Do Snakes Make Good Pets?

Rosy Boa

When you’re looking into getting a pet you want to consider all the options. Have you considered snakes? Do you wonder if they make good pets?

Do snakes make good pets? Snakes are great pets to have. Snakes avoid those categories that most view as reasons to not get a pet. They do very little to disturb you, require low maintenance, are inexpensive, live a long time, and come in many varieties. 

With a snake as a pet, there are a lot of things you might have to consider that you wouldn’t have had to think about with a dog or cat. Nevertheless, with these things in mind, there is no reason to not get one of these guys. 

Caring for a Pet Snake

I can’t count how many stories I’ve heard from dog owners about how their dog woke them up in the middle of the night because it was full of energy. Or they had to let their dog out ten times the other day. These stories of needing to take care of your pet are a bit of a cliche in the pet owning community, and talking to a lot of pet owners you’ll find that they’ll claim all the trouble is worth it.

But what if I didn’t have to worry about all the hassle? What if your pet was low maintenance? Enter the pet snake.

Snakes are fundamentally different from the common household pets of cats and dogs as they are content with being secluded. Snakes are almost like fish in this manner: you feed them and clean out their tank every once in a while but otherwise, you’re free to ignore them.

Trust me, you’ll never hear a story about someone’s snake waking them up because it had too much energy. All of this maintenance from usual pets falls into the following categories: Personal freedom, attention, and feeding.

Personal Freedom

Owning a pet is supposed to be liberating. They are an outlet of sorts that are supposed to help you through emotional trauma. They are not supposed to be a burden on your schedule or so time-consuming that you feel like you are the one on the leash to them.

Snakes don’t have this problem. If you want to take them out of their tank, then great, they will slither all over you. If you don’t, great, the snake will enjoy their home some more and not be offended by it either.

Attention

Pets comfort you, but some pets demand some reciprocation for their comforting nature, demanding some comfort themselves. This can get really annoying especially when you and your pet’s schedules do not align.

Even further, needing to get your schedules in line, or other forms of discipline to get your pet to listen to you, can be aggravating and expensive. Snakes, once again, it’s not a problem, they won’t be leaving their cage. So keep them in there and there is no room for them to attempt to run circles around you. In fact, here you can find an article I wrote that answers the question of whether or not pet snakes even like to be petted.

Feeding

Whether it’s fish flakes, or cat food, or dog food, feeding your pet is another item to add to your checklist. If you don’t feed them you feel terrible too.

Snakes, not a problem, you feed them once…a week. That’s it. So need to go out of town? Easy, feed them before you go. No need to hire the boy next door to check in on your pets, just feed your friend ahead of time and they’ll be all good. They will be happy to see you too by the time you get back as they’re ready for more food.

Cost of a Pet Snake

Next, you have to worry about expenses. Let’s face it you need to worry about yourself first and your pets after that. So if you’re struggling financially it’s not time to get a pet. Pet expenses fall into several categories as well: Food, Vet visits, Refuse management, and Habitat expenses.

Food

Let’s face it food get’s expensive. That lesson is shoved into everyone’s minds the moment they’ve finished that second cup of ramen in college. So to not only provide for the human mouth in your household but an animal’s too is costly.

Depending on your pet and how extensive their diet is you could be paying upwards of $700 a year. For snakes, because they eat so infrequently, its maybe $100 a year. With that much of a difference, the benefits are obvious.

Vet Visits

Besides the time and unwillingness pets have at seeing the vet, then you have to pay and that’s not always cheap. But once again, with a snake, it’s not that big a deal.

Reptile vets are considerably cheaper to your normal household pet veterinarian. Your trips are faster and your snake is generally more agreeable. At least they are easy enough to handle that should they not be agreeable the test still gets done without much of a hassle.

Refuse Management

What goes in must come out and all that money you spent on food can turn into another place to send cash. Cats and the litter and litter boxes are the big culprits here, but any untrained dog can cause damage requiring costly repair.

