- Most of the snakes we listed can be found in pet stores or from breeders who ship direct.
- Ball Pythons make great pets for beginners because of their docile personalities, ease of handling, and low maintenance.
- If you are looking for a large snake as a pet, the Red-Tailed Boa can get up to 10 feet long.
- Corn snakes have some of the most beautiful colors and morphs of any snake on earth, making them a very popular choice for a pet.
Snakes are becoming more and more popular as the years go on. For any skeptics out there, snakes may just be the perfect pets! They never make noise, only need to be fed once a week, are almost always harmless, and come in stunning colors.
There are some things to take into consideration when having a snake as a pet. For instance, you’ll need to pet-proof your home, and consider other pets you have that may be a threat to the snake, or vice versa. A pet snake will need an appropriate sized cage or tank, good ventilation, clean and safe bedding and surroundings, vitamin and mineral supplements, and in some cases, a humid environment. And while most snake owners have switched to frozen/thawed rodents, some still feed live prey.
If you are considering a snake, there are many popular options out there. Today, we will discover the ten most popular snakes in the world. Additionally, we will go over what makes them unique and what makes them so popular. Let’s get started!
The 10 Most Popular Snakes in the World
While there isn’t a running tally of “who owns what snake” in the world, we have a pretty good idea of the most common snakes that people keep as pets. Most of the snakes on our list can be found in a pet store, but the ones that can’t are able to be found online from breeders directly. For reference, our local Petco carries over half the snakes on our list, and a quick Google search gets you in touch with breeders who ship the next day across almost all of the United States.
However, an important note is that these are the most popular snakes in the world, not necessarily the best beginner snakes to choose as pets. There is most assuredly some overlap, but we will be sure to reference which snakes are good for what level of handler.
1. Ball Pythons
The ball python may just be the most popular snake in the world. Everyone has seen a ball python at some point, and most people have held them. School science exhibitions will almost always have a handler with a ball python on his shoulder or wrapped around his arm. Their exposure has undoubtedly made them popular pets. Hence, they are often the first snakes people imagine as pet snakes.
Ball pythons are solid snakes for beginners. They are incredibly easy to handle, are rather hardy snakes overall; once you have a proper enclosure set up, they’re pretty low maintenance. Also, the morphs available are truly astounding.
Why are ball pythons popular pets?
- Easy to handle
- Cheap to buy
2. Corn Snakes
If we had to guess the only snake that could potentially compete with the ball python for popularity, it would be the corn snake. Corn snakes are probably the best snakes for beginner reptile owners and come in some of the most stunning color morphs of any snake species in the world.
Part of what makes corn snakes so popular is their morphs and pricing. You can get one of the coolest snakes in the world for less than $100. When you add in how easy they are to handle and their lack of pickiness, it’s clear why they are some of the most popular snakes around.
Why are corn snakes popular pets?
- One of the cheapest snakes you can buy
- Come in incredible colors and patterns
- Low-maintenence and aren’t picky eaters.
3. Red-Tailed Boas
The red-tailed boa (otherwise known as the common boa) is likely to be confused for the ball python, but only when it is young. This snake gets much larger than the other snakes on our list (up to 10 feet). Even with all that size, it is a popular snake and is often kept as a pet.
The red-tailed boa is an amazing snake for beginners who don’t mind a larger snake requiring specific food needs. The only reason boas aren’t more popular than they are is likely because of their size and occasional propensity to bite.
Why are red-tailed boas popular pets?
- Easy to handle
- Good snakes for people who want a larger pet.
Most pet kingsnakes are from the California kingsnake subspecies (found in the southwestern United States and California). These snakes are found in the wild, but most people get theirs from stores or breeders. They aren’t as common as some of the other snakes on our list, but they are still some of the best options for anyone wanting a scaly pet.
Why are kingsnakes popular pets?
- Come in a variety of colors
- Docile and easy to handle
5. Rosy Boas
The rosy boa is another boa that ended up on our list, and it easily deserves its spot. While you may not have heard of the rosy boa if the world of reptiles is new to you, anyone involved in the scene knows about this amazing little snake.
Rosy boas are popular because of their incredibly docile temperament and beautiful colorations. Another part of what makes these snakes so cool is that they are real boas living in the United States’ southwestern deserts!
Why are rosy boas popular pets?
- Good for beginners
- Come in beautiful colors and morphs
- Stay small
- Relatively inexpensive.
