Snakes That Are Tame and Stay Small
By Cheryl Lock
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.
“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.
This article was verified and edited for accuracy by Dr. Laurie Hess, DVM, Dipl ABVP