Snakes? No problem, grab the snake some bedding or use old newspapers if you want. Then clean out anywhere your snake has left some refuse and that’s it. Easy and inexpensive.

Habitat Expenses

You want to make your house to look nice so you often do the same to your pet’s place. But that all more expenses.

Snakes have expenses in this category too, but they have no real need for toys or fancy castles to fill their tanks. Just get a heat lamp, a water dish, maybe some tree branches for them to slither around and you’ve got yourself a well-constructed snake habitat.

I recently wrote an article where I go over and outline the average cost of owning a pet snake. I include 17 examples of specific snakes and what you can expect their cost to be. Find it here.

Can I Be Allergic to My Pet Snake?

It is surprising to learn just how many people are allergic to their pets. These owners either live their lives with constantly stuffed noses or else they invest even more money into allergy medication. Either way, it’s like living in a prison created by your pet. Why would you do that to yourself?

Well to have a pet, of course, you might say, but really you can have a pet without the fear of hair or dander making you sneeze all the time.

Snakes have no hair or epidermal dander, so they are great options for those with allergies. Furthermore, unlike free roaming animal snakes are confined to their tank so even if they had hair to disperse that would only be a problem in the tank itself.

Allergies are important for more than yourself too. If you’ve ever visited a friends house where they have several active animals in their home you know just how much hair gets everywhere. Then when you are trying to prepare your house for allergic guests you have to thoroughly clean everything. More time spent cleaning up after your pets. You don’t need to do that to yourself. Snakes are a great solution. Keep your pet confined and remove the hair and dander.

Now snakes are not devoid of all allergies. It is possible for the scales of the snake to hold on to something that will cause you to have allergic reactions. These reactions are often rashes in the places where the snake has slithered and therefore made direct contact with you.

These allergies are rare but should they affect you it is important to understand that they are easily preventable.

Be sure to keep your snake and the habitat it lives in clean. Rinse their tank frequently and make sure that you find and throw away and feces as soon as it is spotted. It is not the snake’s scales that you are allergic to but rather a protein that the snake is picking up somewhere that is making you react. So find whatever is providing that protein prevent it from getting on your snake’s scales and you should be all set.

Noises and Smells Associated with Pet Snakes

We care about our five senses and anything that disturbs that can be tiresome, annoying, and incredibly distracting. We all want to minimize the distractions around us especially when we are trying to to focus or get a good night’s sleep. 

Before we get into the negative senses, let’s talk about positive ones. When you think of getting a pet, the first senses that probably come to mind are sight and touch. Because, well, we want to have our pets look good and we want to pet our pets.

There are plenty of pet shows to demonstrate just how selective people can be about the appearance of their pets. Snakes very much fit into this category. With seemingly unlimited numbers of morphs, you can have your snake have just about any pattern you want so long as you put the effort into it.

Snakes are beautiful creatures; use that to your advantage and find something that will make your guest’s jaws drop when you pull it out. Sometimes the mix of color and scales on a snake can be mesmerizing.

In regard to touch, snakes are not the most comfortable. There is a certain appeal to feeling the grooves of a snake’s scales but they aren’t fluffy or fuzzy so if you’re looking for that comfort than a snake isn’t for you.

I once heard someone say, “You can tell if you’re in a pet owner’s house just by the smell of it.” I have found that phrase to be very apt. Human’s themselves have quite the capability to stink, but mix in a pet and their stench and you get a whole new set of stench to add to your roster.

Snake’s don’t have that problem. Snakes are odorless. There is no snake smell. The only means to smell a snake is next to one, you not smelling the snake but rather something on the snake or in its cage. Or two, the snake is threatened and happens to be one of the few snakes that release an odor to scare of predators. To take care of one, clean your snake and its cage. It’s as simple as that.

Snake feces smells just like every other animal’s, so toss that out before it has the chance to smell bad. To avoid the stench, either be careful to not scare your snake or buy a snake that doesn’t have the capabilities to stench when scared. There are plenty of better options out there that’s avoid the stench completely. If you’re still concerned, here you can find an article I recently wrote about whether or not pet snakes will make your home stink,

Noise is such a problem. So few people realize how much noise affects them, and perhaps more importantly, how much noise affects their sleep. So no matter what the source, a computer, a fan, a pet, it can be threatening to your sleep hygiene.