6. Milk Snakes
Milk snakes get their name from the old belief that they would drink milk from cows since they were always found in barns. Today, milk snakes are popular pets and can be found natively across much of the United States. They are somewhat common as pets but not nearly as much as ball pythons or corn snakes. They look like the dangerous coral snake but are simply mimics that use it as a natural defense mechanism. Interestingly, they belong to the same family as kingsnakes and have many of the same characteristics.
Why are milk snakes popular pets?
- Come in beautiful colors
- Somewhat easy to handle.
7. Western Hognose Snakes
The western hognose snake is an interesting snake that is also on the rise in popularity. Native to North America, these snakes have an upturned snout that makes them distinct from other pet snakes. They are very docile and very friendly snakes, perfect for beginners.
Why are western hognose snakes popular pets?
- Come in an array of morphs
- Native to the United States
- Moderate price ($200+)
- Very friendly and cute.
8. Rat Snakes
Despite the gross name, rat snakes are easily some of the more popular pet snakes in the United States. They are great for beginners, although they aren’t as cuddly as some other species on the list. Additionally, they come in various morphs, all of which are inexpensive. If we had to guess, rat snakes are likely just under corn snakes in popularity. However, these snakes can be quick and aren’t as slow-moving as some of the other options on the list.
Why are rat snakes popular pets?
- Common snakes
- Come in an array of morphs
- Low-need snake.
9. Garter Snakes
Garter snakes (often incorrectly referred to as garden snakes) are some of the most common wild snakes across the United States. Additionally, they are some of the more common pet snakes, especially in recent years. There are many different species of garter snake, all with a unique and beautiful pattern. Captive-bred snakes make for good pets, but the quick nature of the snake may make them a bit tougher to handle.
Why are garter snakes good pets?
- Common, cheap snakes
- Comes in different subspecies variations
- Gentle, small snakes.
10. Kenyan Sand Boas
Kenyan sand boas are on the rise and will likely be one of the most popular snakes in the coming years. They are amazing little snakes that come from Africa’s arid and desert regions. Kenyan sand boas make for great beginners due to their easy temperament and low needs. They are some of the cutest snakes around.
Why are Kenyan sand boas good pets?
- Come in amazing morphs
- Becoming a popular snake at pet stores (easy to find)
- Docile and very easy to handle.
Summary of the 10 Most Popular Snakes in the World
Here’s our list of the 10 most popular snakes that people keep as pets:
|Rank||Snake||Reasons They’re Good Pets|
|1||Ball Pythons||Easy to handle/low maintenance/inexpensive including equipment/docile|
|2||Corn Snakes||Vast array of beautiful colors & patterns/low maintenance and non-picky eaters/docile/one of least expensive snakes to buy|
|3||Red-Tailed Boas||Good larger snake pet/easy to handle|
|4||Kingsnake||Variety of colors/docile/easy to handle/inexpensive|
|5||Rosy Boas||Good for beginning owners/beautiful colors & morphs/small/fairly inexpensive|
|6||Milk Snakes||Beautiful colors/inexpensive/somewhat easy to handle|
|7||Western Hognose Snakes||Very cute & friendly/native to US/array of morphs/moderate price|
|8||Rat Snakes||Common/inexpensive/array of morphs/low maintenance|
|9||Garter Snakes||Small/gentle/inexpensive/different variations of subspecies|
|10||Kenyan Sand Boas||Docile/easy to handle/inexpensive/amazing morphs|
Other Popular Reptiles in the World
Some of the most popular reptiles in the world sound like they might be the fiercest, with a few of the top contenders going to the Komodo Dragon and the Gila Monster. The Komodo dragon most likely originated in Australia but can be found in Indonesian and is the largest, heaviest lizard in the world. These lizards are one of the few that have a venomous bite. Not only is their venom highly toxic, but it is also enough to kill an animal in a few hours, including a human. Their venom, in addition to preventing the blood from clotting, has a harmful bacteria that is believed to have killed their victims through infection.
The only venomous lizard endemic to the Southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, the Gila monster has a bulky body, thick forked tongue, and snorting hisses. Even though its venom is as potent as the western diamondback rattlesnake, it doesn’t deliver much venom when it bites. Although there is no antivenom, this lizard’s venom is not normally fatal to a healthy adult human and there have been no confirmed fatalities since the 1930s. While there is no antivenom, its venom was found to help in other ways. There was a discovery of a hormone called exendin-4 in the saliva of the Gila monster that led to the development of a new medicine exenatide, which is a synthetic version of the venom’s hormone, that has the capacity to assist people with type 2 diabetes.
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