Tips for First-Time Snake Owners

Have you been considering getting a pet snake? Snakes make beautiful and fascinating pets, but they are definitely not right for everyone. If you have never owned a snake before, you’ll want to do a bit of research before you choose your new pet. Here, a Simi Valley, CA veterinarian lists some tips for new snake owners.

Choose The Right Breed

Different types of snakes have very different care requirements, especially as they age. California king snakes and corn snakes are good options for beginners, as they are typically gentle and easy to care for. These serpents are very pretty, and are available in a variety of striking colors. They also don’t get very large, which is another reason they are so popular as beginner snakes. Ask your vet for advice.

Do Some Research

It’s important to find out what sort of habitat and care your scaled buddy will need. Exact environmental and feeding requirements vary from snake to snake. Make sure you can stomach feeding your pet: feeding snakes is not for the squeamish! You’ll also want to know how big your snake will get. Some snakes, like certain pythons, get very, very large, and eventually become unsuitable to keep as pets.

Choose A Healthy Snake

If you haven’t spent much time with snakes, it can be tricky to tell a sick snake from a healthy one. Some of the signs of sickness in snakes include boniness; lethargy; mouth breathing; mucus or discharge from the mouth, nose, and/or eyes; and lesions. Healthy snakes should be alert, supple, and active, with clear eyes and smooth, clean scales. (Note: there is an exception to the note about clear eyes. Snakes’ eyes can get milky just before shedding starts.)

Go To A Reputable Breeder

We strongly recommend buying reptiles from reputable breeders or pet stores. You may find a pretty snake at a trade show, but unfortunately, many of the exotic pets sold at trade shows have been taken from the wild. This is not only bad for sensitive ecosystems, it also makes for an unhappy animal that may not enjoy human interaction. Snakes born in captivity are often both healthier and more docile. Do a little research, or ask your vet for recommendations.

Please contact us, your Simi Valley, CA animal clinic, with any questions or concerns about your pet snake. We’re here to help.

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