I have had a ball python for a week (my first snake) and I’m so much in love with this species that I’m for sure going to get another snake down the line (few years). Therefore I’d like to ask if you can identify which breed(s) would suit the following ideal aspects best:
I’d like a snake:
I can see, who doesn’t spend most of their time in a hide
Doesn’t grow bigger than 4-5ft
Isn’t nippy / bad tempered / aggressive
Can be handled multiple times a week
Able to chill while handled (not moving around everywhere / super active)
Okay for beginner to intermediate keepers
So far I’ve identified the Tarahumara Boa Constrictor as a potential fit, but I’d like experienced keepers’ feedback on this and your other breed suggestions.
First of all I would say don’t rush into snake ownership. Keep your current snake for at least a month before you get more. If you get too many snakes too quickly you might start start seeing their care as a chore and no longer want to take care of them. See if you really want to get more snakes. But, I think you can and should get more but don’t rush into it.
As far as snakes I would recommend kenyan sand boas, corn snakes, and african house snakes.
Sand boas aren’t the greatest display animals since they often stay burrowed but they have a lot of color morphs and check the box for everything you mentioned. Corn snakes I think are good but I don’t personally know much about them but they check a lot of boxes. African house snakes are great for handling and display animals, as babies they’re picky eaters but as long as you get a well-started one you should be fine. If you tried breeding them you might have trouble getting the babies to eat.
@godzillao4 - Thanks for the recs, I will look into those! @erie-herps - I am definitely planning on taking time to learn how to be a good keeper before getting a second one. This is a more of a preliminary research. I appreciate the recs, I’ll be looking at them individually as well!
I will be a buzzkill and say give it at least a year. There is a lot you can learn by going through an entire year with all the seasonal changes in behaviours.
Now, as far as recommendations go
Corns and others in the rat snake group are good beginner animals. They are gregarious and generally out and about. While young, they are often nippy, but they tend to grow out of that after about a year or so in age.
Carpet pythons. One of the smaller species/subspecies like Papuan or Darwin or Jungle. Very arboreal and very comfortable being out in the open and “on display”. Like corns/rats, they can be nippy while young but most grow out of it. That said, you do not want to try handling them after lights out as they are very hunt oriented and once the lights go out their brains switch to predator mode and pretty much any heat signature elicits a strike. If you are willing to fudge a little larger I would put a male bredli as a top choice here, they are exceedingly mellow and also very tolerant of husbandry mistakes
African house snakes. These are basically the African version of a corn snake in terms of ease of keeping. One potential downside is that the females are extremely fecund and will occasionally lay dud clutches even if they are never paired to males. This can take a toll on their health over time
Garter snakes. A very gregarious species. If you go this route I would advocate getting a small colony of them as they actually do better in a social group. They can be musk prone while getting used to you but once you have established a routine they can often be hand fed
Dwarf localities of boa. Another decent option for something arboreal that does not mind being on display. I will caveat that if you go this route, find a very reliable/respectable breeder, not just any average Joe claiming to have dwarfs as there are a lot of integrate animals out there
Alterna. These are the most un-kingsnake kingsnakes. They stay smaller and are not bite-prone. They can be secretive but as they grow comfortable they often hangout and watch what is going on (mine always sit with their heads on the lip of the litter dam and follow me around the room when I am down there.) This is another species where a reliable breeder is a must however, because they are naturally lizard feeders and babies can be very difficult to switch over if you are not familiar with the process. A good breeder will be able to provide you with an animal that is regularly feeding on rodents
I’m totally in agreement! I do love my corn snakes. I’ve kept a number of them as classroom pets BECAUSE they check your boxes. That said, they’re individuals, and like any species (including we Homo sapiens), some are exceptions to the general rule. For instance, I have a lovely female Amber whom I scarcely see apart from feeding time. Many breeders can tell you about their snakes’ personalities. Keep in mind that most will become calm about handling with patience and persistence.