees should
also be available. Snake owners should research or ask a
veterinarian how to provide the correct temperature, since some
breeds require warmer or cooler climates. Hoppes recommends placing
a thermometer on the cage to make sure the temperature inside is
Bedding is also necessary in creating a safe habitat for your
“Bedding can be paper, indoor or outdoor carpet, artificial
turf, and aspen chips,” Hoppes said. “I do not recommend sand,
because some reptiles may ingest it. I also do not recommend pine
or cedar, as both of these contain oils that are irritating to
With infrequent defecation, a pet snake’s habitat is also an
A snake needs a healthy diet to be happy, too. A snake’s diet
can range from insects and amphibians to warm-blooded rodents, like
mice, rabbits, or birds.
However, Hoppes discourages feeding pet snakes live prey.
“It is cruel to the prey animal and can also be dangerous to the
snake,” Hoppes said. “The prey animal, if not killed quickly, can
bite the snake. In some cases where the snake is not warm enough or
is sick, the prey animal may even extensively chew on the
Having a pet snake can be a great experience for reptile lovers.
However, providing a healthy habitat complete with appropriate
temperatures is a must; therefore, you should consider the amount
of time you have to dedicate to maintaining the snake’s
environment. In addition, remember to research and consult a
veterinarian that is familiar with the health requirements of
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Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Stories can be
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