Several types of large snakes make excellent pets and can be kept in captivity for extended periods of time. However, certain species make the worst large pet snakes. Aside from poisonous snakes like rattlesnakes, cobras, and boa constrictors, there are a number of large snakes commonly kept as pets that are actually dangerous.
Table of Contents
- What are some of the worst large snakes some people keep as pets?
- Central African Python
- Green Anaconda
- Mud Snake
- Black Racer
- Reticulated Python
- Viper Boas
What are some of the worst large snakes some people keep as pets?
According to snake aficionados, the Central African python, green anaconda, mud snake, black racer, reticulated python, and the viper boa are among the most dreaded snakes to own as pets due to their nature, size, and many other reasons.
A lot of the time, certain big snakes are temperamental and demand food that’s hard to obtain or grow far larger in size than the ordinary enthusiast can handle. All of these problems may be found in bigger snakes that are kept as pets.
We have spent many hours researching snakes and talking to snake experts to help us determine which snakes are suitable for pets and which ones should be avoided.
Central African Python
The Pythonidae family includes the Central African python, a vast constrictor snake. The natural habitat of this species is Sub-Saharan Africa. There are now 11 extant species of python in the genus.
This snake is one of the giant snakes in the world, and it can grow up to 6 meters in length. It is also one of Africa’s giant snakes and one of the world’s largest snakes (twenty feet).
There is a tendency for southern species to be smaller than their northern counterparts. The snake may be found in many environments, including deserts, but is most commonly seen near water sources.
During the dry season, the snake goes into hibernation. The Central African python consumes food up to the size of an antelope and even crocodiles, killing them through constriction.
Egg-laying is the method through which snakes reproduce. The mother snake, unlike most snakes, guards her nest and even her hatchlings from predators.
Even though snakes are non-venomous and seldom harm humans, they are greatly feared. Even though the snake isn’t in danger of extinction, habitat loss and poaching are two risks it faces.
The population of this snake faces a threat in Sub-Saharan Africa since it is considered a delicacy there.
The green anaconda, a snake species from South America, is the world’s most giant snake. Reticulated pythons may grow longer than anacondas, but their massive girth makes them nearly twice as heavy.
Green anacondas are among the giant snakes in the world, which are more than 29 feet long, weigh higher than 550 pounds, and are more than 12 inches wide.
Females are much bigger than men in stature. The yellow anaconda species are all smaller than the green anaconda and all native to South America.
The Amazon and Orinoco basins are the primary habitats for anacondas in marshes, swamps, and slow streams.
Though large and unwieldy when standing on land, they are very silent and agile when submerged.
Their eyes and nostrils are on top of the head, which allows them to stay almost totally submerged when hunting for food.
Wild pigs, birds, deer, capybara, turtles, jaguars, and even caimans are all part of their diet, which helps them grow in size.
They are non-venomous constrictors, squeezing prey until it dies of asphyxiation with their powerful muscles.
After a large meal, they may go for weeks or even months without eating because their jaws are coupled to elastic ligaments that let them swallow their prey completely.
Snake babies are born with a body length of roughly 2 feet and are instantly capable of swimming and hunting. The average lifetime in the wild for this species is ten years.
Large and non-venomous, the mud snake is a very aquatic species that is seldom observed due to its solitary lifestyle. On the back, the adults have a glossy black finish that is quite heavy-bodied.
It has a red checkered pattern on the belly, and the red typically spreads to the sides of the body. It is common for them to have tiny black eyes and a golden tinge to their head.
The anal plate is split, and its scales are shiny and smooth. The anal plates of several mud snakes contain two sets. “Horn snakes” are mud snakes because they have a scale at the end of their tails.
Mud snake males are smaller, but their tails are longer and thicker than their female counterparts. As with adults, the red color on the flanks of young mud snakes might seem banded at times.
Anerythristic mud snakes, which lack red, may be seen in the Southeast regularly. Coastal Plain mud snakes can be found from southern Virginia to Florida’s Gulf Coast.
