Advice for beginners? (Snakes)

Hey, my name is Jemma. Was hoping to get some advice. A snake has always been the one thing that I have always wanted to get but what are the ins and outs, e.g. what is the best type of snake to get for my first?

Any advice for noobs is welcome.

Thanks! :slight_smile:


Welcome. You found the right place to seek answers and to share experiences.

As far as your question, unfortunately you will get several different answers. This is an open ended question for a long time.

The most popular answers would be ball python, corn, rat, king, milk. This may not help much, but at least it gives you several directions and options.

The biggest problem you will hear is that ball pythons are problem eaters. In some ways they can be, others have not had problems. As younger ones tend to eat without issues, as they get older they can tend to skip meals, in some case for months at a time. But if that does happen once you get over the panic mode and seek advice, you will learn how to deal with it. (balls is what I have in my collection and can give more advanced on).

Corn, rat. I have had in the past and the only thing I can say is they do tend to be a little harder to handle. Now this I mean, they can be faster, move a lot more when handling, and not so layed back like ball pythons. As far as eating, they do tend to stick to a better scheduled then balls. They don’t seem to skip meals for long periods like balls can do.

King, milk. I have not had but from what I hear, they tend to gall in the same category as corn and rat.

No matter what you get, make sure you and do a lot of research on it.
Have their housing setup and working at least a pont before it arrives. This is the hardest part, getting thing setup correctly the first time. If your setup is good, then you will have less problems from the start and in the long run.

Enjoy your new adventure and please let us know what you decide.


Welcome to the forum.

If possible I recommend going to an expo so you can get in person experience handling some animals and potentially finding a local breeder of something that you like.


Welcome to the community! I think corns tend to be the best first pet snake hands down. Easy to care for, tolerant of husbandry errors, typically very good eaters, pleasant to handle, most don’t bite, not too expensive, and they come in lots of beautiful colors and patterns. And if you worry about the flighty baby stage, you can always get a yearling or adult.

We would all love to see what you end up going with, so make sure to come back and post pictures!



my best advice is research, research!

One great resource is Clint’s Reptiles on Youtube, and his channel has several videos about the best species for people new to snakes, or the most easy-to-care-for pets.

He rates them based on their various qualities so you can choose your specific preferences in Size, Diet, Activity Level, and how often you’ll see the animal out and about in its enclosure, or whether you can hold it a lot. The kind of pet you want is specific to you, and the experience you’d like to have with your pet.

For example:
I have a couple of spectacular snakes, A Ball Python and an African House Snake, but some people might not prefer them because one is Crepuscular and one is outright Nocturnal- I don’t see them during the day, just morning and evening or at night.

But they’re both fantastic to handle, and incredibly gorgeous in appearance, and very docile in temper, and very inquisitive personalities.

Neither will get very large- I am disabled and can’t handle something with a bigger “hug” like a Boa Constrictor, so a Ball Python is the largest snake that’s right for me.

Some species to look up, for a start: Ball/Royal pythons, Corn snakes, Western Hognose snakes, Sand Boas, Boa constrictors, itty bitty African House Snakes which come in many colors, King Snakes, Milk Snakes, Children’s or Spotted Pythons (they’re close relations) are tiny but wonderful, Garter snakes which you keep in little groups, Angolan pythons are rarer but very like a Ball, Hog Island Boas are smaller variants of Boa, and the SuperDwarf Reticulated Python is an active and lively long boi.

Of course, don’t get a “beginner snake” you don’t like much just because people said you should have that first IF what your heart adores is something else like a Blue Beauty Asian rat snake. It’s just that some snakes are easier to look after without as much preliminary work and learning.

I’d just say: If there’s a species you love but it’s said to be for more advanced keepers, I’d go get experience helping other people who have more experience with caring for their snakes, like interning for a good breeder for a little, so that when you get your Dream Pet, you’ll have those skills ready.


I like everything that everyone has said. It’s all super true. A good beginner snake depends on you! You shouldn’t get the best ‘first snake’ if that’s not what you want at the end of the day. Take me for example, i started in the good ol’ Facebook groups that told me that as a beginner i was only allowed to have certain animals and that i had to work my way up to the animals that i really wanted which were boas and uncommon/arboreal pythons. Now i have a handful of animals that i love and take care of, but maybe my heart isn’t set on. But they are lifelong commitments nonetheless and so i intend to see them through. (Unless i find another responsible keeper that would enjoy them and love them more than i could.)

