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Looking to get my first snake in the near future...need some opinions please!

Discussion in 'Not So Spineless Wonders' started by 1Lord Of Ants1, Aug 31, 2011.

  1. 1Lord Of Ants1

    1Lord Of Ants1 Arachnoknight

    Never have I kept a snake, but I think by this Christmas my luck will change. I lost a beloved pet recently, (My duck, coolest and friendliest pet I've ever had, second to my dog) and my usually reluctent parents have had a change of heart, and since I want a new pet, they've started to get over their unreasonable fear of snakes. I'm not saying it's going to happen, but I don't think some prep work and reseaching will hurt. What I'm looking for is something under 6 feet, relatively tame, I don't mind a bite or two, but it would probably freak my parents out more than me if something bad should happen. It should be reasonably easy to feed, whether it be frozen or live. (Frozen prefered, the less picky the better...) I don't want an overly large enclosure, though I'm probably going to stick with large rubbermaid tubs, modified for pets, since it's much cheaper. (If anyone knows if this type of enclosure would suffice, please tell!) Most of all, the snake should be 100$ or less. I have a nice herp store nearby (Pet bazaar, anyone in the Orlando area that keeps herps would probably know about it) that carries a decent supply of snakes. I haven't been there lately, but from what I recall they have corn snakes, milk snakes, several varieties of king snakes, ball pythons, carpet pythons, hognose snakes, rat snakes, many boas, royal pythons, and many others I'm missing. Care of best said begginer snake would be helpful if provided. thanks. :)
  2. Obelisk

    Obelisk Arachnobaron

    Corns (my personal favorite so far), most ratsnakes, and hognoses definitely fit your criteria. You can also look into rosy boas and sand boas. Ball pythons are said to be problematic feeders sometimes. Kingsnakes are great, but they're aggressive as babies. Carpet pythons are tend to be more expensive, usually $150 and up.
  3. Shell

    Shell ArachnoVixen AKA Dream Crusher AKA Heartbreaker

    Ball pythons tend to be much easier to feed if they are captive bred, and started on F/T feeders right away. Great snakes, they have always been my personal favorite. I always kept mine in modified rubbermaids, and it was much easier to keep their humidity where it should be than it was keeping them in glass enclosures. I never had a biting issue with mine, my most recent female was handled regularly by my 6 year old son (with me supervising always, of course) and she was always really docile and easy to handle.

    If you decide to go with one, just make sure you are getting a CB specimen, WC specimens can be extremely difficult to feed in captivity. That said, BP's are known for being picky eaters, so make sure to ask lots of questions about the particular snakes eating habits etc. I don't have much experience with snakes outside of the constrictors, have only ever kept boas and pythons, so I can't give you an opinion on any others, but that's my 2 cents on BP's.

    Also, from my own experience, BP's can be tricky to switch to rats when they've been started on mice. So if you did decide to go with one, best to find a CB one that was started on F/T pinky rats right away, so there won't be the need to transition from mice to rats later on down the road.

    They meet all your criteria otherwise. I've only ever had one that was really hard to feed, and she was a rescue that was always fed live, and she became hard to feed because I refuse to feed my snakes live. I also highly suspect that she was a WC import.
  4. benoliver

    benoliver Arachnosquire

    i wouldn't suggest a ball some can be real hard to feed. you may want to think about a king snake, rat snake, garter, milk snake, rosy boa. i know you can go around your home and find rat snakes king snakes milk snakes and coral snakes if you live in florida. when i went to Ocala i caught a 8' king snake in my mom and dads front yard. one of their neighbors brought out a gun and was going to shoot it. i flipped out they had no idea what it was than i explained that these snakes eat other snakes like rattlers and coral snakes.
  5. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    In my experience, captive bred ball pythons are not difficult feeders at all. There may be a few picky eaters out there, especially amongst wild caught specimens, but I believe these are in the minority. I might also point out that if your ball python isn't eating, perhaps its husbandry requirements are not being met properly (this comment is not directed at any of the posters in this thread). At the end of the day, ball pythons are one of the most popular snakes in the pet industry, and an appropriate choice for beginners.

    I would steer clear of carpet pythons or boa constrictors for your first snake. As for the other species you listed, you can't really go wrong with any of them. They are all amazing species. Do a bit of research and decide what you are looking for in terms of looks and care requirements and then go for it.
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  6. TVR22

    TVR22 Arachnopeon

    My vote is for a kingsnake. Easy feeding and easy care. I have a thayeri ( milksnake phase ), Durango mtn and an albino. Can't go wrong with these beauties. Stay away from milksnakes, very picky eaters.

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  7. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I own captive bred Lampropeltis triangulum andesiana which I've had for 11 years. It has never refused a meal. In fact, it displays a very strong feeding response.

