5 Friendly Pet Snakes For Beginners

There are over 3,000 species of snakes in the world and dozens upon dozens that are kept as pets. Picking just one can be tricky, especially for a first-time snake owner. The number one thing you’ll want to ensure is that it’s a snake whose care requirements are straightforward and uncomplicated. A close second is a snake with a docile disposition, i.e. friendliness. Take the guesswork out of finding the best snakes for beginners with these five fail-proof options that check both requirements. 

Corn Snakes

Docile? Check. Easy to care for? Double-check. Corn snakes are an extremely common North American species of rat snake and part of the colubrid snake family. They can be found throughout the United States in a variety of climates which has led to them being both quite affordable and a particularly resilient species (they can handle if you make a few mistakes at the beginning). These slender-bodied snakes are easy to handle and house. Corn snakes aren’t aggressive, but they are shy and will likely spend the majority of their time in hiding. Keep handling to a minimum, about once or twice per week to avoid overdoing it and stressing them out.

California Kingsnakes

Looking for a beginner pet snake with a tad of a challenge? California kingsnakes are the option for you. They have similar care requirements to the docile corn snake but have much more personality. As such, kingsnakes are widely considered to be a much more interesting and interactive pet-owning experience but are much sassier than your typically mild-mannered colubrid. Potential owners will need to be patient with this less-predictable species.

Milk Snakes

Milk snakes are charming in every way: eye-catching, the perfect size, and have a wonderful temperament. More importantly, they’re super easy to care for and cheap to buy and feed. The average milk snake is between 3 and 4 feet long, falling on the smaller side of the size range of your average beginner snake.

Sand Boas

The Kenyan sand boa is a hidden gem of beginner-friendly snake species. It’s not quite as popular as some of these other well-known species, yet. Like the other already mentioned, sand boas have a delightful temperament, calm, and non-aggressive. Like the corn snake, sand boas are rather shy and prone to burrowing in their substrate to hide. However, they’re not total scaredy cats, these inquisitive snakes are known to regularly poke their heads out from time to time. 

Ball Pythons

Ball pythons are easily the most popular of the entire pet snake industry. They offer the beginner-friendly ease of a simple corn snake but whose many exotic appearances have captured the imagination of reptile-lovers of all experience levels. Ball pythons are extremely well-adapted to human contact and are very tolerant to handling, easily one of the most social of all snakes. Plus, their instincts cause them to curl around their owners’ hands, arms, and shoulders making for a fun and unique sensation. 

You can find these and other awesome snakes for sale nearly anywhere that snakes are sold, but the best selection will be found online at specialty reptile shops.