The issue is that once you do ‘get enough experience’ to have the animals that you want, now you have a whole bunch of other animals that you don’t want that consumes resources that could prevent you from being able to care for your dream animal. Or that could end up being neglected in favor of your dream animal…

So don’t worry about ‘beginner animals’ go out there and dream as big as you can. And if your snakey compass leads you to an animal that is particularly reserved for the ‘experts’ then triple that research. Go research nuts. Buy all of the stuff and set it up before you even pick out the snake. Find people who keep what you want, and ask their advice. Go to expos and look for the animal you want. Ask to hold them, ask to learn.

I highly recommend setting up the enclosure before picking out the snake tho. Figuring out how to maintain the parameters in enclosure over long periods of time can be a fantastic learning experience in and of itself. And it doesn’t hurt an animal if you struggle to maintain it at just the right temps and humidity for a couple of months while you learn.

That being said there are all kinds of awesome snakes to choose from! Ontop of everything already said, there are old world rat snakes, larger north American colubrids like indigo snakes and bullsnakes, there are pythons like woma, white lipped, olive, reticulated, burmese, stimpsons, green tree, amazon, the list goes on! Boas like bci (in all colors of the rainbow except blue) bcc with beautiful red tails, dumerils, rainbow, bca, bco, bcl, and i believe anacondas are also from the boa complex, emerald tree boas, on and on and on. All of them different in temperament, difficulty, hardiness, beauty, size, care, availability, and upfront cost. There’s literally so many options. It all depends on you.

The only snakes i would never recommend to anyone except a 100% experienced and trained expert is venomous. Large constrictors flirt with that line too, (burms anacondas rock pythons mainland retics) but I’ve heard a lot of arguments about how you could possibly keep these animals as a first if you have the opportunity to work with other people who keep them too.


You’ve already gotten some great advice.

The best advice I can offer is to pick a species that you really love, don’t pick a species just because everyone says it’s the one you should start with. While there are certainly some species that are not appropriate for beginners, there are quite a few species often labeled as more “intermediate” that I think could be just fine as a first snake with a little extra research and preparation. Just be honest with yourself about what you want and what is practical for your situation. Come up with some criteria that are important to you, then find the species that best meets those requirements.

For example, what size can you comfortably and confidently accommodate (this is both a question of your personal preferences and how much space you have for an enclosure). Do you want something that will be docile and easy to handle, or are you more into the idea of having a display animal? Is it important for you to be able to see the snake doing snakey things during the day, or are you okay with an animal that’s more reclusive and/or only comes out at night? Are you willing/able to put the effort into maintaining precise temperatures and humidity, or would you prefer something really hardy that’s very forgiving of husbandry errors? Are you okay with a snake that might be a more picky eater, or are you going to get super stressed out if your snake refuses a few meals? Also, how much money can you realistically spend on both the animal itself and its habitat? Keep in mind that larger snakes are going to be quite a bit more expensive to house, even if the snake itself isn’t that pricey.

Just off the top of my head, some great “beginner” snakes that are hardy, relatively small, and generally docile are corn snakes, North American rat snakes, Kenyan sand boas, rosy boas, ball pythons, African house snakes, king snakes, milk snakes, hognose snakes, and dwarf locality boa constrictors.

Some “intermediate” species could also be fine as a first snake with some extra research and preparation. These species are usually a little less tolerant of husbandry errors, and/or are known to be a little more spicy as far as temperament goes, but are still very manageable and can make great pets. Short-tailed pythons, Amazon tree boas, carpet pythons, Asian rat snakes, Children’s/spotted pythons, bull snakes, gopher snakes, and woma pythons are all wonderful. Non-dwarf boa constrictors could also be a great option, as they’re easy to care for and generally docile. They just get a bit bigger than many people want for a first snake.

This is basically just a really long-winded way of saying find what you like, research and prepare properly, and you’re likely to end up with a really wonderful pet you adore. Good luck! Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you can ask for more species-specific advice.


You’re in the right place. You can learn a lot from a lot of folks who know much more than me about many, many things. It’s great that you’re thinking about this, not just reflexively buying a living creature because it’s attractive to you and then finding out you don’t really like living with it.

I’m with Olivia here. I am unashamedly biased toward corns! I’ve had many as classroom pets. They’ve always been a success. I love their beauty, their variety, their personalities.

