Every new pet comes with a shopping list. Snakes have distinct needs. If you are considering your first pet snake, follow this checklist and you’ll be well-prepared.

What to do before getting a snake
What to do before getting a snake
Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

Snakes tend to be low-maintenance pets. They don’t bark and you don’t need to walk them or brush them. Still, if you’re planning on getting a snake, you’ll need a few items to ensure your pet snake is safe, comfortable, and unable to bite anyone. Here are the basic necessities for anyone planning on getting a snake.

Getting a Tank

Snake tank.
Snake tank.
Photo from Wikicommons.

First, your snake is going to need a tank. Depending on how big the animal is, you might need to adjust the size so that your snake can move around comfortably. Since your snake will spend the majority of its life in that tank, it’s important that the tank be comfortable and spacious.

Before you get a tank, make sure you know what kind of snake you want and look up what tank size you’ll need. A small snake might be able to make it in a 20- to 30-gallon tank. Larger breeds, like corn snakes, may need something bigger than that. If you’re getting a juvenile snake, you might be able to start with a 10-gallon tank and move your snake as it gets bigger.

Make sure that the lid to your snake’s cage is securely attached. Once they’re in the cage, your snake will start exploring its environment. A poorly attached lid may lead to your snake escaping.

Ventilation and Heating

After choosing a tank, you’ll want to make sure that your snake’s home is a comfortable environment. First off, you’ll need to get a screen for ventilation. While snakes tend to thrive in hot, humid environments, you don’t want it to be too humid. Excessive humidity can lead to scale rot in snakes.

Snakes are cold-blooded animals, so they’ll need an external heat source to survive. Some snake owners may use an incandescent light attached to the top of the tank, while others may use a light and a heating pad. You’ll also want to get a thermometer to keep track of the temperature of your snake’s tank. It generally helps to have a cool area and a warm area of the tank, so you may want to arrange the heat source in your snake’s tank accordingly.

Ideally, the temperature should range between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the specific heat and humidity requirements for your snake’s tank may vary from breed to breed. Make sure you check your snake’s habitat requirements before setting up heat and ventilation.

Creating a Habitat

Snake decor.
Snake decor.
Photo from Wikicommons.

Snakes tend to be low-maintenance pets, but they get bored like any other pet. If your snake gets stuck in a bare tank—even a spacious and well-ventilated one—it likely won’t be very happy.

You can make your snake’s tank a better habitat by adding some scenery. Before putting your snake into their new tank, add some branches, rocks, or plants to the tank. Also, when you get your snake a water bowl, make sure it’s big enough for your snake to partially submerge itself. Some snakes may like to bathe themselves, and a water bowl can serve this purpose.

In addition, you’ll also want to get some hides. Hides can come in the form of boxes, fake “caves,” or other structures where your snake can hide out. You can make a hide by taking an old container and adding entrances and exits, or you can get some terrarium hides at most pet stores.


I’d like to thank my friend Ivy for giving me the idea for a snake article and for helping me get some information on the necessities for new snake owners. If you’re interested in learning more about raising snakes for beginners, stick around for more information later this week.