Buyer’s Guide: Terrariums for Snakes

My younger sister decided she wants to own a pet snake, and my parents gave in to her plea, but now they need to figure out how to choose the best enclosure for this snake. I found how to choose the best terrarium for your snake.

So, what is the best terrarium for a snake? There are several answers to this question but the one with the most positive reviews is the Exo Terra PT2614A1, this enclosure was the highest rating according to several articles and fellow pet snake owners. Link featured here

Below is a guide to everything you need to know about purchasing the best enclosure for your snake and information on other aspects that need to be incorporated into the enclosure. That way your snake has the highest quality of life.

Snake Terrarium Buying Guide 

Disclosure: Just because this specific enclosure was voted number one for many pet snake owners does not mean that this is the only option for your snake. There are different sizes that can fit best to your snake’s needs or certain materials that can change the experience your snake has within its enclosure.

You need to consider the needs of your breed of snake, as they are all so different from one species to another. They require different enclosures of sizes and heating as well as feeding.

You need to make sure that your terrarium is not necessarily cheap but it also does not need to be the best of the best. You have to make sure before you continue with any other reservations you have for your snake, that it is healthy.

You also need to make sure you have enough money or at least make sure to know how much money you will be spending on all the needs of your snake.

There is a lot to consider like:

  • food
  • substrate
  • heating lamps
  • lighting
  • terrarium

After taking into account your snake’s health and the cost of keeping one, you will need to make sure the terrarium you choose will be of good quality. Not something that can be easily broken or not ventilated properly.

There is no true difference between having a glass or plastic enclosure. Glass is usually used for its clear view into the terrariums. It can also keep the temperature of the enclosure leveled.

The Best Terrariums Around

There are so many options when it comes to choosing the best terrarium for your snake. You will want to think about choosing their enclosure with consideration and care because if it is too small for them it may be uncomfortable for them.

Here is a compiled list of terrariums ranked by their quality and ratings. There is also an inclusion of sizes available so that you can choose an enclosure perfect to your snake’s size.

RankTerrariumSizes AvailableWarranty (In years)
1Exo Terra 122
2Zoo Med21
3Exo Terra Tall122
4ReptiBreeze41
5Faunarium42
6KollerCraft 11
7Invertebrate122
8IRIS11
9Dalle Craft 15
10BioBubble11

Top 3 Rated Terrariums

Exo Terra PT2614A1

This product has a high rating for being one of the highest quality enclosures for your pet snake.

There are different models of this specific brand available because of the large sizes snakes can grow to. This terrarium is all glass and has a bottom frame that is raised so you can place a substrate heater to provide warmth for your snake. It also made to be waterproof for your snake’s safety and proven to last a long time.

There are two doors built into the enclosure for a easy access to your snake. Those same doors (and escape roof) lock so your snake has no chance of escaping from its cage.

The front window of this enclosure has holes in it so your snake has air to breathe. This enclosure is also easy to clean from time to time due to its removable full-screen lid. The enclosure also has a natural looking background to make your snake feel more at home.

Zoo Med 

This terrarium also has a high rating, but it as not as high as the Exo Terra. This enclosure has an open screen that air can pass through. It is a perfect enclosure for smaller creatures such as green iguanas, geckos, anoles, and old world chameleons.

The large door can give the owner an easy look into the cage to make sure the animal is doing well. All you need to assemble this enclosure is a screw driver, it also provides plenty of ventilation for your animal. This enclosure is also easy to clean from time to time.

Exo Terra Tall

This enclosure comes from the same brand as the top rating terrarium but its size differs. This is a natural glass enclosure gives you an easy and clean look into your animal’s enclosure.

You will not have to worry about your animal easily escaping due to the doors that lock and keeps them safe within their enclosure. This enclosure also provides benefits from the UVB and lights you can easily place overtop of its terrarium.

