If you’re going to get a snake, you should know that some breeds are easier to manage than others. Here are four easy snake species for new snake owners.

This list does not include cobras. Sorry to get your hopes up.
This list does not include cobras. Sorry to get your hopes up
Photo by Mohan Moolepetlu on Unsplash

Snakes can make good, docile pets if you know what you’re doing. While they won’t provide the same company that you could get from a dog or even a cat, a pet snake can add a little color and life to your home without requiring a lot of attention. However, some snake breeds are easier to manage than others. If you’re looking for a snake and you want an easy, low-maintenance breed, one of these four common snake species might be right for you.

Corn Snake

A corn snake in the wild.
A corn snake in the wild
Image from Wikimedia Commons

This beautiful American species gets its name from corn granaries, which attracted mice and other prey animals that the snake hunted. Corn snakes are distantly related to the American rat snake, another popular pet breed. Corn snakes typically live up to 20 years in captivity, and an adult corn snake may grow to be up to 5 feet.

Corn snakes are carnivorous, and their main prey is mice and other vermin. Juvenile corn snakes should be fed twice a week, while adult corn snakes should be fed roughly once a week. Pre-killed, frozen vermin will be fine as long as it is properly thawed beforehand.

An adult corn snake will be happy in a 20-gallon tank. Corn snakes prefer mild heat, so snake owners should remember to buy a heat lamp and keep the temperature of their snake’s tank at 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. While corn snakes tend to be docile, they will try to explore their environment, so make sure their lid is secured tightly.

Ball Python

A ball python.
A ball python
Image free from Wikimedia Commons

The ball python, also known as the royal python, hails from Central Africa. Their name comes from their unusual habit of rolling themselves into a ball and hiding their head in the middle when they feel threatened. A cousin of the boa constrictor, the ball python has similar methods of hunting prey.

Like corn snakes, ball pythons generally prefer mice or other vermin. Ball pythons in captivity should be fed pre-killed, thawed mice or rats. Juvenile ball pythons should be fed once every week or every ten days, while adult ball pythons will be fine with being fed once every two weeks. Ball pythons tend to be picky eaters and may be unusually prone to losing their appetite.

An adult female ball python can grow to be 3 to 5 feet long. Adult males are generally smaller, ranging from 2 to 3 feet long. An adult ball python can survive in a 40-gallon enclosure, but they will do well with more space than that. For the best results, owners should get a 75 or 100-gallon enclosure for their ball python. As this is a tropical species, they thrive under heat; the snake’s tank should be kept at temperatures between 75 and 90 degrees.

African House Snake

An African house snake.
An African house snake
Image free from Wikimedia Commons

The house snake, which hails from sub-Saharan Africa, gets its name from its habit of hanging around human settlements. These snakes are popular as pets because of their low-maintenance, easygoing nature. House snakes are generally considered harmless, and their small size makes them relatively easy to manage.

In the wild, African house snakes may hunt various vermin, small lizards, or birds. In captivity, however, house snakes should generally be fed pre-killed and thawed vermin, though juvenile snakes may eat small lizards. House snakes have unusually high metabolisms for snakes, which means that they should be fed at least once a week.

Adult female house snakes can be anywhere from three to five feet long, while males generally do not exceed three feet. As such, they can usually be content in a 30-gallon tank. It should be noted that this species does not do well in cold temperatures, and the enclosure should be kept at temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees.

Ringneck Snake

A ringneck snake.
A ringneck snake
Image from Wikimedia Commons

The ringneck snake can be found throughout North America. In the wild, its habitat ranges from southeastern Canada to central Mexico. This snake is a member of the colubrid family and is mildly venomous. However, they are still popular as pet snakes because their shy nature makes them fairly harmless, and their size makes them easy to manage. Ringneck snakes are nocturnal and generally remain inactive during the day.

Unlike the other snakes on this list, ringneck snakes may eat insects. While they also eat small rodents or lizards in the wild, it’s possible to feed a ringneck with insects or earthworms. If you’re squeamish about handling dead rodents, but you still want to get a snake, you might want to consider getting a ringneck. Ringnecks should be fed two to four times a week.

An adult ringneck snake may grow to be a whopping fifteen inches. As such, ringnecks generally don’t require a large enclosure and usually be content in a 10-gallon terrarium. However, snake owners should be careful to secure the tank if they get a ringneck snake, as this snake’s size and their shy nature makes them especially likely to escape and get lost.

Some snake breeds are easier to manage than others. Different species have different requirements in terms of feeding, attention, and space. If you’re looking for a pet that isn’t too difficult to manage, try looking for one of these four snake species.