Animals / Reptiles / Interesting and useful

Choosing a small pet snake

What are the smallest pet snakes? Most people imagine enormous constrictor snakes when they think of a pet snake. While it’s true that enormous snakes do make fulfilling pets, due to their large size, they are quite care intensive and require a large environment to call home.

Bimini Blind Snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus)
There are many species of blind snakes, but they all have one thing in common – they are tiny! In fact, blind snakes are so minuscule that they are very often mistaken for earth worms.

In addition to resembling earth worms in physical appearance, blind snakes also behave very similarly to worms. They are burrowers and are most common found in moist soil. They’ve even been known to live in garden flower pots, which is how they received their other common name – Flowerpot Snake.

The Bimini Blind Snake, which is one of the more common blind snake species, has very minimal care requirements. All a tiny blind snake needs for a home is a medium-sized glass jar with moist soil and a hiding place or two.

Ringneck Snake (Diadphis sp.)
Ringneck snakes are not all that much larger than some blind snakes, although you can definitely tell that a ringneck snake is not a worm.

Ringnecks are black with a bright orange collar or necklace around their neck, hence their common name.

Ringneck snakes are distinguished by their orange or yellow band around their necks.

Many people assume that ringnecks are baby snakes, but the truth is that full grown, mature snakes still only grow to be approximately fifteen inches long. They also won’t usually get thicker than a pencil in diameter.

In the wild, ringnecks consume everything from worms to small invertebrates. In captivity, we recommend feeding them night crawlers, but some people have reported success giving them crickets.

Western Hognose Snake (Heterodon nasicus)
Many people are drawn to hognose snakes because they have cute upturned noses used for shoveling sand when they burrow. They can vary highly in terms of color and markings, but they are all very stout-bodied. They’re also known to resemble rattlesnakes to the untrained eye, although herp hobbyists know better.

As far as size is concerned, hognose snakes are quite a bit larger than blind snakes and ringneck snakes, but they’re still considered small pet snakes. They can grow to two to three feet long and have very long life spans for such small critters. With proper care and husbandry, hognose snakes can live to twenty years or longer!

A snake the size of a Western hognose should be given a tank that is around twenty gallons. Unless you have a particularly large specimen, you can usually even house a breeding pair together as well. Because hognoses are burrowers by nature, we recommend providing a sandy substrate to allow for this behavior.

Ball Python (Python regius)
Not only are ball pythons very reasonably sized as far as snakes are concerned (often considered a small pet snake), but they are also extremely mild-mannered with pleasant dispositions. This is what makes them quite possibly the most popular pet snake on the planet.

Ball pythons breed readily in captivity, which means that they are available in a multitude of morphs. You can get a ball python that is pure white and everything in between as far as markings and coloration are concerned.

Ball pythons are the most well-known pet snake on this list, as well as the largest.

Ball pythons are also the largest snake species on this list, although we’d still say that they are “small” for a pet snake. Males are typically smaller than females, reaching lengths between two to three feet long. Females will be anywhere from three to five feet long.

Conclusion – The Smallest Pet Snakes
If you’re in the market for a small pet snake and you have limited room in your home for a cage or vivarium, then we think any of the snakes on this list would be a good fit you. All of them attain reasonable sizes and are known for placid demeanors and even-tempered personalities.

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