Snakes/Looking for the right pet Snake
QUESTION: Hello, I am a college student that wants a pet snake. My roommate has a ball python and they are cool, but I'm looking for something that I can handle more often. I am a beginner with snakes So I need one that won't be extremely hard to take care of. Please help me find the right pet for me.
ANSWER: Snakes in general are easy animals, feed them weekly or bi-weekly, clean them when needed and that is really it. It drives me mad to see ads about people selling their snakes because they cant devote the proper time to hold the animal.
In all honesty, snakes hate being held, every single one of them. Some are more tolerant that others and you can even purchase a "easy going" species and wind up with a nasty snake. Ball pythons are known for being calm, easy going and pretty patient with people, but I have come across a few that just do not at all want to be messed with.
You really need to look at your space, and the amount of money you can put into it. Yes that baby retic is beautiful, but can you afford to have a 800+$ custom cage for it. Or do you have room for a 10 foot cage, and then comes feeding them.
The best beginner snake is a ball python, without a doubt. Unless you can get your hands on a adult corn snake I wouldnt bother, I do not recommend them. As babies they are very tiny, about the size of a large earth worm. And they are VERY hyper. Most people hurt or lose them very easily. And rat snakes will poop an musk and most people dislike them before they even break in the snake.
A ball python will grow pretty slow, be docile, and be fairly cheap. Do not put a baby in anything larger than a 10 gallon tank. It is to hard to control temps and humidity and most hatchlings will die from illness this way. Also if you plan to use a tank and not a plastic bin, make sure you provide a hide for the snake ( most people will use a small box). This will be their den and will make the snake feel secure which can really help with feeding. Some snakes refuse to eat if they dont have a hide.
For hatchlings I suggest using paper towels, this will prevent them from ingesting any bedding, which can cause mouth rot and other health issues. Have a heat pad for night and a lamp for day time and have a hot and cold side for them.
As far as more species goes, I do not at all suggest a boa. Not only can the babies bite a lot but they have a faster growth rate and will be more costly and need more space and care. I do not suggest a blood python or sand boa either. Both are strictly ground snakes and hate being held. My bloods dont even like being lifted, and anyone will tell you that even the adults have a nasty temperment.
Carpet pythons are another no, no. They get large, are are also known for their attitude. Kingsnakes can also be another good choice for you, but again try and find a adult or a juvi. But any colubrids ( kingsnakes, milksnakes, corn snakes) are more of a "have to hold" snake. Meaning you cant just throw them on your shoulder and expect them to hang on. They tend to be floppy and very active. Ball pythons will generally hang on and just lounge there.
Any snake you get will decide when it does or does not want to be held. I have a 10 foot argentine boa female that is puppy dog tame. But if I have her out to long or if she just isnt in the mood for being messed with she will either strike or give a really loud open mouth hiss to me. If you are really looking for a animal you can hold all the time a snake really isnt it, you are bound to stress them out to much and they will go off food or get to cold and get ill or they will bite you. A bearded dragon is more of a pet that will just hang out with you and not care, but again they will need to be warmed back up periodically.
So really it is all up to you and your space and budget as to which snake you go for.
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QUESTION: If you suggest a bearded dragon, what about a water dragon? I just want a pet that i can hold and play with that is interesting to watch. I'm in college so i can't have a dog or cat. I have really bad allergies so a reptile is the way i wanted to go. If you could help me out any more that would be great. Thank you so much for your help already. I really appreciate it.
They are very skiddish as babies, you will spend months trying to tame it. If you have the patience then it isnt a problem, but most people don't. They also really are not a "hold me" animal. Even tame ones can dart off and run and hide if something scares them.
Beardies, leopard geckos, and uromastyx are the best holding reptiles. Don't let anyone talk you into a chameleon, a lot of shops will lie just to get rid of them because they are a hard animal to sell. They cant be held at all really, they will have major stress and some die from being held.
Honestly other than that there really are not any "holding" reptiles, like I said, most hate being held. They just deal with it to a certain point, they are not like a dog where they crave or enjoy your affection.
Just know with most lizards, they have to have insects as well as veggies so just make sure it wont be a pain to get crickets or roaches several times a week. They also need calcium powder often to prevent MBD which is a bone disorder that many get.
Every animal is different, you could even get a beardie and wind up with one that just hates life and wants to bite everyone. Or you could get a water dragon and have the easiest one to tame. It just depends on the animal. And never ever buy at reptile shows unless you know what you are doing, so many people will tell me they were talked into buying iguana babies or water monitor hatchlings because at the show they were calm, well yeah they were freezing cold. Warm them up and you have the most aggressive and hard to handle lizards.
I would really go for a beardie, other than a ball python they are the best option for what you want and need but feeding them will be the only issue as well as housing a adult. babies can live in a 10 gallon for months but a adult will need at LEAST a 40 gallon breeder style tank.