Best Snake Breeds That Stay Small And Don’t Grow

Recently, when I found out that I was going to be getting a pet snake, I wondered how many snake breeds stay small and don’t grow. I find bigger snakes rather daunting, so I have done some research on snakes that stay on the smaller side and which breeds are the best to consider!

So how many breeds of snake stay small and don’t grow? While there are over three-thousand species of different snakes in the world, there is actually quite a small number of smaller snakes that do not grow; to be exact, there are roughly thirteen snakes that fit the description:

  1. Bimini Blind Snake
  2. Ringneck Snake
  3. Brown Snake
  4. Red-bellied Snake
  5. Mexican Milk Snake
  6. Scarlet King Snake
  7. Gray-banded King Snake
  8. Western Hognose Snake
  9. Rough Green Snake
  10. Kenyan Sand Boa
  11. Rosy and Rubber Boas
  12. Children’s Pythons
  13. Ball Python

These are a lot of different species of small snake, so I decided to dig further and discover more about these snakes and what they have to offer.

Small Snakes by Length

Using the list above I will break down each snake species for you into specific categories, including their predicted length and other needed facts including habitats and handling. In doing this I hope to be able to help you in your hunt for a pet snake that best fits you and your needs and situation. 

The Smallest Snakes (4in. – 12in.)

The smallest snakes on our list consist of the species one through four. These snakes are found in environments such as gardens, forest floors, and some suburban areas, mainly where the soil is rich due to compost or leaf littered areas.

  1. The Bimini Blind Snake is also known as Rhamphotyphlops braminus are often mistake for earthworms! They hardly grow to twelve inches in length and are great to handle. Their mannerisms are much like worms because they like to burrow, so when obtaining a terrarium for the Bimini Blind Snake be aware to obtain something deep enough to be filled with soil for burrowing.  The diet of the Bimini Blind Snake consists of things like ants, termites, and other things they would find while burrowing. 
  2. The Ringneck Snake or Diadophis punctatis ssp. is very close to the Bimini Blind in size. Ringnecks can grow between ten and fifteen inches. They are mainly nocturnal so are active during the night time. Be aware that the Ringneck snake is slightly venomous, but they are not that dangerous to be handled due to their nonaggressive attitudes. 
  3. The Brown Snake which can often be referred to as Storeria dekayi ssp. and on average grows to around twelve inches in length. Their habitat is usually under leaf litter and logs, they are most active during the day and are non-venomous and are okay to handle. 
  4. The Red-bellied snake or storeria occipitomaculata are much like the brown snake in both mannerisms and habitation environments. This snake grows between four and ten inches long. This non-venomous snake is rather secretive and likes hiding under leaves and logs. It should also be noted that these snakes hardly ever bite.

With snakes like these, they are very easy to maintain. When thinking of a habitation for them, because they are on the rather small side they only need around a ten-gallon terrarium.

When thinking of what to include on the inside of the terrarium consider their habitats. Good soil for burrowing which comes from good compost such as leaves and maybe smaller logs should also be included.

When it comes to food, these types of snakes eat smaller things like earth-worms, snails, salamanders, and the like. It should also be noted that fresh water should be made available for your snake at all times.

The Medium Snakes (20in. – 3ft.)

The next snakes we’ll talk about are snakes five through seven from our list. These snakes are found in many areas or mainly North America and can adapt to many different habitats. 

5. The Mexican Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum annulata) grow to around two and three feet in length. This is a nonvenomous snake that can be easily handled.

6. Scarlet King Snakes (Lampropeltis elapsoides) are on the smaller side of this grouping only growing to an estimated twenty inches. These non-venomous snakes are also quite secretive, nocturnal, and excellent climbers. It is advised that you be sure to have a safe and secure environment to keep them contained in.

7. The Gray-Banded King Snake (Lampropeltis alterna) are actually the cousin to the previously mentioned Mexican Milk Snake. These snakes are in relevance to the other two because they usually tend to be under three feet long. These are non-venomous snakes and have a calm disposition which makes them a great part of this list.

While juvenile snakes of this species can be kept in a ten-gallon terrarium, they will need a bigger living space as they grow older to around a twenty-gallon terrarium depending on your snake’s specific size.

As stated before, it is a good idea to have a safe and secure environment for your snake so they don’t find themselves outside of their living space and lost in your home or in the outside world.

Concerning diet, these specific snakes eat many different things depending on their species, and some of the main things in their diet but not limited to are small rodents, lizards, and smaller eggs of birds.

The Miscellaneous Snakes (2ft. – 3ft.)

These snakes will consist of numbers eight and nine from our list. They are related in their unrelatedness together but both make great pets to put into consideration!

8. The Western Hognose snake (Heterodon nasicus) finds itself on this list because of the cute appearance of its hog like nose and of course their size. The Western Hognose can find itself to be the length of between two and three feet. They are non-venomous burrowers that need a larger living space of a twenty-gallon minimum terrarium with a lot of sand to burrow into. 

9. The Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus) are rather on the larger side. Though they are very thin, they can grow over three feet in length, but they usually weigh less than one ounce. What makes this snake unique is that it is not a pet snake to be handled but rather a snake to be displayed and left in peace in their pet habitations.

This can be both a positive and a negative for the interested pet owner. If you are looking for a snake that you can handle and hold, this isn’t the one for you, but if you want a snake as a pet but do not fancy handling it, The Rough Green Snake would be perfect for you. Another pull for this beautiful snake is the fact that its diet is insect based. A twenty-five-gallon terrarium would be just right if not on the lower side for this snake.

