When it comes to pet snakes, bigger is better. The impressive size and elegant scales make large pet snake breeds some of the most popular in the reptile world.
Whether you’re looking for an exotic pet or want to experience owning one of nature’s largest predators, large pet snake breeds offer many unique advantages that other pets cannot match.
Table of Contents
- What are the best large pet snake breeds?
- 10 Large Pet Snake Breeds
- Reticulated Python
- Reticulated Pythons Are Not for Beginners
- Reticulated Pythons Need a Lot of Space
- Reticulated Pythons are Solitary Creatures
- Reticulated Pythons are Easy to Care for
- Burmese Pythons (Python bivittatus)
- African Rock Python (Python sebae)
- Coastal Carpet Python (Morelia spilota)
- Blood Python (Python brongersmai)
- The Indian Python
- How to Pick a Large Pet Snake Breed
- Do Snakes Bond with Owners?
- Where to Buy Large Pet Snakes
What are the best large pet snake breeds?
The three largest snake breeds you can keep as pets are reticulated pythons, Burmese pythons, and green anacondas. Other top picks include the yellow anaconda, African rock python, Coastal carpet python, Dumeril’s boa, red-tail boa, Blood python, and the king snake.
These breeds are prized for their impressive size and docile temperament, making them ideal pets for reptile owners who want to showcase a formidable creature at home.
If you’re looking to buy a new snake, consider one of these 10 popular large pet snake breeds.
10 Large Pet Snake Breeds
When you want to bring home one of the large pet snake breeds, do plenty of research and work with a reputable breeder or reptile expert to ensure that your new pet is properly cared for.
Keep in mind that there are plenty of great small pet snake breeds you can choose too, if you find that you’re unable to properly care for a larger snake.
Whether you’re looking for a pet python or an aquatic boa or simply wanting to explore some of the most popular large pet snake breeds, there are many options available to suit your needs and preference.
Once you’ve found the perfect fit, enjoy your new scaly friend!
They are among the largest snakes in the world and can grow to be over 20 feet long. They’re not the best choice for first-time snake owners, as they require a large enclosure and proactive handling.
The green and yellow species are among the best large pet snakes.
Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus)
Length: Roughly 20 – 29 ft.
Weight: Up to 550 lb.
The green anaconda is one of the large snake breeds that makes our list of great pets. These giant serpents are native to South America and stretch up to 26 feet long.
Green anacondas are powerful swimmers, making them excellent aquatic pets when provided with large tanks.
Large snake breeds are some of the most impressive creatures in the animal kingdom, thanks to their massive size, beautiful scales, and calm demeanor. They require a lot of care, thus, aren’t the best for beginners.
Yellow Anacondas (Eunectes notaeus)
Length: 11 – 15 ft.
Weight: Up to 80 lb.
With its beautiful yellow and black markings, the yellow anaconda is a striking addition to any home. These serpents are native to South America, and captive-bred varieties can grow 15 feet long.
Like green anacondas, yellow anacondas are excellent swimmers and require large tanks with plenty of water to thrive.
They are solitary animals that are active during the day and at night. Many people who keep yellow anacondas as pets claim that they’re more “bitey” than other snakes. So, only an experienced hand makes a good owner.
Pythons belong to the Pythonidae family, one of two large families in the snake kingdom. These large snakes can grow to incredible lengths of up to 30 feet long and have large vertebrae and flexible ribs.
Each breed has unique characteristics that make it stand out from its cousins. If you’re looking for a large pet snake, be sure to research all the different species available before making your final selection.
If you’re interested in owning one of these magnificent creatures, check out these notable mentions.
Reticulated Pythons (Malayopython reticulatus)
Length: Up to 30 – 33 ft.
Weight: Up to 350 lb.
Reticulated pythons are the second-largest snake breed that people keep as pets. These massive snakes can grow almost 30 feet long and weigh over 200 pounds! Native to Southeast Asia, reticulated pythons are considered one of the most dangerous snakes in the world. Despite their reputation, reticulated pythons make absolutely great pets for experienced snake owners. Here’s everything you need to know about these snakes.
Reticulated Pythons Are Not for Beginners
If you’re new to snake ownership, a reticulated python is not the right pet for you. These snakes require experienced owners who are comfortable handling large, powerful animals. Reticulated pythons are also escaping artists, so you’ll need to be extra careful to secure their enclosure.
Reticulated Pythons Need a Lot of Space
As reticulated pythons grow, they will need more and more space. A full-grown snake can reach up to 30 feet, so you’ll need an enclosure at least 10 feet long. Reticulated pythons also like to climb, so your enclosure should have plenty of vertical space.
