No matter how you look at them, snakes are really cool creatures. Evolved from land-dwelling lizards, snakes as we know them to date as far back as 174 million years ago (yes, these living fossils outlived the dinosaurs). Snakes never stop growing and can sometimes produce asexually. But cool-factor alone doesn’t mean that all 3,000-plus snake species in the world automatically make great pets. To ensure a pleasant experience, there are a few key qualities that are imperative for a snake to have. If you’re thinking of getting a new cold-blooded pet but aren’t sure where to start. here are five awesome pet snake choices that have topped the popularity charts in 2023.
To kick off our list is the fan-favorite, the ball python. Widely regarded as the most popular of all pet snake species, ball pythons boast a loyal following by both beginner and expert snake keepers.
Ball pythons are renowned for being remarkably tame. They do extremely well with human contact and handling, making them the perfect companion for a pet owner wanting a hands-on snake experience. If you know anything about snakes, you know that this isn’t the case with most other snakes and that their docile nature makes them truly pleasant snakes to keep around.
But the true reason this species holds the number one spot in snake lovers’ hearts is that there are thousands of ball python morph combinations. Ball pythons boast the title of the snake with the largest number of morphs by a landslide, making them the go-to snake for a person who wants a fun pet that they can also customize to their aesthetic needs.
Just because corn snakes are considered to be one of the absolute best snake breeds for beginners doesn’t mean they’re boring. They’re good-sized snakes that average about 4 feet in length. Their temperament is similar to that of ball pythons in that they’re naturally calm and sweet.
One notable personality trait, however, is that corn snakes are quite curious. They’re always poking around to stay in the know about their surroundings, and don’t spend the majority of their time hiding in their holes as many other snakes are prone to doing. As such, corn snakes are relatively active snakes that are great fun to watch.
California kingsnakes are a popular choice of colubrid that are known for having just enough of an edge to them to make them a thrilling but beginner-appropriate snake. They can make wonderful pets that are tame and pleasant, just be prepared to work for it. Kingsnake owners will have their patience rewarded with a well-tempered snake that is active and tolerant to handling. Part of this species’ appeal is the feeling of accomplishment that comes from keeping a well-adjusted kingsnake.
Red-Tailed Boa Constrictors
Red-tailed boas are extremely popular, so much so that they’re often referred to simply as ‘boa constrictors’. These snakes make great intermediate-level pets for someone who wants a bit of a challenge but still wants a friendly and entertaining animal. These boas have wonderful temperaments, being everything that we’ve come to expect from an introductory snake: docile, calm, and non-aggressive.
What’s really cool about these creatures is that they have the personality of a small snake in a big snake’s body. Averaging 6-8 feet, they offer a low-stakes foray into the world of large snakes.
Western Hognose Snakes
If cuteness is a quality you appreciate in your pets, then the Western hognose snake should be number one on your list. This short-snouted species has an upturned nose ideal for flipping over leaves and debris. They’re a bit more prone to hiding than some of the other snakes mentioned, but when you see them, there’s a good chance they’ll be one of the most active you’ve ever owned. They’re very easy to take care of and don’t grow to be very large, rarely exceeding 2 feet in length.
Where To Buy a Snake in 2023
You can find these and other awesome snakes for sale nearly anywhere that snakes are sold. As some of the most popular snake species in the exotic pet trade, ball pythons, corn snakes, California kingsnakes, boa constrictors, and hognose snakes are all staples of the industry. For the best selection species, sub-species and morphs, you need not look further than your living room. Specialty online reptile shops have inventories dedicated to more than just the most popular species, but the rare and hard-to-find as well. You will also find everything you need to care for your scaly pet: tanks, substrate, hide boxes, and more.