Definitely important. To some degree, your choice can and should reasonably consider the husbandry your chosen species needs, especially the space considerations. No matter how prepared one may be do care for an animal, some simply need more room than is practical for everyone.

Very wise words.

Best of luck, @jemma69362 . We look forward to seeing your choice. :grinning:



Now that you’ve heard all of this, what is your opinion?

What kind of temperament do you want?
Do you want an animal that tends to be more energetic or chill? How important is it that your snake will be docile? Do you care if it’s spicy?

How big? Small is like anything up to 4ft medium is like 4ft to 6ft medium large like 6ft to 9ft and extra large is like 9-15 biiiig boi is 15+.
Girthiness can also be a factor.

What about hardiness? Do you want something more bomb proof? Or would you prefer something cooler but maybe more fragile?

Is there any special snake you have in mind?


Welcome! I’ll try and keep it short, because as you see everyone has different opinions. All good advice and it’s your job to wade through it, I guess your first research assignment if you will.
I will just add a few things. While a first snake doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a beginner species, most beginner species are there so you can learn their behavior and mannerisms such as feeding response and when they are cranky because of a shed cycle. With the smaller, more “friendly” snakes, mistakes are less of an issue. Retics and Burns are just as good of pets as Balls, but when they get big those mistakes are amplified.
A little warning about kingsnakes(maybe milks too, mine has not), they want to eat you all the time, :joy:. Especially if you are keeping other snakes in the area. Always wash your hands.
I have dwarf island and mountain locality boas and wish I had gotten into them earlier. If you want something different than the norm and a big snake is not something you’re looking for, try those. They are pricey because they are hitting it big now.
Ok, that wasn’t really short but that’s what happens. Good luck, and research, research, research.


Haha i second that. Even the more well behaved ones are too food driven for their own good! My Kingsnake will eat right out of my hand and then eat my hand! LMAO. He’s otherwise a very distinguished gentleman.


I was holding a hatchling albino Cal king while talking to someone and looked down and it was trying to eat my thumb. But yes, a great snake in many subspecies and colors.


So I have just 2 things to add to what everyone has said and or suggested. First and foremost, make sure you have a reptile vet lined up before you buy your snake. Imo this is just as important as having the enclosure set up.

Second, a baby milk snake will pee, poop, and/or musk on you until it begins to feel comfortable with you, which can take a while. I also have a baby gray banded king snake that does the same. They will bite as well and I don’t care what anybody says, it hurts! Lol! As a general rule, corn snakes do not do this as babies.

Best wishes! :lizard::snake::frog::blush:


Ball pythons are always a great beginner snake.


Get a rosy boa. Period. Do your research! :wink:


Bottom line…make sure its something that you really want regardless of beginning…advancing… Will you take care of what you get to its best ability…??.. now when people say & are specific “advanced” care…dont jump into that…EVER withour prior experience. My thoughts.


I mean, I will stand and represent BI

While they do get on the bigger end of the spectrum, it does take a significant amount of time when you feed they right. They have the best personalities and dispositions, that I have seen. They get size without becoming too big. Super hardy, I think bulletproof.


my one piece of advice is don’t impulse buy, be patient, it takes time to learn the things you need to know. so here’s what I think you should do, look at two or three species, and research them then make a budget and think, “whats my budget?” “do I have the room?” “is this too big?” “is this to small?”. see out of all the species which fits best for you NOT WHICH LOOKS BETTER remember even if you don’t like the “normal morph” (like wild type) you can always just get a morph, and do the same process find 3-4 animals you’re interested in of said species, then look, “is it too young?” “to old?” “is the seller sketchy?” “does it seem friendly” “does it look healthy” “is it too much” and remember if you think a seller is sketchy don’t buy from them, because there are so many other sellers, which could be so much more safe to buy from, thats my advice!


My first was a carpet python. I know they usually get a bad rep for being nippy but mine was not like that and she was a great eater.


I’m still not 100% sure really though I don’t intend to get a snake till I’ve done more research. From looking up all the different types people on here have said, ball pythons have caught my eye.

I feel that maybe a bit of a bigger snake might be good? (Correct me if i’m wrong) More to “grab” in a way, they seem like a good in between snake, not small and “fragile” but not overly big.

I don’t really might the personally as long as it’s not overly spicy!