Despite the bad rep snakes often get in media — from leading Eve to the forbidden fruit in Genesis to being the villain Voldemort’s companion in the Harry Potter book series — they can make wonderful pets.
They’re quiet, clean, and give a cool aesthetic to any room you put them in. However, they can still be a challenging pet if you have never owned a snake before.
The trick to having a successful first snake pet is to get a breed of snake that is good for beginners in the hobby; one with minimal care requirements, regular eating schedules, and is good with being handled.
To help you with figuring out which snake is the one for you, here are the top six best beginner breeds of snake:
Probably the least demanding breed of snake on our list, the corn snake is one of the most popular pet snakes for both beginners and seasoned veterans.
It is a slender snake that is easy to find at most pet stores, generally does well with handling, and doesn’t require any special lighting or equipment aside from a heating pad.
If snakes were plants, this would be the cactus of the snake world in terms of care difficulty.
The corn snake is active during the day and sleeps during the night, so you won’t have to worry about it not being awake for when you want to feed or handle them.
Overall an excellent first snake for someone, especially if you intend on having this be a child’s first pet snake or having a snake that will interact with children often.
If you’re anxious about getting a “big” snake, then you might want to look into the Kingsnake breed.
Most Kingsnakes only grow three to four feet long on average. They have a thin, slender build, so they appear smaller than they actually are as well.
Like the Corn Snake, they do not require any special equipment aside from a heating pad. They are also known to live well over twenty years in captivity.
The Kingsnake can get a little nippy if it is not handled frequently at a young age. Aside from that, it is good for beginners that want an easy snake with a long lifespan.
Due to their charmingly shy demeanor and numerous morphs (color and pattern schemes) to choose from, the ball python is another popular beginner’s snake breed. It currently is one of the most popular pet snakes on the market.
They have a bulky, sturdy build and move incredibly slow for a snake. Combined with their average five foot length they are a little easier to handle than other snakes.
Despite being a python, the ball python is known for being a gentle snake. They rarely bite and are not prone to aggressive behavior.
If threatened or frightened, they are more likely to wrap themselves into the tight balls that they are known for (hence their names) than lash out.
Ball pythons are a tad more challenging to care for compared to the other snakes on our list. They need a certain level of humidity maintained within their tanks, and they will go without eating for random short periods of time. Because of this, the ball python is on the edge of being a beginner snake.
If you are looking for a brightly colored first snake, you might want to look into getting a breed from the Milk Snake family.
With its glossy scales and sleek body, the Milk Snake is a pretty snake to look at. There are also a lot of subspecies in this snake breed, so you can find them in just about every color or morph imagined.
Milk Snakes are also known for being a snake with good temperament and not being finicky with eating. If they are handled often, they can become quite tame and suite any handler just fine.
As a burrowing snake, the Milk Snake likes to hide a lot. Most of the time it will be buried in its bedding or under whatever is available to go under in its tank. If you are looking for a snake that will be out in the open more than you may want to look more into non-burrowing snakes.
Rosy Boa Snake
Another small, fairly docile snake breed that is good for people just starting out with owning snakes is the Rosy Boa Snake.
Growing to an average of four feet in length, it is a small snake that is easy to manage and doesn’t take up too much space. Rosy Boas also don’t have that many care requirements, only needing the basics and to be fed about once a week.
Capable of living more than twenty-five years, the Rosy Boa is not just a pet but also almost a life-long commitment. Be sure that you are ready to own a pet for this long before deciding to buy one.
An important trait to watch out for with this snake: Rosy Boas are notorious for escaping. Be sure you have a tight-fitting lid for their tank and that their enclosure is escape-proof.
Recognizable for their distinctive facial feature of an upturned nose (used in the wild for digging in sand, soil, and leaves), the Hognose snake is another snake breed on our list that is a great beginner snake for those of you looking for a smaller snake.
They grow a small average of three feet in length and have a sturdy body, which is perfect for handling. Their stockier build also makes them a better breed of snake to be handled by children.
With frequent handling, the Hognose can be very docile and calm. They aren’t aggressive snakes, hiding from predators or when they feel threatened rather than attacking, and are not prone to biting.
It is a little harder to find in pet shops than some of the more popular snakes on our list though, so you may have to do research until finding a store that sells them. You can usually find them easily enough though at reptile stores or reptile shows if not at the major chain stores like PetSmart or Petco.
Which of these would make the best snake for you?
Know about a good snake for people getting their first scale-y friend that is not on our list? Name it in a comment in the space below!