Snakes, not a problem, they are virtually noiseless. Snakes are ambush and stealth based predators. They don’t want to make noise so they have means to both muffle or completely eradicate any sound that they might make. That way they can sneak up on their prey. These natural dampeners make snakes the near noiseless pets they are. Since they’ve never wanted to be noisy in the first place, they don’t make much noise.

Overall snakes are a great option in this field of senses. While they may be lacking in some of the comfort provided in touch, the lack of disturbance, distraction, and annoyance that they cause is well worth the difference. If you want no disruptions then a snake is a great option for you.

Life Span of a Pet Snake

The death of a pet is tormenting. You build such a connection to the creature and then it dies. There is no way to have an animal that doesn’t die but the lifespan of an animal is extremely variable.

We all know the concept that one human year is seven dog years. Well, that is based off of the concept that dogs will die around ten years of age or so. Cat don’t do much better with an average of 12 to 16.

Snakes beat them both. They easily reach 20 years of life. They are fairly consistent with their lives too since there are fewer diseases that will be affecting them and they are generally safer within their tanks, so it is rare for a snake to die unexpectedly.  As such, if dogs live about 7 years for every human year than a snake lives 4 years or so every human year. In fact, I wrote an article all about the lifespan of pet snakes for the most popular breeds, including how to keep them healthy for a long period of time. Find it here.

Keeping Yourself and Your Pet Snake Safe

First of all, it is important to note that pet snakes can be dangerous. There are several cases of pet snakes escaping and killing other pets and young children.

It is important to note, however, that this is very dependent on the snake you have as a pet. To avoid the dangers of snakes, don’t buy dangerous snakes. It’s that simple.

Additionally, if you keep their tanks locked and the snakes well looked after and well fed than you shouldn’t have a problem with your snake. There is a lot of fear in this category, but as always, it all comes down to the care you are putting into taking care of your animal, both in the early selection of the pet and the uptake of the snake’s needs.

While snakes are low maintenance creatures, they are not no-maintenance creatures. So be wary that snakes can be dangerous creatures, but they shouldn’t be an issue so long as you are careful and willing to watch over and care for your pet.

Snakes like all pets have cost and benefits that you’ll need to weigh when determining whether or not you are capable of interested in keeping up with those snake’s needs.

Snakes don’t take a lot to take care of but they also don’t give a lot in return. So if you want higher rewards with higher efforts than a snake probably isn’t the best choice, but for someone who doesn’t want to put too much effort into a pet but wants a companion then a snake may be the option for you.

Conclusion

If you are looking into a pet, you might want to first consider the following:

  • Maintenance
  • Cost
  • Allergies
  • Safety
  • Noise/Smell
  • Short lifespan

Snakes don’t cause almost any of these issues. They’re just about the perfect pet for someone who wants very little disturbance from a pet while still having a companion around them. 

No matter what you choose, understand that having any pet is more work than having no pet, that selecting and researching your snake first is incredibly important, and that the right pet for you is the pet that you will work best for the circumstances that you’ll live in.

Related Questions

Do snakes feel affection? Feel and show are two very different things. Snakes do feel affection. That has been shown many times in experiments with them, but they are very cold and unresponsive creatures generally. This is part of what makes them a good pet: how well they can handle poor situations by showing very little emotion. Unfortunately, on the other, positive end of things, you face a similar issue of an unresponsive snake to happier emotions.

Which snake makes the best pet? As always this depends on the circumstances that you live in as well as the what snake you would like but generally, there are three that top most charts. The California king snake, rosy boa, and the ball python. Make sure to research each of them to find the right snake for you. 

How long do snakes sleep? Snakes are mainly nocturnal creatures, as such, they are active during the night and asleep during the day. Snakes often sleep then 16 to 20 hours a day depending on their feeding and shedding schedules.

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