They can be located in southern Illinois and west of eastern Texas. Mud snakes are primarily found in the Coastal Plain of Georgia, although they can also be found in the Piedmont area of western Georgia.
Mud snakes can be found in many aquatic environments such as seasonal ditches, wetlands, cypress swamps, bays, slow-moving streams, marshes, and the densely vegetated borders of lakes and ponds.
As adults, mud snakes in South Carolina tend to relocate from seasonal wetlands to permanent water sources.
Despite their affinity for water, mud snakes are known to travel long distances overland, and as a result, they can be found in areas with no access to water.
Most of a mud snake’s life is submerged in water, where they blend in with the aquatic flora and trash. In contrast to many of our region’s water snakes, mud snakes are rarely spotted by even the most committed naturalists or herpetologists.
On summer evenings when it rains, mud snakes are more likely to be seen crossing roadways near waterways.
Mud snakes, when trapped, do not bite, although their tail tip may be harmlessly pressed into the captor.
Although they may grow up to 60 inches or 152 cm in length, black racers are thin, solid black snakes, as their name indicates.
This species’ characteristics include large eyes, silky scales, and white beneath their chins. In most cases, the belly is a consistent dark gray or black shade.
Our region is home to various enormous black snakes, including eastern hognose and black rat snakes, which can be mistaken for adult racers, eastern hognose snakes, and dark coachwhips.
Despite this, black racers tend to be skinnier and have a more uniform black coloration than other species. Furthermore, racers lack the raised nose and scales of rat snakes and hognose.
Checking the behavior is typically the most excellent method to distinguish a black racer from another species when watched from a distance.
When threatened, king snakes, hognose snakes, and rat snakes freeze, but racers typically retreat or stand their ground and make an attack.
Most young racers are gray or tan with brown or reddish spots along the middle of their backs, making them look nothing like adults.
As opposed to young water snakes and rat snakes, these snakes’ spots are rounder and less square. Young racers are also slenderer and have bigger eyes than most snake juveniles in our area.
When these snakes are around 12 inches long, the pattern of young racers completely disappears. Black racers throughout the eastern United States are found from southern Maine down to the Florida Keys.
Yellow-bellied racers and other subspecies can be found in the Central and Western United States and in a few isolated locations in the Western states.
Racers are among the most prevalent snakes everywhere throughout South Carolina and Georgia. In the Southeast, you may find Racers in just about any environment.
Edge habitats, such as old fields, wetland edges, and woodland edges, are where they’re most familiar. Additionally, they can be found in agricultural and somewhat disturbed areas, as well.
In warm weather, black racers are most active but can also be found at night. They seek shelter in caves or beneath boards or tin throughout the night and in cold weather.
Racers hunt by sight during the day and are typically spotted actively foraging. At night, they are mostly inactive. Insects, snakes, lizards, birds, amphibians, and rodents are just some of the prey they devour.
Predators such as kingsnakes and giant racers prey on them, including a range of predatory birds, mammals, and snakes. In the event of a catch, the prey is not restrained and is eaten right away.
When threatened, racers usually retreat by climbing into tiny trees or bushes, making them quicker and more agile than most snakes. When confronted, though, they are not afraid to bite.
Even though they are generally nocturnal, they are adept climbers and can be seen napping in plants at night. Racers’ females can lay nearly 36 eggs at a time.
The eggs begin to hatch during early fall or late summer. There are many racers found in Georgia, and they’re not protected in most places.
The entire state of Georgia has enacted legislation to save this particular species.
Southeast Asia is home to the reticulated python, a python species. In terms of length and weight, they are the longest and heaviest reptiles.
Pythons, like all non-venomous constrictors, are generally considered safe for humans. However, there are reported occurrences of reticulated pythons killing and eating humans.
Despite its ability to swim long distances, P. reticulatus has been found far out to sea, where it has established colonies on several tiny isles.
A reference to the pattern’s intricate coloration, the species’ scientific name, reticulatus, means “net-like” in Latin. This species is found only in Asia.
