Do we have any snake people here on the forums? A friend of mine recently started talking to me about all the reptiles she wants in the future, and now I want one, too! But because I like to over research everything that I commit to, I'd love to know what type of snake would be best for me. Or if getting one would even be a good idea at all.
What I really want is a medium sized snake (about 3 - 6 feet long) that is very safe to handle and beginner friendly. The only experience I have with reptiles are my red-eared sliders! I really want a snake that I could take out every day to hold and put around my arm or shoulders.
My friend wants a ball python and they sound like what I'm looking for as well. I did read that they are finicky, though, and to be honest I am not sure if I want to feed live mice. Not because I'm squeamish (I'm not!) but because I'd have no idea where to store the mice... and I don't want to stop at the pet shop every week or two for food.
The other type that intrigues me is the hognose, but I heard that while they're fairly docile, they aren't really a climbing snake.
I know corn snakes are also a popular choice but they're a little small for me.
Suggestions, thoughts, and feedback welcome! Pictures are a plus :D
Ball python :) beginner friendly, doesn't get too big, simple to care for, docile. Mine had no problem with frozen rats/mice. Never fed live.
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Ball Python for sure. I have an extensive collection as I breed them, they come in so many pattern and color combos you cant get just one! The key to keeping them is ensuring their environment is well regulated. Appropriate heat, humidity and keep the enclosure smaller. As for feed I feed live but also have some animals on frozen. It all depends on the individual animal if you put in the effort switching to frozen shouldnt be too difficult.
Here is a vid of my collection last year. I have way more now but you get the idea.
For more info on BPs check out Ballpython.net or the Bush league breeders club
My computer is acting up so YouTube stopped working for me after a minute into the video. Beautiful, beautiful snakes though. And definitely the perfect size. I did see that they are kept in plastic bins that almost look like the ones I use for office supply storage? I usually envision snakes in glass terrariums, I think.
More questions for you, gsdlover91, and anyone else with snake/ball python experience -
What are you using for containment?
What is usually included in the average set up for a ball python?
What are the costs involved in raising a ball python? How much do you usually spend for the set up, and how much does feeding frozen rats cost? Only if you don't mind answering, of course.
How do you go about choosing breeders? You'll probably laugh, but the first thought I had when looking at breeders online is if I should be worrying about health and "temperament" guarantees :o Do you just pick the breeder with good "buyer feedback"?
Thanks Blitzkrieg1 for the links! I'll be sure to do quite a bit of reading, I have a ton to learn!
For a very beginner snake I'd recommend a corn snake. They require a simpler set up than ball pythons do - though BPs don't require terribly much anyway. Very docile.
I've had my corn snake for about 2 years now, he's about 3ft long and maybe the girth of my finger. He's an adorable little thing. I've never had him bite or nip at me even once, even while feeding.
Feeding is pretty cheap. He usually eats a couple frozen pinkie mice every other weekend, sometimes more sometimes less.
Ball pythons definitely have more of a wow-factor. Definitely larger, less wiggly.
Either one, really. They are both pretty simple if you do a bit of research beforehand.
General info about the food:
They cost about $1 a piece frozen at Petsmart. You can get live ones for cheaper (around $.20/piece), but be very careful where you buy your feeder mice from. Your snake might also become rather fond of live and no longer eat frozen.
And for buying a reptile, I always go to conventions when they come to town. You are able to see what breeders will be at one and research a little before hand. You can talk to them there and handle any snake you're looking to get.
I'm going to one mid Oct. to buy a chameleon. :o
Ball pythons are one of the BEST beginner snakes you can get. Very docile, only get 4-6 feet long (six feet is quite large for a ball), and you shouldn't have issues feeding if you get from a breeder that feeds what you're looking to feed. Mine took live (freshly killed) or frozen/thawed just fine, but some can be quite picky. Just make sure that it's had at LEAST 3 feedings if you're getting a baby.
They also come in a HUGE slew of colors, many of which are very affordable, such as pastels, butters, mojaves, and many (MANY) others.
I want some ball pythons, boas, and maybe a retic. :)
Another beginner-friendly snake is a California king. They get 5+ feet long, but are slim. They don't need to have a habitat tweaked much (if at all) to thrive like most other species. They can be a little bratty as babies, but with frequent, gentle handling, can be very docile (but fairly active).
For ball pythons, a lot of people who have just one keep them in terrariums or aquariums. Careful with aquariums, as it's more difficult to maintain proper heat/humidity.
People with collections usually have snake racks.
For most animals, the 'bigger is better' as far as habitat usually holds true, but not with balls. They're more shy and like smaller, enclosed spaces.
