There are about 200 different species of snakes, so how do you choose one? Once you have chosen a breed, how do you choose a specific snake?
Recommended beginner snakes
Unless you are an expert snake handler, it’s a good idea to start with a species that isn’t too difficult to care for. The Ball (or Royal) Python is recommended for beginners. It is calm, slow-moving and rarely bites. It grows to about 4-5 feet long. Corn Snakes are also a good bet for a beginner. They are readily available and don’t grow to be very large. They are calm and able to survive in less than ideal environments. They are also good eaters. Milk snakes are another good choice. They are small and easy to maintain. They need a dry environment with little light, so you don’t have to fiddle with humidifiers or lights. They are good escape artists, though, so they need a very secure environment.
Avoid large constricting snakes, venomous snakes, and snakes that are hard to care for, such as boa constrictors, Burmese pythons, tree boas, water snakes, green snakes and Rock pythons.
Choosing a specific snake
When choosing a species of snake, keep in mind factors like price, hardiness, disposition and space constraints.
Buy a captive bred snake, not one captured from the wild. The captive bred snakes are more easily tamed and more regular eaters. Although the captive bred snakes may be more expensive, they are more likely to survive. It is also better to buy captive bred in order not to disrupt ecosystems in the wild. See more: Captive-bred vs.Wild Caught Pets.
Snakes that are a bit older are more likely than hatchlings to survive. Check that the snake is healthy. It should have a well rounded body and the backbone should not be visible. It should have good muscle tone and strength. If the environment it’s being kept in is dirty or inappropriate, the snake may be stressed even if it looks healthy.
You also much check if it is legal to own a snake where you live.