Many people out there decide to have a pet snake for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps they simply think they are cool, or perhaps they find a snake to be a symbol of power. These are not good reasons to take on the responsibility of a snake in and of themselves. You also have to consider the special circumstances involved when owning a pet snake. Not doing so can be potentially dangerous to the snake, your family and yourself. Before you head out and get that pet snake, ask yourself these five questions:
Do I love snakes?
This seems to be a rather obvious question to ask, but you would be surprised how many snake owners detest snakes. Even if you love the idea of a pet snake, does your wife? These are important questions to ask. After all, would you bring a pet dog home to a family that does not like dogs? Of course not. Give snakes that same consideration and you will be just fine. Make sure everyone in the family is on board and okay with your new pet snake.
Should I get a constrictor or a venomous snake?
Unless you are an experienced snake handler, and unless it is legal in your state or area, then you have no reason to ever own a venomous snake. Venomous snakes can range from harmless to completely deadly, and you really should not take those kinds of chances. Most areas consider a venomous snake to be illegal as a pet anyway.
Constrictors are snakes that squeeze their prey, and represent the vast majority of pet snakes. Even the tiny corn snake is a constrictor, so this does not necessarily mean dangerous. When you pick out your pet snake, it in all likelihood will be a constrictor. Constrictor snakes have their own set of potential dangers depending upon the breed. This leads us to the next question.
Should I get a large snake or small snake?
Once you know you are getting a constrictor, then you have to decide how big your ideal snake would be. Like the venomous snakes mentioned above, constrictors can be very dangerous as well. This is particularly true of the larger pythons and boas. A reticulated python, for example, can easily kill a full grown human being if they get them wrapped up in their coils. Most medium to smaller constrictors are not particularly dangerous, however. Most pet snake owners should go with a snake that stays relatively small. A good size is usually about three or four feet at the most. Once a snake gets to be six feet and larger, then you have to consider the potential dangers to other family pets and small children.
Can I care for the snake all the way through their life cycle?
Snakes grow up just like a dog or cat, and they get bigger and more complicated as they do. The smaller snakes are no problem in this area, but the bigger snakes can change a great deal. That baby reticulated python might be cute as a baby, but what about when it is twenty five feet long and weighs more than you and your wife combined? Think about that before you bring the snake into your home.
Do I have the proper equipment?
Snakes require special considerations with most breeds, including lamps for heat, proper sized aquariums or living areas, unique food considerations and so on. Many people think you can just place a pet snake in any old aquarium and be fine, but this is not so. Snakes are excellent escape artists, and will easily find their way out of the general aquarium set up. Because of this, you need to check with your local pet snake expert and be sure you have the right set up.
If you can answer all of these pet snake questions and still feel good about getting one, then you should be ready to join the ranks of snake ownership. Be sure you explore these questions completely, and you will have along and happy relationship with not only your pet snake, but the others in your household.