5 Unique Pet Snakes
Are you looking to expand your collection of fanciful herps (aka reptiles and amphibians)? We've got a list of five unique snakes you should consider. This list of pet snakes goes beyond common ball pythons and milk snakes. Get ready to learn about a few captive breeds that may be new to you — and catch your eye!
In this guide, you'll learn about the Kenyan sand boa, garter snake, bamboo rat snake, hognose snake, and Children's python. These cool snakes come in bold colors, feature uncommon body structures, and are great additions to a growing reptile collection.
Before bringing your new pet home, be sure to read up on the supplies you may need. Whether adding another snake to your home or picking out your first pet, it's important to have the proper setup ready to go. We suggest having the tank, lighting, and heating in place so your new pet can smoothly transition from the pet store to the new environment. We also offer suggestions for housing and handling in this article, Snake Facts.
1. Kenyan sand boa
Also known as the East African sand boa, this yellow or orange looker is native to the deserts and rocky regions of Egypt, western Libya, Yemen, western Africa, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Most varieties of snakes taper in a bit at the neck, but their unique neckless shape gives them a plump, elongated appearance — much like a cucumber! Females grow to about 24 inches long, while males measure a bit shorter at 20 inches. This species is generally calm, with some preferring to jerk away from you when startled rather than bite you. When choosing a terrarium, think long rather than high, as the Kenyan sand boa isn't much of a climber. At mealtime, these boas like to dine on mice.
2. Garter snake
Whether you find one in your backyard or opt for one sold at the pet store, garter snakes have been loved by snake fans for ages because they are plentiful and come in a rainbow of colors. These two-toned striped fellows (black with yellow, gray with white, brown with green, and many more color combos!) are common in North and Central America. A baby garter snake would be cozy in a 10-gallon aquarium. As an adult, move up to a 20-gallon or larger tank to give the pet ample roaming space. Be sure to include a water bowl for soaking and hunting. For food, the garter snake likes to eat small live minnows but will also accept worms and slugs.
3. Bamboo rat snake
This colorful snake is a red-orange color with stripes in black, yellow, or white. The bamboo rat snake can grow to a bit over three feet in length and live 10 to 15 years in captivity. Be sure to add some hiding logs, terrarium moss, a thick layer of cypress, and little planters with grasses for this rainforest-loving snake that originally comes to us from Southeast Asia. When setting up a habitat for a bamboo rat snake, be sure it's humid (70-80% daytime, 90% at night) and cool. They enjoy temperatures in the mid-70s (Fahrenheit). As pets, they are happy to eat small mice or lizards.
4. Hognose snake
With a pig snout-style nose, this snake will get a second look at the pet store. The hognose snake is commonly found in the Midwest and Eastern parts of the United States. They are one of the longer pets on our list, measuring up to 3.5 feet in length as adults. These unique gray/brown snakes dine on mice and love to use their unique-shaped noses to dig around in the dirt and leaves in the bottoms of their terrariums. Ask to handle one at the pet store, and you'll quickly learn "hoggies" are very tame and enjoy all the attention you'll give.
5. Children's pythonThe mellow-mannered Children's python (named after zoologist John George Children) is native to Northern Australia. This petite constrictor can grow to 3 to 4 feet in length, much smaller than other snakes in the python category. Their scales come in reds and browns to blend into their natural environment Down Under. When housed as a pet, Children's pythons enjoy having hiding places (like a log or rock structure) and branches to climb. When it's meal time, offer mice.
If you're looking to expand your collection or simply choose an uncommon snake to show off to your friends and family, these unique snakes hit the mark. From the bright, colorful stripes of garter snakes to the turned-up flat nose of a hognose, these pets are cute — and great conversation-starters!