There is a full-screen lid but it can also be removed with ease. There is also a lower front panel within the enclosure which can be used to create thick layers of a substrate. Another quality you can have with this terrarium is the ability to build a water feature (this terrarium has been tested to so no sign of leaks).

Comparison Chart of the Top 10 Reptile Terrariums

TerrariumsExo TerraZoo MedExo Terra TallReptibreezeFaunariumKollerCraftInvertebrateIRISBioBubble
MaterialGlass, Stainless SteelAluminum, GlassGlass, Stainless SteelAluminum, GlassPlasticsMetal, AcrylicGlass, Stainless SteelPlasticPlastic 
Price $129.97$94.99$43.01$72.98$19.64$17.77$47.99Not Available$100.00
Doors212111212
Suitable forReptiles, Amphibians, Birds, Aquatic petsReptiles, Amphibians, Birds, Aquatic petsCrickets, Hermit crabs, Frogs, Lizards, andSnakesChameleons, Juvenille Green Iguanas, Geckos, AnolesReptiles, Amphibians, Mice, InsectsCrickets, Hermit Crabs, Frogs, Lizards, and SnakesArachnids, Scorpians, Milipedes, Centipedes, Praying mantises, and Stick insects Reptiles, Amphiians, Birds, and Aquatic pets Larvae spiders, Ants, and Scorpians

(Links included in the title of each terrarium) 

*Warranty and sizes available are listed in the table above.

With choosing a reasonable terrarium you will need to think of purchasing other things to complete the environment for your pet snake. Decorations are something you will want to consider to make the enclosure look as natural as it can to your snake.

Other things to consider would be the lamps you will need, though some snakes may not require any. There are also heating lamps that can adjust to the temperature for your snake.

Not all of the supplies can be listed but a link provided with an entire checklist for beginner snake owners can be found here.

Choosing Your Snake

There are about five beginner pet snakes that are perfect for someone who may want to know the species more but not delve into all of its species right away.

Warming up to the most docile snakes of their species can help you give a bit more confidence to eventually lead to owning a most exotic snake.

Here are the top five snakes for beginners:

Corn Snake

This snake was originally the most popular out of all the other choices because it was the only one available. They are calm, and docile creatures occasionally. They are known to be easy to care for and handle. They also come in various color combinations, which makes them so popular. Other reasons as to why most people love them falls on how they do not grow to be as large as other species. They are also easy to breed. 

The average corn snake hatchling costs around $25-40, depending on their color and where you go to buy them. They will need at least 20-gallon enclosure. 

California King Snake

These snakes have the word “King” in their name because of their ability to kill and eat rattlesnakes and many other animals. They are typically popular in Southern California. These snakes can develop a habit to bite if they are not held enough. These snakes also do not grow to a very large size, at most they get to about 3 to 4 feet in length.

You can purchase a baby kingsnake for about $50, and that price stays consistent with either a black or white corn snake or an albino kingsnake baby. They will need a 30-55 gallon enclosure.

Rosy Boa Constrictor

This snake is not as popular as the kingsnake or the corn snake, but it is still a familiar snake to see for those who own snakes. They are similar to the Kingsnake and Corn snake because of their calm nature and their small size. They grow to 2 to 3 feet at most.

You can buy their hatchlings for about $30-40 in reptile shows, stores, or on the internet. The price does not change. Which is not a big cost compared to how long they end up living (They are capable of living 25+ years in quality care). They will need a 20-gallon enclosure. 

Gopher Snake

This species, while not common, is a well-kept secret. They come in many morphs, and the prices between morphs are not outrageous as other species can be. They grow to 3 to 6 feet and are heavy bodied. Their lifespan is also at most 15+ years.

They can cost about $50 at least, and the price rises from there. You will find them at a much cheaper price at reptile shows. They will need a 20-30 gallon enclosure. 

Ball Python 

Lastly, the ball python. This is snake currently holds the title of being the most popular pet snake. They are primarily so popular because of their many different morphs.

They tend to be very shy creatures but by handling them correctly, and caring for them in the best way possible they are not too difficult to keep up with.

