Picture

Photo Credit: hannes.steyn via Compfight cc
Sometimes the thought of owning a pet fills your mind, but you don’t want a fluffy kitten, dog or rabbit. Insects do not do anything for you and you haven’t got the time to care for something larger, like a horse. So what do you choose?
Somewhat surprising to many of us, snakes are quite high on the popularity list. They aren’t the best pet for someone who hates snakes, but for those who think they can handle it, and then they are fine. Snakes can grow on people if they have a positive experience the first time they take on a snake as a pet. The main costs are usually for setting up your pen for the snake, the snake itself and whatever you will feed it. Be sure that you read a recommended book or preferably a few before you start looking for your snake. Some better-known breeders have a handbook that you can purchase in order to start off well. Alternatively, ask a veterinary clinic that deals in reptiles what you want to know. Make up a list of questions and book some time to have them answered.

Keeping a Snake

You must have a license to keep the reptile. If you do not, you will find you are breaching laws that exist in every State and the Commonwealth. This carries a very severe penalty of jail time and a large fine. When you set up your snake ‘pen’, ensure it is totally escape proof. Snakes can squeeze out through the smallest space, so ideally buy your pet from a reputable breeder or supplier.

Where the snake should be sourced from?

Choose a reputable breeder who has a good reputation. They also must have a current license to keep and breed snakes. Go and inspect the reptiles in their home before you buy. This is one time that buying over the Internet is not good. You may end with a diseased or sick snake that has not been sent in a suitable packing. A good snake breeder will ask to see your license as well as show you theirs and be very happy to answer any questions you may have.

What type of snake should you choose?

The Children’s Python is thought to be a good snake to start with. The name does not mean that the snake is a good fit for all children but is its discoverers actual name.  As far as a snake can be friendly to humans, these usually are. A young snake, however, may be nervous and bite out of fear. Older snakes are much more laid back but may get annoyed if you worry them while they are trying to feed. These pythons have striking colors at hatching, but these colors may fade into the skin as the snake ages. They usually grow to about one meter. If you are going to keep this snake, make sure you have its pen all set up before you collect it. The snake will need a ‘pen’ about 600L x 450W x 450H (mm) at least. 28o – 35oC will be a perfect temperature from the source of heat. Snakes will quite quickly die if they are too cold for a long period.

Feeding your snake:

These snakes enjoy 1-2 mice every seven days. Feeding can end up expensive, as you may decide to buy a freezer to keep the food in. The mice are variably priced. Alternatively, if you think you can handle feeding live mice to your snake, you can set up a pen to breed your mice in. Keep the mice out of sight of the snake, or they will encourage the snake to try to escape.