Snakes are inherently fascinating animals. An entirely unique experience from that of owning a traditional pet, there’s just something about these beautiful living fossils that tickles our fancy. But with over 3,000 species on the planet, knowing which kind of snake to choose as your next pet–or even which ones you can choose from–can be a mountain of a task for a beginner. Skip the guesswork and use this short guide to learn more about three of some of the best snakes you can have as a pet.
Even if you know nothing at all about snakes or how to distinguish the thousands of species, this snake is definitely one that will make you take a second look. The hognose snake has a uniquely upturned snout that’s perfect for browsing through leaf litter. It gives it the appearance of having an adorably smushed face, which is why hognoses are considered to be one of the cutest of snakes. They are also one of the smallest popular pet snake species, whose length typically maxes out at the two feet mark.
Central American Boa (Common Boa)
The Central American boa, also known as the Nicaraguan or dwarf boa, is one of the smallest members of the true Boa snake family, Boidae, which includes one of the largest (and heaviest) snakes on the planet, the green anaconda. Rarely growing beyond five feet, this snake is a solidly medium-sized snake that makes boa ownership an accessible option to casual snake owners.
Despite its location-specific name, Central American boas can also be found in parts of Mexico, South America, and the outlying islands of those regions. As such, these boas are one of the most commonly found boa species.
Colombian Red Tail Boa (Boa Constrictor)
Another popular boa snake species, the Colombian red-tailed boa is often referred to simply as “boa constrictor”. It is often confused with the Central American boa that sometimes goes by the name of “common boa”. Despite the similarities in their name and appearance, these two boas are very different when it comes to adult size and therefor cage requirements.
A key distinction is their size. The Colombian red tail boa has a minimum length that is a full foot larger than the Central American boa’s largest size. Boa constrictors can easily grow to be ten feet or longer.
Last but not least is everybody’s favorite (and we mean everybody), the ball python. They’re one of the most popular pet snake species in the country, if not the most popular. Beloved for decades by breeders long before keeping reptiles as pets was as popular as it is today, there are now thousands of ball python morphs available, a true testament to their red-hot demand. Ball pythons are a great size (about 4-5 feet), naturally docile, and relatively social, as far as snakes go.
Their exotic appearance would suggest that they’re a difficult and complicated animal to care for, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Widely regarded as one the best snake species for beginners, ball pythons boast a winning personality with remarkably simple care needs.
You can find any or all of these snakes for sale anywhere that snakes are sold. Online reptile shops are likely to have the best selection and best prices and a great place to begin your search.