Researchers determined that the length and weight of this species were between 1.5 and 6.5 m, and they weigh around 1 kg to 75 kg.
Only a few reticulated pythons consistently reach lengths more than 6 meters. While both the reticulated python and green anaconda are the same size, the anaconda is substantially heavier.
An anesthetized 6.95-meter specimen from East Kalimantan, Balikpapan, Indonesia, weighed 59 kg after nearly three months without food.
No evidence has been found to support claims that samples were several feet longer than previously reported.
Colossus, a specimen maintained at the Highland Park Zoo in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, with a max recorded length of 8.7 meters, was later found to have been far shorter than initially reported.
The body of Colossus was taken to the Museum of History on April 14, 1963, after it died. There, its skeleton was examined and determined to be 20 feet 10 inches in total length.
In comparison, its fresh hide was 23 meters, which was considerably smaller in stature than what had originally been anticipated in 1956.
The skinning process causes the hide to expand, resulting in a long coat, which was typically by 20%–40% or more. For these reasons, a report published in 2012 stated, “Colossus was neither a long nor a heavy snake ever kept in captivity.”
A disarticulated skeleton was created since the specimen was too big to be preserved in formaldehyde and kept in alcohol.
For some reason, the hide was never returned; the museum only has the skull, a few bones, and ribs. The gender of Colossus has been much debated throughout history.
Since no scientific measurements were performed, or any items were put in a museum, these reports must be considered unconfirmed and perhaps erroneous.
Even though the New York Zoological Society (later named the Wildlife Society of Conservation) has offered a substantial monetary reward; initially $1,000, later increased $5,000, then $15 000 in 1978 for a live, healthy snake over 30 meters in length. No attempt has ever been made to claim this reward.
The snakes have different colors, and they create an intricate geometric design. The back is usually decorated with a sequence of diamond-shaped patterns surrounded by more minor, light-centered marks.
There is a great deal of variety in size, color, and design due to the large geographic spread of this species. These colors might look harsh in exhibitions, but they become almost invisible in the darkness of a forest filled with fallen leaves and other detritus.
Disruptive coloration helps to keep them protected from predators and aids in capturing their prey. There are 69–79 rows of smooth scales located in the mid-body region of the snake’s carcass.
Four of the anterior upper labials have bottomless pits, as do two or three of the anterior lower labials and five or six of the posterior lower labials.
Viper boas are native to New Guinea and may be seen in the wild.
Many people are afraid of these snakes because of their reputation as biters. As a result, they don’t bite at all if they have been socialized in this way.
This notoriety is based on the fact that they were trapped and sold as pets in the wild. Viper boas are excellent house pets. They are night-dwelling, ground-dwelling snakes who enjoy digging.
A bioactive enclosure is better for the animal since it requires less upkeep and is simply more appealing to look at than a standard habitat.
Less food maintenance is required in viper boas since their metabolism is slower. This compensates for the high amount of upkeep necessary to maintain the humidity levels.
New Guinea’s viper boa’s population was decimated due to the wild pet trade. A reputable breeder is the only place to get a Viper boa, and we believe that animal trafficking should not be encouraged.
Like other boas, the Viper boa gives birth to offspring. Breeding big numbers is difficult since their clutches are small and take a long time. Breeding these boas, on the other hand, is a breeze.
The appearance of the Viper boa gave it its name. It resembles the Death Adder, another native of New Guinea. The Viper boa snake is smaller than other boas and has a stubby tail that is scarcely noticeable. The length of the Viper boa is between 2 and 3 feet.
The triangular form of its skull is typical of most of the family. When the snake tries to dig itself into the ground, it has a somewhat scooped shape.
Viper boas come in a wide variety of colors, such as dark brown, orange, and even black are possibilities for their color. This is to help the snake blend in with the forest floor’s leaf litter.
The snake’s body is covered in a saddle-like pattern. Nevertheless, the design doesn’t extend to its stomach. Yellow or tan are the most common colors found on this snake’s belly.
Even as youngsters, males of these snakes have noticeable spurs on their vents.