Should You Get A Pet Snake?

Snakes are one of the most popular types of exotic animals that people now commonly keep as pets. They have wide appeal to those who want to keep exotic animals, mainly because they are available in so many different sizes and colours – but also because they do make really good pets.
They are relatively easy to care for once you have made sure that they have the right living environment. They don’t need to be fed every day (in the wild, of course, they would not normally be lucky enough to find prey to eat every day). That said, it is vital that you keep a snake’s environment at the right temperature. Just because they are exotic animals that originate from very hot countries it does not mean that they will survive in a tank that is exposed to very hot or very cold temperature extremes.

Snakes get their heat from the sun, but they also regulate that heat by spending time in the shade.  You must therefore make sure that their tank has a heat source (such as a special lamp or a heated mat) but also a cool area. Depending on which breed of snake you choose, you’ll need to think carefully about how large their tank will need to be: obviously, the larger the snake, the larger the tank will need to be.
Once you know what you’re doing with the tank and the heat, snakes are easy to care for. They only need to be fed about once a week and buying food for your snake is not expensive. They don’t smell and their tanks are easy and cheap to clean.
Unlike some exotic animals and common house pets, you don’t have to worry about their skin causing allergies or about them producing dander. Obviously you will have to be careful when handling them so that they do not feel provoked by fear into biting or squeezing, but handling them should not cause any allergic reactions or irritation.
Before you buy a snake, make sure there is a local vet who is able to provide care and treatment for snakes, and consider taking out specialist pet insurance for exotic pets. Some people find that the pet insurance policies are too restrictive and exclude too many conditions to make them worth having: read the fine-print and decide whether you want to buy the policy or whether you would rather put a little money aside each month to pay for any necessary medical treatment that your snake might need.
A good alternative to buying a pet snake is to adopt one: unfortunately, people often buy snakes and other exotic animals as a novelty, and the ‘novelty’ often wears off very quickly. So a lot of snakes and exotic animals end up in the care of animal charities such as the RSPCA which tries to encourage people to consider adopting pets rather than buying them. Giving a home to an adopted snake can be very rewarding and you know that the snake will have been checked carefully for signs of ill health and aggressive temperament before being approved for adoption – the same cannot be said for snakes bought from a pet shop.
This is a guest post by Claire Sim a new Londoner, travel passionate and animal lover. She blogs about Pets and Travelling in Europe. If you want Claire to write you specific content, you can find email her here or contact her on Twitter (Claire_Sim).