Reticulated Pythons are Solitary Creatures
Reticulated pythons are generally solitary creatures and do not do well with other snakes. If you must keep more than one snake in the same enclosure, provide each snake with its own space. Reticulated pythons can also be aggressive towards humans, so caution is essential when handling these snakes.
Reticulated Pythons are Easy to Care for
Despite their size, reticulated pythons are relatively easy to care for. These snakes require a warm environment, so you’ll need to provide a basking spot with a temperature of 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit. The rest of the enclosure should be kept at 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Reticulated pythons also need high humidity, so make sure to mist the enclosure daily.
Reticulated pythons are amazing snakes that make great pets for experienced owners. They are massive, powerful, and escape artists, requiring extra care and attention. But if you’re up for the challenge, a reticulated python is quite a rewarding pet.
Burmese Pythons (Python bivittatus)
Length: 20 – 23 ft.
Weight: Up to 300 lb.
Burmese pythons are another giant snake breed that can reach lengths of 20 feet or more. These snakes are native to southern and southeastern Asia and are typically dark brown or olive green with large yellowish-white spots.
This gentle giant is now an invasive species to southern Florida, where the warm climate allows them to thrive.
Their ability to adapt, thrive, and drive certain species in the Everglades to near extinction has given them a bad rap. But overhunting is turning them into a threatened species.
However, Burmese pythons are one of the most docile giants with beautiful coloration. They are excellent swimmers and will win a battle against an alligator on a good day.
These lovely creatures are generally solitary animals but will commune during spring to mate. Females lay up to a hundred eggs which hatch after three months.
Juveniles love spending their time on trees, but they become ground dwellers as they gain length and girth.
African Rock Python (Python sebae)
Length: 20 ft.
Weight: Up to 250 lb.
One of the most popular large pet snake breeds is the African rock python, which can grow up to 20 feet in length and weigh over 100 pounds.
This snake is a constrictor, meaning that it kills its prey by wrapping itself around it and squeezing tight. African rock pythons are not venomous, but they are still powerful and dangerous snakes that experienced snake owners should only keep.
Coastal Carpet Python (Morelia spilota)
Length: 6 – 12 ft.
Weight: 30 lb.
The coastal carpet python is a large snake that can reach lengths of up to 10 feet but has an average size of 6 – 8 ft. These snakes are native to Australia and New Guinea and come in various colors and patterns.
Coastal carpet pythons make great pets for experienced snake owners because they require large enclosures and a lot of food, largely consisting of rodents.
Blood Python (Python brongersmai)
Length: 4 – 8 ft.
Weight: Up to 30 lb.
The blood python is a large snake that can grow up to 8 feet. These snakes are native to Southeast Asia, and they get their name because they often have red or orange markings on their bodies.
These thick, powerful animals are the only species of the three short-tailed pythons with a red color, making them one-of-a-kind.
They make great pets but are not easy to keep as they require specific conditions to thrive.
The Indian Python
The Indian python is among the largest pet snake breeds. They can grow over 20 feet long and weigh up to 200 pounds! Indian pythons originate in the Indian subcontinent and can be found in various habitats, including forests, grasslands, and swamps.
Excellent swimmers and climbers are often seen basking in trees or on rocks. Indian pythons aren’t venomous but they are powerful constrictors that can crush their prey.
Indian pythons and snakes typically eat small mammals, birds, and reptiles but have been known to kill and eat large animals such as deer and pigs. They are popular pets given their size and docile nature.
Boas are among the best large pet snakes due to their docile personality and a high tolerance for handling.
These large snakes can grow up to 8 feet and weigh over 20 pounds, making them a popular choice for snake owners.
While they are not venomous, boas can pose a threat if they feel threatened or scared. Therefore, only buy captive-bred since wild-caught snakes are very defensive and will not be shy about biting you.
The standard enclosure size is 8 X 4 feet. And because they are huge on climbing, you should provide plenty of very sturdy shelves and branches for them to climb on.
Let’s look at some popular varieties you can legally keep in captivity.
Dumeril’s Boa (Acrantophis dumerili)
Length: 4 – 8 ft.
Weight: 20 lb.
The Dumeril’s boa is a large snake that can grow up to 7 feet. These snakes are native to Madagascar and typically have brown or gray coloration with light markings.
Dumeril’s boas make good pets for experienced snake owners who can provide them with large enclosures and plenty of food.
