Large Beginner Snakes?

I am really interested in expanding my reptile collection to include larger snakes in the future. I currently only own 2 ball pythons but would like to also get possibly a reticulated or Burmese python in the future. I’ve heard that Burmese tend to be a bit more docile. Any suggestions or input for larger snake species?

Although I have not owned a retic or Burmese myself. I have grown up around quite a few and am aware of the time, space and care that goes into owning such a large animal.

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Why not step up to something that’s not quite a giant? Maybe a short tail python? The amount of care is a significant amount more for giant snakes. My sd retic is 9-10 foot and she’s a handful by myself. A full size retic or burm is a huge responsibility and you will need help handling it.


Of those 2 options, I think burmese are a better option, but I am biased, burms are my favorite species.
What traits are important to you? Is it something you want as a pet or do you want to breed the species you choose one day? Do you have an ideal size range in mind? Is there a particular look or color you love? Also, very important, check your local laws. A few states (New York, Florida and some others) ban both of these species, and others require a permit. You could also have county or city laws that have a ban or certain licensing requirements to keep these species. Also, if you intend on moving states any time soon, you may want to hold off on getting one until you know you are in your forever state to live in, because there is currently legislation proposed to re-prohibit the interstate transport of these species, and so you would not be able to bring your pet with you if you move state, if that law passes.

Both burms and retics can be great pets for the right owner, but are a lot of work, needing very big enclosures, powerful heaters and large prey items, so they are expensive to keep, and a bite can be dangerous. If the size of a full blooded mainland is a bit too much, both of them have island subspecies that get smaller than their mainland counterparts, and intergrades between the two are also available. If you don’t have your mind set to either of those species, you could also look at boa constrictors (Boa imperator, B. constrictor and B. occidentalis) Angolan pythons, the 3 madagascan boas, rainbow boas, carpet pythons, olive pythons, bismarck ringed pythons, macklotts pythons and other medium to large boids.

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I would NOT recommend a full sized burm or retic as they get HUGE. Start with a smaller species that gets in between 7 and 10 feet. A few examples are Short tails, SD Retics (Male of small bloodline), or a boa constrictor. If you really want a giant then you should start with some of the species I recommended above before you get a snake that you can’t handle.


as stated above, would start off with possibly a blood python or boa but i would say if you are set on those species to get a retic. they are so intelligent, curious and interested. mine will watch me when i come into the room and they are joys to handle. in my experience, they are quite docile and easy to handle/ work with when they aren’t in feed mode. my experience is a bit limited though as my largest 2 are about 6 feet. they also in my opinion have the best morphs of any captive snake.


I’d 1st step up to something in the 6-10ft range before jumping right to a “giant” species. A nice BCI or carpet python(less heavy bodied) would be great. They’re active, curious and docile(w proper handling).

My dad & niece a couple years ago


Giving my vote for short-tails, big snake personality in a shorter package, but of course I’m slightly biased :wink:

That being said, my belief is that with enough research and mentorship, any of the commonly kept species in the hobby could be someone’s first pet, and it’s better to get something you really want than settling for a “beginner” animal, but you have to be responsible about it. Boas are much more similar in terms of handling to retics, however so I feel that would be closer to the direction you’re thinking

Edit: re-read the post

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@sammi00 truly if you want a burm, I’d recommend you get some hands on experience cleaning, feeding, and maintaining adult female Retics before you consider getting a baby male of either species. These snakes are incredibly intelligent (Retics more so, LOL), and get large pretty fast.

If you want something big, and you like boas, I would recommend a female Colombian boa. I would say go for larger locality boa constrictors are the way to start out. That will get you closer (yet far to be safe) to the size and length and girth of the snakes you would want to have.

This is not to be a buzzkill, I want a female Retic 13-15 feet with some SD blood but right now being that I only have one snake and it’s a 5 1/2 foot boa (he is a male), it might be irresponsible for me to jump up to something that large right now if I was not in Florida.

To finish, I hope you actually enjoy whatever you get, a lot of people get bigger snakes and then have to surrender them, even boas. Personally length isn’t a deterrent for me but I have never witnessed the girth and length of a 14 foot Retic. Whatever you do please be smart with this decision. I hope you have a wonderful day :heart:


The thing with retics(14’+), burms(12’+), true BCC boas(10’+) even bigger BCIs and carpets(coastals 8’+) is once they get 6’-8’+ you don’t move them, you move WITH them. So handling is much different and a 2nd person is always recommended even with experienced keepers. They can all be tamed down and good for handling but all have great feed responses and accidents/mistakes can easily happen which becomes much more serious at these sizes vs BPs.


For sure! My art teacher in HS had a buddy who actually got eaten because he was irresponsible and let his, I wanna say retic, roam around the house and it didn’t end well for him. I would never get a bigger snake without doing plenty of research and especially if I never had any prior experiences with them. They’ve always peaked my interest and I hope to own one some day. I think I’ll take up a slightly smaller snake first like you all recommended!


I doubt that the retic actually ate a human, but they could have killed him. Retics rarely get big enough to eat a human. They can definitely kill though.


As far as “the story goes” they found him inside the snake but I’m sure it was 100% exaggerated.

Plus retics “learn”, they are smart

That sounds a bit exaggerated, unless it was an aggressive, rarely handled, 20’+ mainland female retic then it’s not likely. However it could be possible and for a smaller person it is a risk to be severely injured or killed by them. That’s why it’s important to keep them in locked enclosures and only take them out if there are enough people for every 5’ length of the snake to help.

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I say go straight for a SD retic!


SD from small blood lines are around 150-400 grams at a year old. They grow gradually, allowing you to understand your snake and develop retic skills.


I would vote for a Bredl’s python, they are bomb-proof and can get to a pretty good size. They are active and perch out in the open so make good display animals.

Any others in the carpet complex are good too.

Blackhead pythons get to a nice size, but they are a touch on the expensive side

If you like the Aspidites without the hit to the bank account, womas can get to a fair size

Macklots and water pythons also get to a decent size and are fairly easy to care for


Well if you’re really wanting to get a giant python, I would go the Retic route for literally all the reasons that have been listed.

But, my concern is going from 2 BP’s to an animal that has the capacity to accidentally kill you (sorry, that story your teacher told you is so incredibly unlikely…but if you hold any constrictor around your neck with out a free shoulder/ arm to guide them away from wrapping your neck there’s risk, doesn’t matter if it’s a Retic or a Carpet, if they feel they’ll fall they can put enough pressure to either knock you out. Or suffocate you).

Like others stated, I would personally go either the Carpet Python or Boa Constrictor (BCI or BCC, both can be very impressive sizes!). They’re more interactive and active when handled, intelligent-ish, have great morphs, and are very good practice to learn how to deal with a giant snakes feeding response (it’s a whole other ball game than it is with a BP)

Or, you could just dive in with the Retic, don’t power feed it, and deal with its massive proportions. Do what you want to do!

What about a dwarf retic? They come in a lot of sizes, I was looking at a dwarf golden child on MM, they were expecting her to be around 10 ft. A pretty big snake, but nowhere near a full sized retic.:grin:


That’s a very big maybe. A lot of the dwarfs and super dwarfs get a lot bigger than advertised.

Finding the right one is a lot like choosing a dog from a breeder. Like asking yourself question along the lines of “how big are the parents”, “are the parents temperamental or pleasant” etc.

If all the boxes are checked I see no problem. But there is still the consideration of their monsterous feeding response.

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