The 10 Best Snakes for New Reptile Owners - Pet Hub USA

The 10 Best Snakes for New Reptile Owners

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Looking to add a new reptile buddy to your family? Read this first! We’ve rounded up 10 ideal snake breeds for new reptile owners because of their relatively docile nature, manageable size, and ease of care — plus, the snake breeds newbies should avoid.

The 10 Best Snakes for First-Time Reptile Owners

Are you ready to embark on a brand new journey into the world of reptile ownership? Snakes are beautiful creatures that have held human fascination for centuries.

For those new to the world of snake ownership, choosing the right snake breed is crucial for a successful and enjoyable experience. Here are the 10 best breeds for newbies to get started with.

1. Corn Snake


(Pantherophis guttatus)

Corn snakes are famous for their beautiful colors and patterns. They are docile, easy to handle, and have manageable care requirements.

Their small to medium size and calm demeanor make them an excellent choice for first-time snake owners. Adults grow between 2-5.97 feet. They typically live 10-15 years in the wild, and up to 23 years or more in captivity.

2. Ball Python


(Python regius)

Ball pythons are famous for their gentle temperament and relatively slow movement. They are easy to handle and don’t require an extravagant enclosure size.

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Their striking appearance and manageable size make them a popular choice for beginners. They grow to a maximum length of 6 feet and a maximum weight of 3 pounds and 9.7 ounces.

3. Kenyan Sand Boa

The Reptilarium via Wikipedia

(Eryx colubrinus)

These small, burrowing snakes are perfect for beginners due to their manageable size and simple care needs. They rarely grow longer than three feet in length, with males being significantly smaller.

Their unique appearance and minimal aggression make them a delightful addition to any collection. 

4. Rosy Boa

Connor Long via Wikipedia

(Lichanura trivirgata)

Rosy boas are known for their gentle nature and modest size. They typically grow between 17-44 inches in length and are capable of living 30+ years in captivity.

They thrive in captivity and adapt well to various environments, making them a great choice for novice snake enthusiasts. 

5. Children’s Python

Scarlet 23 via Wikipedia

(Antaresia childreni)

As their name suggests, Children’s pythons are suitable for all ages.

Their small size, calm disposition, and manageable care requirements make them an excellent choice for beginners.

They grow between 3-5 feet and their lifespan has been known to exceed 30 years in captivity.

6. Garter Snake


(Thamnophis spp.)

Garter snakes are unique in their appearance and behavior. They are relatively small, and active, and thrive in simple setups. Their hardy nature and curious demeanor make them an ideal choice for those new to snake ownership.

They vary between 18 to 51 inches in length. The longest recorded lifespan in captivity is 14 years, with the average being 6-10 years.

7. Kingsnake


(Lampropeltis spp.)

Kingsnakes come in various striking patterns and colors. They are known for their ease of care and adaptability. Kingsnakes have a resistance to common snake diseases, making them a good option for beginners.

Their length can vary from 2-5 feet in length. Their average life span is 10-15 years.

8. Western Hognose Snake


(Heterodon nasicus)

The Western Hognose Snake is famous for its entertaining behavior and distinct appearance. They have a relatively mild temperament and are well-suited for novice snake owners.

Adults rarely exceed a length of 15-20 inches, with males considerably smaller than females. They live 5-20 years in captivity.

9. California Kingsnake

Connor Long via Wikimedia Commons

(Lampropeltis californiae)

California kingsnakes are hardy, adaptable, and easy to care for. They have a manageable size, typically reaching 2.5-3.5 feet in length, and have a lifespan of 20 years.

They are known for their calm disposition, making them a top choice for beginners. 

10. Rough Green Snake

Asklēpiós via Wikimedia Commons

(Opheodrys aestivus)

Rough green snakes stand out for their vibrant green color and slender bodies. They primarily eat insects, which simplifies their care. Their captivating appearance and manageable size make them an excellent option for new snake owners.

Only about as wide as a pencil, and usually 2-3 feet in length, can grow up to a maximum size of 45-3/4 inches. They live only 5 years in the wild but can reach up to 15 years in captivity with proper care.

Snake Breeds New Snake Owners Should Avoid

brown snake on brown soil
Photo by Michael Jerrard on Unsplash

While there are numerous snake breeds suitable for beginners, there are a few that require more experience due to their specialized needs or challenging behavior. Possession of these reptiles may be illegal in some areas.

Some of these breeds include:

  • Green Tree Python (Morelia viridis), which demands precise humidity and temperature control
  • Burmese Python (Python bivittatus), known for their massive size and potential strength.
  • Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus), which can grow exceptionally large and may have more unpredictable behaviors.
  • Venomous snakes, such as rattlesnakes and cobras, should be strictly reserved for advanced keepers due to the high level of danger they pose. 

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