These two snakes are rather different from each other aside from size. Both make excellent pets for any kind of person looking to adopt a pet into their lifestyle.

Small Constrictor Snakes

The snakes in this section will consist of the last of the snakes on our list, snakes ten through thirteen. These snakes span from small to large lengths and are all constrictors, but don’t be deterred by that daunting word, these specific constrictors are on this list for a reason and make wonderful pets.

10. The Kenyan Sand Boa (Gongylophis colubrinus) are almost always under the length of three feet. Males, it should be noted, are even smaller barely growing longer than eighteen inches. These snakes can be kept in a ten-gallon terrarium which gives them plenty of room.

As always these terrariums should be kept secure as to make sure that your snake does not escape. The diet of these snakes is quite different than the previously mentioned.  Kenyan Sand Boas can be fed rodents such as mice (usually thawed) once a week or once every ten days for the males.

11. Rosy and Rubber Boas (Charina trivirgata and Charina bottae) are two separate snakes but are both in likeness with each other.  These snakes grow to about two to three feet. Both these snakes are non-venomous and their diet usually consists of mice. These snakes can live up to thirty years in captivity.

12. Children’s Pythons or Antaresia childreni are snakes that can generally reach three feet in length. These snakes are Australian snakes with a spotted appearance. These are non-venomous snakes that like to climb.

These snakes can be held in a minimum terrarium of 20 gallons and should include branches on the inside for your snake to climb. Their diet also consists of mice. Pinkies (baby hairless mice) when they are babies and adult mice as they grow into adulthood. The lifespan of the Children’s Python is twenty to thirty years.

13. The Ball Python (Python regius) is probably the most famous and well-known snake species on this list.  These mild-mannered snakes often grow between two and three feet long for males and three and five feet long for females. Because humidity levels need to be maintained an enclosure of 36x18x12 should suffice the size of your ball python.

The temperature of your snake’s enclosure should be between seventy-eight and ninety-six degrees depending on basking and ambient temperature. Your snake’s diet should consist of an “appropriately sized rodent” once every week. The lifespan on a ball python can be thirty or more years.

Though these snakes can be on the larger side, they make excellent pets and are not too large despite their reputation. These snakes conclude our list of the best snake breeds that stay small and don’t grow. I hope the information provided above has helped you narrow down your decision on a snake that is best suited for you.

Why You May Not Want a Small Snake

There can be some reasons you are leaning towards smaller snakes, whether that be household size, you are a first-time pet owner, or you have children in your home who are being introduced to pets. Perhaps you are going for a smaller pet because you are unsure of your capabilities as a pet owner.

Though small snakes are wonderful creatures, larger snakes are just as great and despite popular belief can be cared for just as easily. Many beginners start with king snakes. These snakes are all non-venomous and are praised for being easy to take care of and amazing pets.

Most snakes can be purchased at your local pet store and terrariums and basic necessities can be found at your local supermarket as well as your local pet store.

As stated before, snakes can live for a rather long time and you don’t want to settle down with a snake and then realize you want something different or more than what you have.

Why Snakes Make Great Pets

You may be considering what type of snake you want after deciding you want a snake or you may be deciding if you want a snake or maybe some other type of reptile or animal. Snakes of all sorts of sizes, big and small, thin and wide, make great pets for so many different reasons. 

First, snakes are great pets because they do not smell. Sometimes desirous pet owners are deterred from purchasing a pet because they are afraid that snakes will stink up their living space. A great characteristic of snakes is that they do not smell!

As long as their living spaces are kept clean and they themselves are taken care of, no unholy smell will take residence in your home. This is a draw to may snake owners who do not wish to have a smelly home.

Second, snakes do not need to be fed very often, usually only once a week depending on the specific species, this is both convenient and economic for a pet owner who does not want to spend a lot of money on animal food.

Thirdly, snakes are very quiet creatures. They are smaller than most dogs and other house pets which means they have a more quiet demeanor. This is wonderful for homes with children or pet owners who believe sleep is an important thing.

Continuing, snakes are both inexpensive and not time-consuming. These pets can be purchased for a cheap price at your local pet store depending on the type of breed you wish to purchase.

Snakes are also not time-consuming. Other than taking the time to feed them and clean their living spaces, no other attention is required other than preferred time handling them. (Always research the breed of snake you wish to get before purchasing to be aware of whether or not your snake is proper for handling).

Finally, snakes are both educational and extremely interesting to watch. Many people and our society are scared of snakes because of the reputation that has been given them by the media. It would be a positive influence, I believe, if snakes are kept as pets around children.

If observed, one will find and discover many interests and facts that one may not have had before owning a snake. By owning a snake, you open a door to many possibilities of discovery and information, which would have an advantage especially in the younger years of a child.

Related Questions

What is the best pet snake to have? Though they may not be the smallest, some of the best pet snakes to have include snakes such as the Royal Python, Corn Snakes, California King Snakes, and Boa Constrictors. 

Are pet snakes dangerous? All pets are from nature which means all pets can be wild. Unfortunately, yes, pet snakes can be dangerous if not handled or cared for properly. It is advised that you do your research on snakes and the specific species of snake you wish to have from various different sources before you make any decisions. Even a pet of many years can still be dangerous under specific circumstances.

How many hours in a day do snakes sleep? Studies have shown that snakes can tend to sleep up to sixteen to twenty hours in one day. This time is spread throughout the day and the time spent sleeping can increase after the snakes feeding time to extend to the earlier mentioned twenty hours. Also, some snakes are nocturnal which will lead to being awake more during the daytime.