5 Best Small Pet Snakes (Most Popular in 2023)

5 Best Small Pet Snakes (Most Popular in 2023)

Snakes are inherently fascinating creatures that most people rarely get to glimpse outside a TV show or read about online. Nonetheless, owning one will give you insight into these creatures' daily lives. For some people, it may lift the veils about them being evil or even scary, depending on what your life has led you to view them as.

As pets, snakes are interesting because they have attributes typically reserved for insects (like shedding, for example). Another exciting thing about snakes is their eating habits outside most people's expectations. People do not understand how friendly these reptiles can be and how rewarding a life with one can become.

Given that information, what are the best small pets to have in your home? There are quite a few of them, but the most popular ones are as follows:

  • Rosy boa
  • Kenyan sand boa
  • Kingsnake species
  • Western hognose
  • African egg-eating snake

This article discusses each snake in detail and what you should look for in a snake. When choosing, it is crucial to know how much space you have in your home and what space the snake needs. For more information, we encourage you to continue along with us! 

What Are the Best Small Pet Snakes to Handle?

Before diving into what qualifies some snakes as better pets than other species, it's good to have some perspective on these differences. Some differences may be things like the following:

  • The snake's temperament is a good gauge of where it would stand if handled too much. 
  • Nutrient requirements or specific needs that would entail more extensive care.
  • The knowledge required for the reptile to lead a fulfilling life.

To that end, let us continue with the snake information.

1. Rosy Boa

The rosy boa is a snake that earns its name through the distinct three stripes that adorn most of this reptile's species and are typically orange in color with a myriad of different colored set of stripes. 

These snakes can be anywhere from 18 to 46 inches long with a temperament that is usually very calm and docile, making them a fantastic pick for growing families or new snake owners.

As far as their personal needs go, this snake doesn't require constant attention and affection but could benefit from it and need a tank of roughly 15 to 20 gallons to have sufficient room to grow and move around as they mature. Lastly, they require a humidity-rich habitat and can live for up to 25 years, so plan accordingly before getting one.

2. Kenyan Sand Boa

The Kenyan sand boa is a snake that is primarily beige in color with white and orange alternating spots and stripes running the length of its body, these little guys only grow to be about 20-34 inches long in size, but they can be very evasive and not respond well to direct handling.

The snake itself will not bite to defend itself, but has been known to bite if it accidentally mistakes your hand for something edible. These snakes love burrowing in sand and can be very comfortable in a tank that is roughly 10 gallons large. 

In terms of tank decorations to keep your slithering friend happy, you needn't go far, with most being content with the sand and a little mulch to coil around in.

3. Kingsnake Species

A king in more than name alone, the kingsnake earns its crown by being one of the best snakes possible to get as a pet. It has a reputation for being easily trained into loving physical touch and being handled. The kingsnake is one of the most exotic-looking, coming in exquisite, vibrant colors, making it look dangerous when it is harmless.

Another remarkable aspect about kingsnakes is that they even have rattled in their tales, further promoting this edgy visage when they are big softies. 

The snakes only get to be 24 inches on average, but some species can be up to 60 inches long, requiring a 60-gallon tank. However, a 30-gallon tank will do just fine in the smaller ones. 

These snakes must be fed every four days, with a diet of small mice, either live or frozen.

4. Western Hognose

The western hognose snake can come in several colors in patterns, most commonly being a brown or beige color with light yellow stripes creating brown spot patterns. The hognose also earns its name thanks to the slight up-tilt on its head, making it look like it has an upturned nose.

The hognose only grows to about 24 inches in length before it has reached full maturity and is extremely docile, with its worst displays of aggression usually being a headbutt instead of a bite. 

These snakes like being fed live prey but can settle for other sources and will play dead if they feel threatened.

5. African Egg-Eating Snake

Otherwise known as Dasypeltis scabra, the egg-eating snake is usually brown or dark colored with yellow to beige stripes and spot patterns running the snake's length. These little guys are docile, and for those with sensitive stomachs regarding feeding your snake live prey, these little guys can subsist entirely on quail eggs.

Due to their different eating habits, the biggest issue you could encounter would be finding suitable eggs for your snake. Some local pet stores can keep you supplied but secure its food source before getting the snake. Lastly, they can grow to 30 inches long and live for over ten years. You'll be making a new friend for a long time.

What Is the Friendliest Small Snake?

The friendliest small snake is probably the African Egg-Eating snake, partially because it can innately become highly docile and love attention. Still, it cannot bite even more because it is toothless. They are also non-venomous, meaning you'll have a little snake that can, at best, squint at you very (almost) menacingly.

What Snakes Stay Small?

Quite a few snakes on this list remain small, but some of the best contenders are the rosy boa, egg-eating snake, ball python sand boa, and the ringneck snake.

What Snakes Are Not Good for Beginners?

Venomous snakes make for a poor choice for a beginner, so those will automatically be ruled out. Other snakes that aren't good for first-timers would be either naturally aggressive or have eating habits that make them difficult to keep happy/healthy.

What Makes a Good Beginner Snake?

The best qualities in beginner snakes would be the opposite of those located above, thus being docile in temperament, eating foods that are easy to obtain, having living environments that are easy to upkeep, and being nice to hold and interact with.

1. Availability

How easy it is to get the snake in the first place or obtain the food they need is a big thing to take into consideration. If it's hard to do either, one of the snakes falling into such a category might not be the best choice for you or your reptilian friend.

2. The Snakes Feeding Response

Certain species of snake require different stimuli to feel like feeding, anything ranging from their prey needing to be alive (or convinced enough that it was) or need to engage in a hunt within their enclosure actively. This mental state can make them more aggressive than average and have other slight behavioral changes depending on the species.

3. Its Overall Size & Handling

Smaller snakes are easier to take care of in most regards. Typically they eat less often, or getting their food is usually a bit easier, and most are more docile regarding basic interaction. This isn't always the case, but the two factors combined make smaller snakes more ideal for first-timers.

Final Thoughts

Getting a small snake as a pet can be an enriching and learning experience. It can also allow your friends, family, and children to overcome any bad preconceptions about them by positively interacting with yours! So, if you are considering getting a pet snake, we highly recommend doing so.