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garter snake
Garter snakes (above), boas, pythons,
corn, racer, and gopher are the most
common snakes kept as pets.

Snakes as pets?

Like lizards, snakes won't wag their tails or excitedly greet you when you arrive home, but snakes do have their own peculiar charm!

Describe as "cute", and "lovable" by their owners, a snake's primitive and hypnotic beauty is hard to ignore. On the more practical side, if anyone in your household is allergic to pet dander snakes are always a safe bet.

Before becoming pet snake owners, beginners should learn as much as possible about the particular type of snake they wish to adopt, say the experts.

It's also a good idea to research local snake laws in your community before purchasing any kind of pet snake. The easiest way to find out? Ask your pet dealer. They wouldn't want you to purchase a snake that would get them -- and you -- in a twist with the local authorities.

Ideally, before you purchase any snake be sure your pet store is stocked with adequate reptile care equipment and supplies. The basics you'll need usually include a terrarium cage, a humidity and temperature gauge, and a heat lamp. It's also probably a good idea to seek out a neighborhood veterinarian who is well-versed in common snake diseases (such as mouth rot, blister disease, or bacterial infections.)

Feeding requirements differ among snake species, but basic to many of them are proper environmental needs. That includes well-constructed shelters, warm temperatures, and proper levels of light and humidity to keep your pet snake happy and healthy throughout its 10-15 year lifespan.


venomous snakes
Venomous snakes that don't make for good pets include, from left to right,
the rattlesnake, copperhead, water moccasin, and coral snake


The most common snakes kept by enthusiasts are the constrictors - boas, pythons, rat snakes and milk snakes - as well as gopher, racer, corn and garter snakes. Be warned, however, that those cute boa hatchlings that grow large in the wild tend to grow even larger in captivity, so snake newbies are usually warned to start small.

There are some 2,500 species of snakes around the world, with approximately 20% of the total known to be venomous snakes. Many beginners may think that poisonous snakes are "cool", but these reptiles with the ancient pedigree will most likely continue to act on pure instinct no matter how long they have been domesticated.

And for all their exotic beauty, a poisonous snake in a cranky mood can result in one harmful hobby, so safety recommendations for proper snake handling should be observed at all times.

Around the Web, learn more about safety concerns, general care, feeding and watering, snake anatomy, or meet other pet snake owners in chats and forums, find snake classifieds and related supplies for sale, and get more expert advice on keeping your no-legged friends healthy and happy in their new human surroundings...


More about pet snakes around the Web:


kingsnake.com - Check out snake and reptile central, with extensive resources for facts and information, chats and forums, plus a great picture gallery of user-submitted photos, snakes for sale, classifieds, links to breeders, equipment and supplies, books and magazines.

Petsnakes - Good resources for the pet snake newbie with questions to ask before you buy, online chat to ask specific questions, and snake pictures in over a dozen photo galleries.

The Corn Snakes Site - Meet this UK enthusiast with an extensive look at the species in photos, facts and information on care and feeding, feeding problems, egg laying, suggested reading, online forum, related links.

The EMBL Reptile Database - Turtles, snakes and lizards are just some of the reptiles featured on this colorful herpetological index. If you love reptiles, you'll be a happy camper here.

 

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