Things to Consider when Buying a Snake
I know they’re not the most cuddly of pets, but there is something really mesmerising about snakes. I love reading about them and watching wildlife films about them, and I can never walk past a reptile pet shop without having a peak in at the vivariums.
Everyone thinks I’m mad, but there’s nothing to be lost by checking out whether I had what it takes to be a snake owner!
Image by robynejay
The low maintenance option
We all know that fluffy pets like cats, rabbits and dogs can destroy furniture, smell horrible, need constant attention and exercise, can’t be left on their own and can sometimes annoy the neighbours. They also poop on the carpet and wander out on to roads and can cost a fortune in vet bills because of the silly scrapes they get themselves into.
I don’t think any of these factors will be a problem with Mr Snakey! What’s not to love?
Do you want to live forever?
Snakes should preferably be from a reputable breeder, and have been captive bred. Not surprisingly, wild snakes can be more stressed (they are not used to captivity) and they can also be prone to disease and parasites they are not used to in the wild. They can also be hard to tame.
So, after some consultation, here are my main options:
Corn Snake (Elaphe Guttata)
Great for beginners like me, as they are easy to handle and a breeze to care for. These creatures are docile, and don’t get too large, on average 3ft to 5ft in length – although large enough, I feel (gulp).
They also come in a vast array of beautiful colours and patterns on their skins, as selective breeding has developed this.
On the downside, these critters can be amazing escape artists! So a really tight fitting lid for the cage is advisable! Amazingly, in the UK you do not need a licence to have a non-venomous snake, like a corn snake, but if they are venomous types, such as a cobra or rattle snake, then you need a Dangerous Wild Animal Licence (DWA)
These are fairly docile types, both species coming from the genus Lamproletis species, and they can be strikingly beautiful.
These are constrictors, so they do like to suffocate their prey before eating – gulp! They can also grow to at least 7 foot in length (double gulp!). They will eat lizards, amphibians, birds, rodents – and even other snakes, so it’s essential they are not put into a cage with any other snakes.
Hmm, I’m not sure about that one – a cannibal snake? Sounds a bit freaky.
Ball Python (Python Regius)
Anything with the word “python” in the name is going to be big, I guess. But weirdly, they only grow to between three and five feet long, that’s not too bad. Apparently they get their name from the way they tend to curl up into a ball when they feel threatened.
The drawback with this species though, is that they can live up to 50 years old! Even 20 to 30 years is typical! This is a breed that you would have to seriously commit to – they live longer than some marriages!
What’s the damage?
In the U.K. the price range goes from around £390 for a corn snake to £200 for a python. This isn’t that expensive next to a pedigree dog! But they also need a vivaruim or tank to live in, which can also cost from £40 up to and over £100. Heating of the unit is essential for the health of the snake, plus lighting accessories, so all in all you could get the whole kit for around £300.
This isn’t too bad, but then I’ve got to reckon in the food. If I go for a beginner snake, a corn snake, then he will eat rodents – and they can luckily be brought frozen and ready to go – rather like the pizzas I’m partial to!
It comes as a surprise to learn that frozen rodents are only between 25p to 50p each – let’s hope things don’t get too bad in this country, or we’ll all be resorting to the rat snack! The good news is that the snake only needs one furry snack per week to stay hungry, so the food bills won’t break the bank.
Have you got a snake? What other things should we take into account when considering buying one? I still haven’t made up my mind!
- License: Creative Commons image source
Louise Blake is an excited first time mum to be, and spends most of her free time nesting and getting the nursery ready! She works as a design account manager and loves all aspects of architecture and home design. She’s a huge animal lover, and when not out taking her dog for nice long walks, she blogs occasionally for Supapet.