Many families are hesitant to get a snake as a pet in a household with children due to their reputation for being escape artists and difficult to care for. However, there are many breeds that are beginner-friendly and will make great pets for anyone with attention to detail.
Corn snakes are thought to be the most friendly snakes and they are certainly the most commonly owned. This is because they are very widely available and extremely easy to care for. They are also proven to be the most friendly and docile snake breed. Corn snakes are easy to handle since they are non-venomous and rarely bite.
They tend to be medium-sized at an average of 40-inches in length when they are fully grown. However, they can grow up to 50 to 60-inches long. This makes them non-threatening to new snake owners and even children.
California King Snakes
“Cali Kings” as they are typically referred to by serpent enthusiasts are known to be very friendly and active during
the day. Most Cali King owners say that they “greet” them when they come into the room by slithering to the glass and sticking out their tongue. They do have a reputation for being escape artists, so if the idea of a loose snake in your bedroom brings chills down your spine, you’ll want to invest in some good clamps for your mesh lid.
These snakes get to be 60-inches maximum, which is unlikely for captive snakes. They average around 36-48 inches long. This makes them an ideal size for handling and viewing.
Hognose snakes are arguably the most adorable of all the snake breeds with their tiny little upturned snouts. They are technically venomous, but their venom has no effect on humans and does not hurt more than the bite of a non-venomous snake. They do require a bit more work with their required light schedule and finicky feeding nature. But do not let this scare you, it is pretty simple to figure out.
They’re also appealing to many prospective snake owners due to their small size. They only grow between 24-36 inches, making them the perfect size for a smaller 15-gallon tank. This is great for those with smaller homes and less space for their pet snake. Plus, they are much less intimidating to visitors and new owners.
These larger snakes tend to be docile, relaxed, and not very active. They are not as social as the previously listed snakes, so be aware that your Ball Python probably won’t want to interact with you while they are in their tank. This is not to say that they do not enjoy being handled. With the right owner and trust foundation, many Ball Pythons can be considered affectionate.
Size varies depending on whether you get a male or female, with females being on the larger side. But neither sex gets larger than 58 inches when fully grown. They are short, but they tend to be slightly thicker than the previously listed snakes. This is because of their muscles that are used for the constriction of their prey. This also means that they do not have fangs or venom, making them an ideal pet snake for handling.
Rubber Boas are actually used in therapy treatments to help people overcome their fear of snakes due to their friendly nature. They are curious little guys, so they will often approach humans or even a predator in the wild. Unfortunately, this means they are often senselessly killed by humans who mistake them for a dangerous predator.
They only get to be 12-24 inches long, which makes them very approachable, even for small children of someone with a fear of snakes. Rubber Boas also are not venomous but they do have fangs. They hardly ever use these fangs.
These iridescent snakes are both beautiful and shy, like any mythical looking creature. Once they are used to being handled, they are very social and enjoy human companionship. They are quite shy and love to burrow, so you may find that they are elusive little guys when they are in their tank.
Sunbeam snakes can be considered small snakes since they rarely get over 48 inches long. Their cool rainbow reflect skin makes them interesting to look at and their smaller size is very approachable. They are non-venomous and are known to be non-aggressive.
Kenyan Sand Boa
Kenyan Sand Boas are a popular snake because they are very friendly and actually enjoy being handled. They are commonly used in presentations about snakes with small children because of this. They are another small breed of snake that only grows to be about 24 to 36 inches long.
Their small size and genuine enjoyment of human interactions make them a great option for a first pet snake. Plus, they come in many different colors and patterns so you have lots of options to choose from.
When adopting a pet snake of any variation, make sure that your source is reputable and can provide you with all the context and information you may need about your particular snake. Snakes raised in captivity are the best way to ensure that you will not have any issues with aggression or disease, so avoid adopting any wild-caught snakes, even if their breed is known to be non-aggressive.