It's good (and recommended) to have at least two hides - one in the heated part of the enclosure and the other in the ambient part. They WILL sacrifice their safety (overheat or become hypothermic) in favor of somewhere to hide.
I've had pretty much any snake you can imagine and I would recommend a corn snake for a beginner. They are relatively inexpensive, come in a million different colors, are super easy keepers and rarely ever bite. As adults, they can be pretty big. They won't be thick like a python, but they are long with some substance to them. I never had an issue with feeding frozen/thawed and they were just so easy to keep.
I liked my hognose a lot too. He was super super cute. He wasn't any bigger than the corn snakes and was actually shorter in length.
Ball Pythons require more humidity/heat than a corn snake typically does, so they can be difficult to keep at the right levels in aquariums. As far as containing them, everybody seems to use aquarium (fish) tanks usually, but they really suck as keeping humidity. I didn't encounter too many problems because I kept the room really warm and covered half of the tank top with a sheet of plexiglass to keep in the humidity. You could buy an expensive vivarium tank, but a lot of keepers just use tupperware/rubbermaid bins, which are much uglier in comparison to a nicely done aquarium tank. Anywhere a snake can fit its head, it can escape from, so make sure whatever you use is closed tightly. They make certain things to keep tanks closed, but I always thought they were flimsy and used big textbooks instead.
Baby/young snakes can be overwhelmed by too much room in their tank and it can cause stress w/ added feeding/digestion issues, so it's best to start with maybe a 5gal/10gal tank for hatchlings. Then up to a 20 long tank and then eventually, whatever you choose to house them in as adults. Buying that many tanks can add up, so the plastic bins to come in handy if you're trying to save some money. Otherwise, Petco does a $1 per gallon tank sale, and if you catch it at the right time it is totally worth it. You could also just buy a 20 long or 10gal and section it off with a small enough portion for the young snake, and just take out the divider as they grow.
As far as substrate, I preferred Eco-earth, which is a coconut fiber blend that comes in a brick and you expand by adding water. I hates shavings because they were just messier and I hate the smell (cedar can be toxic too, so don't use those). Lots of people use newspaper just for how easy it is to clean up, but I think the eco-earth looked so much nicer. I bought a small little shop vac for like, twenty bucks and used it to spot clean between full blown tank cleanings. It was simple. I have always taken my snakes out of their tubs to feed, if they are living on any substrate other than newspaper. It just lessens the risk of them eating any of it and getting impacted.
I got my corns from private breeders in my area. My others I got from breeders at reptile expos. Just make sure when you're looking that you are looking for captive bred snakes, not wild caught or farm bred. It has a big impact on temperament.
I like this as a good start up kit for snakes. I would go with the large/wide one for a full grown ball or corn.
I liked that they have the locking doors, so you don't have to worry about escaping. I believe they come with temp/humidity gauges and lights too, so as long as you get the right wattage for the snake you choose to go with and you pick up some eco earth, you'll be all set.
Exo Terra : Natural Terrarium Large / Advanced Reptile Habitat
Feeding has always been cheap for my corns, because I would go to the family owned pet store around here and buy my frozen mice/rats/whatever. It was whenever I had to find live that became a huge pain.
Anything else, feel free to ask!
First, you should check what sort of snakes are legal in your state. Where I live, all pythons and boas are illegal, even ball pythons.
I had a jungle carpet python! They range from the 5-7 foot length in adulthood, so they're a little longer than a ball, but they're not as girthy.
They're also a very calm and docile, easy to handle snake. My Missy only ever but once, and it was because my hubby was messing with her dinner, so he sorta had it coming. She never once bit me.
They're also beautiful in colouring, ranging from a Black and Tan to vibrant yellows with a bit of black. Attachment 113122Attachment 113130Attachment 113138
Those are pictures of my Missy! I unfortunately learnt the hard way that aspen wood shavings are harmful after getting bad advice from the breeder who said they were okay. So never use aspen.
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Another vote for the ball python! Go to a local reptile show and shop around. You can get great deals on adults that either don't produce well or are just plain ol' boring normals. I got mine when people abandoned them at work, so they were free. Treated for mites and presto-chango, a brand new snake. I have had two in my time, and both were great eaters. I fed live, though.
I also had a king snake, and she was very fun. She was probably about six feet when we parted ways. Corn snakes are far easier to 'tame', but kings have some pretty outstanding coloration. I got mine at an expo as an adult because she couldn't lay proper eggs and thus was useless in a breeding program. She was probably $20 or so, always ate well (F/T).
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