    I have to ask, on what are you basing the assertion that milksnakes are very picky eaters? There are many hobbyists, including myself, that would disagree with such a broad, blanket statement. If you give a snake what it needs to thrive in captivity it will eat. Milksnakes are no exception. Like many other species, they would be a great choice for a beginner.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
  8. Shell

    Shell ArachnoVixen AKA Dream Crusher AKA Heartbreaker

    ^ This is an excellent point that I forgot to mention in my post. Aside from that one BP I mentioned (and I knew her reason for being a fussy eater) typically the other BP's I have come across that had feeding issues, had husbandry requirements not being met. Once they were fixed, no problems in feeding. Ball pythons really aren't as hard to feed as people make them out to be. At least not captive bred specimens, and I strongly feel that snakes should be bought from someone who is responsibly breeding them, and not from a pet store as you don't know what you're getting, how it's been cared for and if it's WC or not.
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  9. ive had more troubles getting a western hognose to eat than any ball python.
  10. Tjmphx

    Tjmphx Arachnopeon

    Through my years with serpents I'd recommend king. I'd stay away from argentine and green tree boas. Kenyan boas are awesome, quick to try to bite but calm down fast. Good luck to you.
  11. catfishrod69

    catfishrod69 Arachnoemperor

    i suggest a ball python also...mine has no problems eating, she eats like a hog...she does have a problem missing the rat as shes striking though...but i just keep hold of it and let her try again..as for as the kingsnakes and corn snakes, i dont really care for them at all..just my opinion though
  12. Mojo Jojo

    Mojo Jojo Arachnoking Old Timer

    Garter snakes are pretty cool if you aren't set in getting a constrictor. There are some really interesting morphs out there, most of which you can get in your price range. You might google Scott Felzer to see all the possibilities.
  13. catfishrod69

    catfishrod69 Arachnoemperor

    yes garters are also a cool snake..i have a male/female pair of albino checher garters..garters are cheap and cheap to feed and dont require alot of room like the pythons and boas..
  14. pavel

    pavel Arachnobaron

    The general consensus thus far is what I would have expected: corns, rats, and balls. There's a reason they're among the most popular snake pets -- generally very good dispositions and therefore quite handlable, as well as affordable. Personal preferences come into play at that point.

    For myself, I much prefer the corn & rat snakes. Expense-wise, they are cheaper than balls (at least any that I have seen). They come in a wide range of color and pattern morphs -- far more so than I have seen of balls. Hardy animals that do not require anything exotic/difficult as far as husbandry goes and usually very good dispositions. (Of course, like Ts or any animal, temperments can vary by individual.) With regards to size, typically they max out around 4 ft.

    Osirus -- a "bubblegum" ratsnake
    Osiris bookshelf 1 sm.jpg

    Whatever you settle on, I'd say just make sure you get a CB specimen. I'd also suggest start web searching now for local herp shows in your area. I'd be stunned if there aren't at least a few. Searching for local herp societies may help with the show search. IME, you will find a greater variety at better prices at a show rather than a store.

    As far as a tank goes, search Craig's List -- I've gotten some VERY good deals on Exoterra and other tanks there. You might even check out garage sales. If you become a member of a local herp society, you might find some good deals that way as well.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
  15. Another vote for the ball python! The others mentioned would all be fine choices as well, but I personally prefer the thicker snakes to corns, kings, milksnakes, etc. My BP is pretty mellow, and though he did bite me once (I suspect, because i foolishly place my hand near him when he was hungry and in "hunting mode") it didn't hurt much. They fit your size requirements, and normal color morph babies are definitely affordable (in the $50 ballpark).
  16. Raan_Jodus

    Raan_Jodus Arachnodemon Old Timer

    I was in your shoes a year ago. I ended up with a baby honduran milk snake. Very beautiful, but very flighty and shy. He has NO problem eating whatsoever though. And if I can get ahold of him when hes not shedding (hes doing it yet again right now) I'll try and get him more used to me. I still think hes under the impression everything wants to eat him. Otherwise hes been a beautiful and good snake. Only had 3 bites so far, and musked once. Once he gets calmed down more I expect he'll be great for many years.

    Tonight I will start looking after my friends cali kingsnake, I've heard shes really nice and I look forward to having her here. After a while I might be able to chime in on how they are too, but from what I read they are a bit less shy and more curious than milksnakes. Getting this second snake is really making me want a third though, I was looking around and reading up about Mexican Milksnakes, apparently they are very good first timers.

    Anyway, good luck :)
  17. BQC123

    BQC123 Arachnobaron

    Your best bet is to start looking and choose a few that YOU really like. Knowing what catches your eye will really help narrow things down. Any of the snakes mentioned above are fine choices, but let us know some of your top choices, and what you expect from a snake. Handling, display, size, and body type.
  18. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I agree with this 100%
  19. LeilaNami

    LeilaNami Arachnoking Old Timer

    I agree with BQC123 and Shrike. All of the snakes mentioned are great beginner snakes: ball pythons, kings, milks, rats, garters, sand boas and rosy boas. I would also add a rough green snake to the mix because they're cheap, small, and insectivorous in case your family has problems with live mice or keeping f/t mice in their freezer. The only thing is that green snakes are almost always wild caught but I've never, ever had a problem with them. The only thing about greens is that they stress out very easily and are escape artists so you need to be prepared to not be able to handle it very often.
  20. The Snark

    The Snark ArachnoGod Old Timer

    I've always felt humans need adrenaline for a fast learning curve. I'd suggest your basic cobra. If you survive the first 30 days, you can consider yourself an accomplished snake owner. It will also offer several benefits. Your cats will not survive of course, and you won't have any serious concerns about rodents infesting your house or siblings infesting your rooms. Loose in the house they are far more entertaining than your average boring constrictor and they will aid you tremendously if you are practicing various meditation techniques that require you remain immobile for extended periods of time.

    Excuse me. I'd like to have a word with you regarding my breakfast.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2011
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