Red-Tail Boa (Boa constrictor)
Length: 6 – 13 ft.
Weight: Up to 33 ft.
They have a distinct red tip on the end of their tails; the red-tail boa is a large snake that can grow up to 13 feet. These snakes are native to South America, and they get their name from the red markings on their tails.
Males are generally smaller and thinner compared to females. While females get to an impressive 7 – 13 feet, males only attain 6-8 feet.
Red-tail boas feed on large rats or rabbits and can live about 30 years or longer in captivity.
Proactive husbandry is recommended for these breeds, as these animals require large enclosures and specific temperatures and humidity levels.
If you’re looking for an impressive large pet breed with a fascinating history, consider adopting a large snake from the largest family of snakes, the Colubridae family.
Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum)
Length: 3 – 7 ft.
Weight: Up to 3 lb.
A milk snake is an excellent choice if you’re after a large, mild-tempered breed to add plenty of beauty to your space.
The brightly colored and strikingly patterned snakes derive their name from old folklore that claims they suck the milk of nursing mothers and cows until they are dry.
Milk snakes are non-venomous, and in the wild, they may prey upon venomous snakes that humans consider dangerous.
They require intermediate care and can live in a standard-sized cage.
How to Pick a Large Pet Snake Breed
Although the notable mentions above sound fascinating, you cannot just get yourself a large snake for a pet. From space availability to price, do your research to find the right breed for you.
Continue reading to understand several factors to consider when buying a large pet snake.
Due to their enormous size, large pet snake breeds require large living quarters. It means you must have enough space to accommodate them. If you live in an apartment or small home, then a large pet snake is not the right fit for you.
Additionally, large snakes also require large cages or enclosures that are at least 8 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 2 feet tall.
If you cannot provide an enclosure of this size, then you should not get a large snake breed as a pet.
Access to Food
Another vital factor to consider when picking a large pet snake breed is whether or not you will have access to food—often live prey.
You can also provide pre-killed prey and frozen foods. If you opt for the latter, ensure you’re comfortable storing unconventional things in your freezer, from mice to rats and giant insects.
Large snakes are massive feeders, so you must be able to provide them with food items such as rats or rabbits. If you can’t provide enough food, then you should not get a large pet snake.
Your Level of Experience
Another factor to consider when picking a large pet snake breed is your experience level. If you are a first-time snake owner or have limited experience with snakes, you should not get a large pet snake.
Large snakes require more care and attention than small snakes, so you must have the basic snake handling experience before getting one. Although most are non-venomous, some species like boas are a bit aggressive and will try to bite.
When picking a large pet snake breed, you must also consider its lifespan. Some large breeds can live for 20 years or more, so you must plan for the long-term commitment.
If you are not ready for such a commitment, steer clear of large pet snakes and opt for a smaller breed with a shorter lifespan.
You must also consider the legal requirements of owning a large snake breed. It is illegal to own certain large snake breeds as pets in some states and countries.
The first thing you must familiarize yourself with is what the law says about owning and keeping snakes. Restrictions and terms vary among states and sometimes, even across county lines.
Before getting a large pet snake, make sure that you know the local laws and regulations regarding the sale, transport, and keeping of large snakes before you purchase one.
Last but not least, be aware of the price that large snake breeds cost. Since large snakes are rarer and more difficult to breed than smaller ones, their prices are higher.
Do Snakes Bond with Owners?
No, they do not. Snakes aren’t the best of pets if you’re after affection. These creatures grow to tolerate you, but you will never be able to read their emotions.
Fortunately, your slithering pet will learn to recognize your scent, effectively distinguishing you from other people.
Most large snake breeds do not favor petting when it comes to handling.
Some species like Burmese pythons may become accustomed to being constantly handled such that they don’t mind human interaction.
Although snakes do not have the desire to be petted like other domesticated animals, you should provide for their needs. They include ample food and water, a cool spot to thermoregulate, a warm spot to digest, and places to exercise, hide, and feel safe.
Where to Buy Large Pet Snakes
If you are looking for a place to buy large pet snakes, begin by checking pet stores near you. Your best bet is to find one that deals exclusively with reptiles.
A viable alternative is to check the Internet for online reptile retailers or classified ads. Many reputable websites allow you to buy large pet snakes from breeders and dealers worldwide.
But be sure to choose a credible seller before making any purchase.
Once you have picked out a large snake breed that you like, research how to care for them properly so that they can live a long and healthy life with you! Also, provide a conducive environment so the snakes can thrive and live comfortably.