The ball pythons growth differs between sexes. The females grow to about 3 to 5 feet while the male grows to about 2 to 3 feet. Their lifespan is also quite long when cared for in captivity. They get to about 30 years in captivity.

Normal ball pythons will cost you about $30 in reptile shows, pet stores can sell them at that price as well. But of course, if you are interested in the morphs their prices will rise. They will need a 30-gallon enclosure. 

Snakes to Avoid

While the aforementioned snakes are friendly, calm creatures there are other snake species which people attempt to tame or have as a pet that should be avoided.

If you have never owned a pet snake you will want to avoid purchasing larger snakes, that have more difficult requirements that need care for, such as:

  • Boa constrictors 
  • Burmese pythons 
  • Tree boas or pythons
  • Water snakes
  • Green Snakes 

The snakes above are not recommended simply because they are harder to care for, sometimes due to an exotic nature or high upkeep.

The ones listed below are not recommended as pets because they can be dangerous to their owners. They are meant to be raised by experienced snake owners where children are not present:

  • Reticulated python 
  • Anacondas
  • Any venomous snake 

Things to Consider When Choosing a Pet Snake 

  • Keep in mind this is not just a hobby or something you can take care of occasionally. This is a living, breathing species that needs to be taken care of seriously. Having a pet snake is a long-term commitment because the snake may be likely to live up to or even over 20 years. 
  • You have to be willing to feed your pet snake frozen, pre-killed prey because it is the safest choice on feeding them. 
  • Your pet snake is also very likely to try and escape from its enclosure from time to time, so you will need to accommodate your enclosure to make sure it cannot escape 
  • Larger, constricting snakes and venomous snakes are not recommended to be kept as pets for the obvious danger they pose to humans.
  • Do not try to catch and keep wild snakes, they are usually more stressed and are likely to carry diseases or parasites from the wild. They are also hard to tame. So the best choice is to go to a reliable breeder to purchase a snake. 
  • You will want to make sure the snake you are purchasing is healthy and has no sign of illness which includes: bubbles coming out of the nose, closed eyes, mouth rot, or retained skin from a shed.
  • You will also want to ask for a feeding demonstration to be sure that the snake you are purchasing can eat well and will eat pre-killed prey.  (Ball pythons are usually known for having problems on being fed, so if you consider on purchasing one, make sure to do this). 

General Information For First Time Snake Owners

While this article is not all about snakes and their habits, here is some general information to know before you consider buying a pet snake. These things will need to be taken into account, it is best to have some prior or light knowledge on snakes. 

Feeding a snake pre-killed prey is best because if it is alive that prey can become frightened and will take matters into its own hands to fight back. This can give your snake a few injured which can turn into serious infections. It is best to purchase frozen, pre-killed prey that can be stored frozen and thawed as needed. Purchasing pre-killed prey in bulk will also be the most economical choice.

Some ways to determine whether you snake is about to shed or not is by look for some common signs that can be alarming to new owners.

Some of these signs are:

  1. Your snake’s eyes turning into a cloudy blue color.
  2. The old skin of your snake is becoming dull or gray in color.
  3. Your snake will hide more than you are used to. 
  4. They may not want to eat.  
  5. Your snake will be more defensive because of its shedding process and how stressful it is for the snake. 
  6. Once your snake becomes ready to shed its skin, it will find someplace rocky or rough to help itself rub the skin off. (keep a bowl of water in its cage for it to soak in).  

Related Questions 

How can I tell if my snake is a male or female? Flip the tail of your snake over and look at the cloaca, or the opening at the base of their tail. 

Can you keep a snake in a fish tank?  Yes, you can, but make sure that you adjust it to be the proper habitat for your snake. You cannot fill it up with water and put a snake inside.

Do corn snakes need a heat lamp? No, they do not need one. But it will also not hurt them to have one. Remember, most snakes including the corn snake need a humidity level between 40% and 50%.

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