The 11 Best Pet Snakes for Beginners (Safe and Low Maintenance!)

Best Snakes for New Owners

Written by Patrick MacFarland

Published: April 12, 2024

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Ordinarily, when you’re thinking about getting a pet, many people usually go for cats and dogs. Sometimes, you may opt for a pet that is more low maintenance like a hamster or a guinea pig. Some prefer birds, especially parrots because they can talk. Every so often, there may be someone who wants something a little more exotic. What if your kid wants a pet snake? You may be a little scared to have a pet snake in the house, but it can be quite fun.

There are snakes for beginners. After all, you don’t want an anaconda lying around in the house as a pet. Let’s take a look at the 11 best pet snakes for beginners.

Ball Python

Ball python coiled on rock

Ball pythons are extremely low maintenance, but can be expensive, depending on the morph that you get.

©David Kenny/iStock via Getty Images

The ball python snake is probably one of the most popular snakes in the United States. They’re super easy to handle, including around children. These snakes can last up to 30 years, which means that you will have them for the long haul. Ball pythons are better in tanks that are about 20 gallons and usually in warmer conditions.

Carpet Python

Close up of carpet python with its tongue out

These fantastic snakes are native to Australia.

©Michelle Marks/

Carpet pythons can grow up to 12 feet long and come in various colors and patterns. However, carpet pythons are perfect pets because they are usually more tame and calm. These snakes can live for about 20 years when raised in vivariums.

Corn Snake

Corn snake on a branch

Corn snakes are some of the calmest snakes out there, perfect as a pet snake.

©bugphai/iStock via Getty Images

One of the easiest snakes to care for is the corn snake. They are some of the best ones for children because they can easily handle them since they’re very calm snakes. They live for about 20 years when they are in captivity, which means that they will be around for a long time. In terms of space, corn snakes need about 30 gallons and you should always have your vivarium secure because they like to escape and roam around.

California Kingsnake

Best Pet Snakes

These colorful creatures can grow up to six feet tall.

©Creeping Things/

California king snake is one of the most popular snakes to have as pets in the United States. They are native to the western regions of the United States, as well as the northern parts of Mexico. California king snakes are also known to escape from their tanks just like corn snakes, so make sure you always have your vivarium secure. Lastly, California king snakes can live up to 20 years in captivity.

Children’s Python

Best Pet Snakes

These snakes are prone to exploring, so make sure the vivariums are secure.

©My Lit'l Eye/

The children’s python is not named as such because they are good pets to have around children. This snake was named after British zoologist and chemist John George Children. They can grow up to four feet long and can be quite calm. Children’s pythons can live a whopping 30 years in captivity.

Garter Snake

Garter snakes are small and slender with yellow and black stripes along its body. They are found in North America and commonly seen near rivers, lakes, and ponds.

These fantastic creatures are quite calm, which is why they make good pets.


Garter snakes are quite abundant in the wild and you may find yourself face to face with one of them in your garden. However, garter snakes are also good pets for novices. They tend to have a lesser lifespan than other snakes —  usually around five to 10 years. When buying a vivarium, you should find one that is at least 10 gallons.

Gopher Snake

Best Pet Snakes

These creatures are sometimes confused with rattlesnakes.

©Creeping Things/

Gopher snakes are quite prominent in the western regions of the country but are also popular pets. They can grow up to six feet in length, so make sure you have a tank that is appropriately sized. Your tank should also have a warm light because they tend to thrive in warmer climates. Gopher snakes tend to live up to 20 years in captivity.

Milk Snake

Milk Snake - Woman Holding Milk Snake

The diet for milk snakes can usually be frozen or live rodents.

©Siarhei Kasilau/

Milk snakes are a little small, but they are also very calm. They make great pets for those beginners who want to try out having a pet snake. These snakes can live up to 20 years when living in tanks or vivariums. They are extremely low maintenance, so you won’t be battling it out with them daily.

Rat Snake

Black Rat Snake

When they are in their vivariums, they are quite active, which is a change of pace from the other snakes on this list.

©John Callahan/iStock via Getty Images

Beginners who want a pet snake should consider the rat snake. They are a good snake to have as they are calm (although not the calmest ones). They are small snakes, but they live up to 20 years.

Rosy Boa

rosy boa

Rosy boas should be kept in tanks that are about 20 gallons with heating.

©Jason Mintzer/

Boas can sound scary to the pet snake novice, but the rosy boa is quite the opposite. Your life will be quite rosy with a rosy boa because they are quite calm and low maintenance. These nocturnal snakes can last up to 25 years in captivity.

Western Hognose Snake

The Western Hognose Snake has a thick body and is slightly smaller than the Eastern Hognose.

These amazing creatures eat lizards and various types of bugs when in the wild.

© Morozova

The Western hog no snake is native to the Western regions of the United States. They are also found in Mexico and Canada. These snakes are quite calm and docile. These snakes grow an average of two feet in length, however some can grow more. They can live up to 20 years, which means you’ll have them for quite a while.

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About the Author

Patrick Macfarland is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel, geography, and history. Patrick has been writing for more than 10 years. In the past, he has been a teacher and a political candidate. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from SDSU and a Master's Degree in European Union Studies from CIFE. From San Diego, California, Patrick loves to travel and try new recipes to cook.

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