Keeping A Snake As A Pet

“Different species of snake will have different special care requirements so please take this into consideration”Petworld

Snakes are unique and fascinating animals that can make for a great pet under the right conditions. This week we will discuss some of the things you need to take into consideration if you are thinking about bringing one into your home.

1) It is important to remember that most species of snake will live for up to 20 years. Buying a snake as a pet is a long term commitment. Take this into consideration before you purchase one as a pet.

2) The snakes themselves can be reasonably inexpensive, but buying and setting up the correct equipment for them can be expensive.

You will need:-

  • A terrarium (Snake Cage)
    • Clear 80L tank is a good starting point
    • Change as they grow or buy with adult size in mind
    • One snake per habitat
    • Make sure it is secure – snakes love to escape!
  • Heating and Lighting
    • A controlled climate is vital to your snakes health
    • Snakes are cold blooded so they need a heat source to regulate their body temperature
    • You can use heat lamps and UV lights to mimic their natural habitat
    • Only heat one side of the tank to create a microclimate which the snake will appreciate – This is known as a
    • Monitor heat closely with a thermometer.
  • Humidity Monitor
    • You need to maintain a suitable moisture level in the terrarium, so a installing a hydrometer is essential.
    • Low humidity will lead to health problems so keep a close eye on it.
    • You can spray your snakes space with a water mister if necessary.
  • Substrate (Bedding)
    • You will need a layer of substrate that your pet can burrow into
    • A natural odourless variety is best
    • Clean bedding regularly and change it weekly.
  • Snake Hides
    • Snakes will need a snake hide on both the heated and non – heated sides of the terrarium.
    • This allows the snake to hide away in whatever temperature he needs.
    • You will need to get bigger hides as the snakes grow
    • Some types of snake will need lots of branches and vines to climb on and hide in.
  • Food
    • All snakes are carnivores. Luckily for us most of them will accept their food frozen.
    • Most will eat rats or mice, while smaller snakes may live on large insects.
    • Dead mice and rats of various ages can be purchased in frozen packages. Aim to buy food about the same size as the middle of your snake.
    • Some snakes may eat 2 or 3 mice at a sitting – some may only eat one. Refer to the specific requirements for your snakes size and species.
  • Water
    • Clean water is important for snakes, just as it is for other animals. Clean and refill the water bowl at least twice a week.

3) As well as all the physical equipment, you will need to take some time to sit down and learn about snake behavior. You should investigate some of the more common ailments that affect them and learn how to recognise them. Different species of snake will have different special care requirements so please take this into consideration.

4) Snakes may not be suitable for younger children. As well as having a long life span, snakes require regular cleaning and feeding. Their environment needs to be closely monitored, so a certain level of maturity is needed for obvious reasons. As well as this, larger snakes can be quite powerful even for an adult to handle which presents its own problems.

5) There are many different varieties of snake to buy in Ireland. They come in many different shapes and sizes so it is important to think about their fully grown size before you buy. The amount of food, the size of their tank and the suitability of your living space will all be dictated by this so do your research before you buy.

Here at Petworld we are passionate about our pets. Please ask in your local Petworld for any advice that may want regarding purchasing a snake. As outlined above, they are a long term and time consuming investment so take all the points into consideration before you buy!