We currently have a young bearded dragon but im wanting my first snake. Friends keep telling me to get a ball python but id rather have a boa. Whats your opinions?
First time snake owner? Would recommend a ball or corn.
I am, possibly, going to break with the main-line here. But first I am going to ask - How old are you?
That answer will greatly change my potential recommendations
38 and yes itll be our first snake.
I would say any colubrid over a ball python or boa. Ball pythons honestly have more common issues than anything I would recommend for a beginner since it can make some people panic. They also aren’t very active or fun to watch. Boas (if I am to assume you mean Columbian) get too big for a beginner IMO.
Corn snakes, black rat snakes, most king snakes and milk snakes. North American native colubrids are some of the most rock solid snakes you can own from my experience. I haven’t heard of them going on food strike and they don’t need much humidity (60% at most in many cases). They also don’t need higher than 85°F.
I have kept my Arizona mountain kingsnake using ambient temps for a little over 9 1/2 years now, and he has thrived and never missed a meal. If you want a larger colubrid then black rat snakes (Aka the Eastern rat snake) are great. They have nice personalities and the babies are adorable with how feisty they usually are. The grey rat snake, yellow rat snake, everglades rat snake, and greenish rat snake are all Eastern rat snakes as well. Milk snakes and king snakes are mostly small to medium sized colubrids, and are usually less feisty as babies.
For size reference between an Arizona mountain king snake and a Eastern rat snake. My adult male AMK is around 2’6" and is 114 grams. My adult female Eastern rat snake is around 5’6" long(possibly longer) and is 945 grams. If you need any of this translated to the metric system let me know lol.
Okay, that right there changes a lot of things for me.
As an adult, there is a level of patience, maturity, and tolerance that is going to be different than what a kid or teen would typically have. And that definitely shapes my recommendations.
First and foremost here is that before you get anything I STRONGLY advocate doing research. Lots and lots and lots of research. As a point of reference, I just made my 16yo write a research paper covering natural history, care and captive husbandry, and her specific plan for the new snake she is getting. This may sound extreme, but frankly it is the same thing that I do (not writing a report, but doing all the preliminary research). This is important because a care sheet from PetCo/Mart/World or a sixty second conversation with a breeder are not going to properly prepare you
Now, with that out of the way, I would say that a boa would be a fine first snake for you assuming you can meet all of its needs. I would also strongly recommend a bredli python or any carpet python subspecies. As babies, all of these can be a little nippy but I am assuming you are aware that a snake can nip you and you will not panic and fling it across the room should that happen. I am also assuming that a bite is not going to make you suddenly fear your animal. As adults they are all fairly robust-bodied animals that can be easily handled. Bredli and carpets are a bit more active than boas, especially when out of cage.
Do not take any of this to mean that the other recommendations people have offered here are invalid. I just find that balls and corns and the like are usually the go to for a younger crowd where it is the kid with the interest but more than likely the (supportive but not terribly enthusiastic) parent that will have to be taking care of the animal. Smaller stature, more innocuous species are an easier sell for those situations.
Regardless of what you choose, remember: Research. Research, Research!!
Since you are a presumably responsible adult, I see no reason why you could not have a boa constrictor as a first snake. However, I recommend starting with a baby or yearling so that you are not immediately having to deal with a large snake. If you raise up a young animal, by the time it is large you will be used to it and ready, and you will have had plenty of time to shape it’s temperament with regular, responsible handling.
We trained german shepherds for 5 years and ive learned from training pups that whatever snake i get i definitely want a baby so itll be easier to train and learn from.
Since I tossed them out as an option, I figured I would post these up as a reference. My bredli
My yearling female
My five-year-old male
The lighting was crap, they are much better looking in person
Honestly since you are an adult follow your heart and get what you want because you have the maturity and resources to handle whatever may crop up.
I would definitely research, research and research some more like it’s been stated in previous posts.
During your research you may find new species that you wouldn’t have thought of or considered before.
But again research. It’s the most important thing you can do no matter what other opinions we have on which snake out of the 2 you’re considering to be your first snake.
In my opinion I would go with a boa. My first boa, Vasuki, was amazing. He was one of the kindest animals I ever had and just a joy to handle. Boas are more active than ball pythons too. Some balls will sit in your lap for hours while most boas will roam and give you a better overall handling experience. But if you don’t want to feed anything larger than rats, do a ball python. Most boas, not all, will take rabbits as they mature. Meaning a more expensive food bill, but with one snake that really shouldn’t matter.
Again research, it is by far your best tool.
Go to a reptile show and get some handling experience or through a friend. You’re an adult and can make your own decsion. Something like a boa is an investment into a large snake. Buying a juvenile and having it turn into an adult can overwhelm some people. You don’t know the power until you feel one give you a hug,. It can be a little intimadating the first time a ball python tense up and uses it’s muscles to swing around on you. Any snake for that matter, but if your putting the time, money and commitment in get what will make you happy.