5 Types of Small Pet Snakes For Reptile Lovers

For some pet-lovers, the sleek profile, cute coiling, and flickering tongue of a small snake are the most adorable things ever. So, what breeds of small pet snakes make the best companions? Thankfully, there are many to choose from. From colorful to camouflaged, here are a few to pique your interest and a bit about their care needs.

Pet Snake Basics for Beginners

Before committing to a small pet snake, here's some general information regarding their diet, housing needs, and life expectancy.

  • All snakes are carnivores, and most prefer live warm-blooded prey including crickets, worms, pinkies, adult mice, fish, or rats.
  • Snakes need an enclosed terrarium fitted with foliage, branches, hiding places, a water source, lighting, and sometimes heat sources.
  • Many snakes live as long as a cat or dog. Expect to have the pet around for up to 20 years, so be sure you can commit to its care for that long.
  • Before falling in love with a slithery friend, scope out a habitat and supplies and get it all set up. Then, bring your snake home to a ready environment.

Now, let's find a new reptile friend!

5 Small Pet Snakes for Your Home

Here are five favorite small breeds of snakes for you to consider adding to your family.

Ball Python

Zilla blog types of pet snakes ball python

These eye-catching reptiles native to sub-Saharan Africa are known for their bold black and caramel-colored markings and gentle demeanor. Ball pythons are a common first snake pet and tend to live 25-30 years in captivity. A young hatchling can live in a 20L Zilla Critter Cage, while an adult will need to move up to a 40BR Zilla Critter Cage. An adult ball python will reach 3-5 feet in total length. When it comes to feeding time, a baby ball python will eat pinky mice, then gradually enjoy adult mice and eventually rats once per week.

Corn Snake

Zilla blog types of pet snakes corn snake

Also known as the Red Rat Snake, these snakes are commonly found in fields and forests in the Southeastern United States. The long but slender snakes can reach a full-grown length of just over 5 feet and live for 10-15 years. A young pet corn snake would be happy in a 10 gallon Zilla Critter Cage. Adults need more space and would consider a 40BR tank or larger a good home. In the wild, the corn snake will dine on small rodents, small birds, frogs, or small lizards. Most domestic corn snakes feed on pinky mice and eventually graduate to adult mice and small adult rats with meals every 5-7 days.

King Snake

Zilla blog types of pet snakes king snake

These constrictors come in a variety of colorful options featuring black, orange, red, and white markings. Depending on the species you select, an adult king snake will grow to 2-6 feet in length and need up to a 60-gallon tank for its adult home for the next 15-20 years. These reptiles are escape artists and need a latch closure (not just a lid) on their terrarium to keep them safe. Like most constrictors, the king snake also dines on rodents including mice and rats.

Milk Snake

Zilla blog types of pet snakes milk snake

These stunning snakes come in a variety of hues including patterns of red, orange, yellow, and black. With over 24 subspecies, you're sure to find one that catches your attention. You can find milk snakes in Southeastern Canada, most of the United States, and as far south as Central America. A young snake would be happy coming home to a 10 gallon Zilla Critter Cage. Plan to move your pet up to a 40BR tank eventually so there's enough space for the adult measuring in at 2-5 feet, depending on species. Milk snakes feed on bird eggs, small rodents, and occasionally other snakes in the wild. For pet owners, pinky mice, adult mice, and eventually small rats will keep a milk snake fed.

Rosy Boa

zilla blog rosy boa

Hailing from the Western United States, you might encounter a desert-loving rosy boa in California or Arizona showing off its long stripes of bright orange and blue/gray coloring or a deep brown with a red hue against cream. Some have skin featuring a dark orange mixed with black and blue/gray. This small pet snake grows to about 3 feet long and feeds on pinky mice as a juvenile and adult mice when fully grown. Plan to feed your pet every 7-10 days. A pet rosy boa can live up to 30 years, so be sure everyone in the household is on-board with this pet choice. A 40BR tank would be a good option for this longtime reptile friend.

Learn more about popular reptile pets in these care sheets.