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Reptiles/What snake should i get

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Question
I am currently fostering a ball python and i have grown very fond of it and was thinking about getting a snake of my own.I am deciding about these three species of snakes; Ball Python,Ring Neck Snake,and a Corn Snake.I am wanting a snake that i can play with hold and will like to be held.Could you please tell me specifics on these snakes and which one you would recommend.Also,I was wondering if you have a another species that you would recommend.
  Thanks

Answer
Hi Gabe,

I'm so glad to hear that your snake-sitting has become such a positive experience.

I would strongly recommend that you get a captive bred animal. They are far more tolerant of being handled, readily accept food items that are easily purchased and are less likely to carry parasites, both internal and external.

That eliminates the Ring Neck as a choice. They are very rarely bred for the pet trade and can have specialized feeding preferences like earthworms, slugs or small amphibians and other reptiles. They are also pretty shy and stay burrowed much of the time.

The Corn is an excellent choice for a first time owner. They are commonly bred in numerous colour variations, have good temperaments and are reliable feeders on frozen/thawed mice.

You will find Corns a bit more active when they are being handled. They are not quite as laid back and passive as Ball pythons and move around a bit more. Baby snakes in particular are  more nervous then adults but calm down with handling and age.


I would also recommend a Ball python as a first time snake although with a few criteria.

Make sure you get a true captive bred and born animal.  Baby Ball pythons are imported in large numbers from eggs hatched in West Africa, from wild caught females. They arrive dehydrated, parasitized and often will not feed. You may see the term "captive hatched" given to these animals or "farmed". They are frequently cheaper then captive bred balls.

Young Ball pythons can sometimes be reluctant or tricky to get feeding. Get one that is a well established feeder on frozen/thawed rodents, preferably rats. A good store or breeder should be able to supply a feeding record for each snake.

King snakes and Milk snakes are also good choices for a beginner owner> They are widely bred, good feeders and have incredible colours. They will be more active and move around more when being handled then Ball pythons tend to.  

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Expertise

I can answer questions on the proper husbandry and diet of Iguanas, bearded dragons, geckoes, skinks, chameleons, tortoises, box turtles, treefrogs, non-venomous snakes and tarantulas. Also the breeding of some species of feeder insects. I have no experience with venonmous snakes and only limited experience with aquatic turtles.

Experience

I have been keeping and breeding reptiles for over 30 years. In addition to my regular job in the medical field I also worked for several years in a pet store that specialized only in exotics. The job entailed both caring for and answering questions on innumerable species. It required constant, extensive research into a wide range of reptiles. I have been called to appear on televised national media (CBC, CTV and Life Channel) as well as CBC radio to discuss the proper care of reptiles and other exotics in captivity. I currently own one or more species of those listed under my expertise with the exception of chameleons. I owned chameleons for years but keep none currently. I keep over 20 snakes comprising 5 species, both Colubridae and Boidae. I bred corn snakes for several years. I have a particular interest in treefrogs and currently have 5 different species. I've raised redfoot tortoises for 10 years and have two iguanas, one for 12 years.

Publications
A small and now defunct local magazine called "Pet Vue"

Education/Credentials
Diagnostic medical microbiology with some parasitology experience.

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