When picking out your first pet snake, you want to make sure that you’re getting your time and money’s worth. Today I was struck with this same dilemma– where does one go to purchase such an exotic pet?
Where should you buy a pet snake? Your safest option is buying from chain pet stores such as PetSmart and Petco. Other options include online suppliers, reptile specific stores, or snake breeders in your area. Chain pet stores have reasonably competitive market pricing, and you can safely assume that the snakes are cared for by employees with specific training. These stores guarantee a close look at your pet options and allow you to see and understand exactly what you’re buying.
Where to buy your snake is just the beginning; the place you decide to go with will change depending on the size, type, and cost of snake you are hoping to own. It’s important to understand many things about your future companion before you just jump into picking a supplier.
Places to Buy a Snake
- Online Suppliers: Backwater Reptiles, XYZ Reptiles, and Snakes at Sunset are three relatively popular choices for buying a pet snake online.
- Reptile and Snake Expos: This choice is not for someone with a quick snake buying process in mind. These are for the snake enthusiasts, as I like to call them, that are looking for that specific breed of snake that maybe can’t be found at your local pet store.
- Reptile Specific Stores
- Local Breeders
- Local Pet Store
For the casual snake owner, you aren’t looking to travel far or spend too much money on a pet for your child or self. This is when I recommend a local PetSmart or Petco. A PetSmart, for example, will have appropriately sized pet snakes that can live in a tank on a shelf in a bedroom. The snake breeds sold here are well known to the general public such as corn snakes and ball pythons.
However, if you’re looking for a specific or exotic snake, the options at a local chain pet store are limited and a reptiles specific store, breeders, or online option is probably for you. The reptile specific stores would be specific to your area are not guaranteed to be nearby.
Breeders are the same way and a lot of breeders choose to do business online now. Online options are the cheapest by far.
You always want to be careful when deciding to purchase a snake online.
Another option, for the snake enthusiasts among us, would be to visit a snake/reptile expo. The U.S. Association of Reptile Keepers has a list of dates and locations for their expos around the country on their website
The Snake for Your Lifestyle
The biggest question before deciding where to purchase your snake is what kind of snake are you looking for.
Most people shopping for their young child or teenager will gravitate towards snakes that are small and relatively peaceful. The corn snake is a great choice for the casual snake owner because they are small and easy to care for. These types of snakes are usually always available at a local pet store.
If you are someone who likes something a bit bigger and perhaps more exotic and different, you will need to search outside of your local stores. A popular option in this age of technology and
Many companies, such as Snakes at Sunset boast a broad range of snake breeds at competitive prices. If you wanted to simply find a larger ball python that is unavailable at the pet store, you would probably want to start your search online at one of the websites mentioned in the previous section.
It is also important to take note of shipping cost which can offset the low prices advertised and bragged about on their websites.
If you are someone who has an interest in seeing many different kinds of snakes on top of buying them, you may be interested in following a snake/reptile expo. Expo’s travel throughout the country and allows a buyer to browse and experience the variety of breeds while also finding their next pet snake. To make it easier, I have written an article that lists the most popular snake breeds. In this article, I mention many different snake breeds, and give tips on how to have them as pets. You can find it here.
Choosing Your Pet Snake and Where to Find It
There are many factors that go into picking the newest member of your family, your pet snake.
The Things to Consider Before Picking Your Snake:
- Time Commitment of the breed
- Amount of money you are hoping to spend
- Size the snake will grow to
|Avg. Length||Avg. Price||Most Commonly Found|
|Corn Snake||24-72 in.||$20-$30 varies.||Pet Stores|
|Gopher Snake||4-5 ft.||$50-$100 varies||Online Suppliers, Expos|
I’ve included the separate comparison of the size of the snakes to illustrate the point that the cost and amount of snake supplies will increase or decrease with its size. The tank that your snake calls home will need to be large for a snake of significant size. You will also need to buy climbing trees or burrowing logs and grass depending on the size and type of snake.
It’s always an important factor when considering your snake breed to think about the amount of time you are able to contribute to your pet. Snakes are not like dogs and don’t require excessive amounts of petting, walks, and attention. The lack of snake leashes seen in pet stores proves that point for us.
Snakes do adhere to a strict feeding schedule, however, and need to be fed very specific things. There is no off brand kibble for your new friend, but rather snakes typically eat live mice or crickets depending on what species you buy.
Whenever you purchase a snake you should always ask questions if you’re in
Pricing of Your Snake
To reiterate the facts, bargain shopping for snakes will become easier or harder depending on what you’re looking for. If you are hoping for a quick trip to the store to pick up your new friend, it is important to realize how limited your options concerning prices really are.
When you enter the world of buying pet snakes online, you have significant flexibility when it comes to how much you will pay for your snake. Different websites will offer different pricing and it is up to you to compare.
On the other hand, an expo or singular snake breeder will typically ask a higher price because they usually sell specific, and sometimes more rare, species of snake. It is up to you to determine what you want and how much you are willing to spend for your budget. I wrote an article all about the average cost of pet snakes, that includes a list of many different types of snakes, and their prices. You can find it here.
Online vs. In Person
The main difference between buying a snake online versus in the store is that you get to see and touch the snake that you pick up in person. Buying online is tricky because research is important, once again, for a good quality experience.
I have read many reviews from people buying online that discuss the price of shipping, the quality of shipping materials, and the care, or lack thereof, given to their animals.
When picking your online site, make sure to look at reviews, the good and the bad, and see what quality of service is offered. Reputations of sights can go a long way in helping you understand how well they take care of you and your snake during the transaction. Ask people you know where they got their pet snake, and take the time to look at all your options.
Are pet snakes dangerous? Snakes can be dangerous, just like any animal you bring into your home. That being said, danger can be minimized and in some cases extinguished when the pet is cared for as it was intended. Follow guides about feeding, temperature, tank types, and safety whenever you bring a snake or new animal into your home.
What snake is the best pet? Common snakes kept as pets include corn snakes and ball pythons. The best pet is a fluid thing depending on your likes and needs.