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Snakes are beautiful animals. If you have ever thought about owning one, but don’t know where to start looking, here are 10 breeds recommended for beginner snake owners.
- Corn snake
Corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) are perhaps the number one snake recommended for beginners. They are a species of rat snake native to southeastern and central US, but are readily available from pet stores. They are beautiful to look at and come in a wide range of colorations including brown, orange and pink. These snakes have a calm, docile temperament and are easy to care for. Captive specimens can live 23 years or more and remain at a manageable adult length (24 -72 in).
- Western Hognose snake
The hognose snake, Heterodon nasicus, is a stocky snake found from southern Canada to northern Mexico. These snakes get their name from their characteristic upturned snout. They are famous for their mock attacks and threat displays when threatened, but are reluctant to bite. If the threat persists, they will feign death. Hognose snakes have a very mild venom which is not considered dangerous to humans. They have a docile disposition and remain a very manageable size (12-47 in). They can live around 18 years in captivity.
- Ball python
Also known as royal python, the ball python, Python regius, is a West African constrictor. The common name ball python refers to the snakes’ tendency to roll into a ball when frightened. These snakes are small for a python, reaching lengths of only 60-64 in. Their natural coloration is dark brown or black with light brown on the sides and a light underside. However, many other beautiful color morphs have been developed. Ball pythons have a docile nature, but can be picky eaters.
- Milk snake
Milk snakes, Lampropeltis triangulum, are constrictors common from south Canada all the way to northern South America. They are nocturnal snakes that reach an average length of 20-60 in. Milk snakes have beautiful coloration, typically containing red, black and yellow bands.
- California King snake
King snakes, including the California king snake, Lampropeltis getula californiae, are very popular with snake owners. They are constrictors native to the western US and northern Mexico. They have a docile temperament, and are easy to care for. Additionally, they come in a wide variety of color morphs. Their average adult length is 3-4 feet, and they often live over 20 years if properly cared for.
- Garter snake
Garter snakes, of the genus Thamnophis, are found from Canada to Central America. They are rear-fanged snakes with a mild venom not considered dangerous to humans. They average 2-3 feet of length as adults, and can live 8-10 years in captivity. Garter snakes can be very tame if handled regularly.
- Brown house snake
The brown house snake, Lamprophis fuliginosus, is a constrictor from southern and eastern Africa. They are brown with light belly, and can grow to around 2.5 feet. Brown snakes are not picky eaters. They are easy to handle and have a docile disposition. In captivity, they can live more than 8 years.
- Gopher snake
Gopher snakes, Pituophis catenifer, are very hardy constrictors native to North America. They grow to 4-5 feet, and can live an average of 15 years. They are very active and fun to look at. They are also easy to feed and care for, and have a docile temperament.
- Rosy boa
Rosy boas, Lichanura trivirgata, are beautiful constrictors found in southwestern US and the Mexican states of Baja California and Sonora. They are small for boas, averaging 17-34 in. Rosy boas get their name from the rosy shade on the belly of some specimens. They are slow moving snakes with a very docile temperament, and are not inclined to bite. They are very easy to care for. If properly cared for, they can live 30 years or more.