Discover the 10 Most Popular Snakes in the World

Written by Colby Maxwell
Updated: June 29, 2022
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Think You Know Snakes?

Key Points

  • 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 you’d generally feed a pet snake pre-killed, thawed rodents.

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!

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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.

Ball Pythons

Discover the 10 Most Popular Snakes in the World
Ball pythons are probably the most popular snakes in the world.

pelsopython/Shutterstock.com

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, and don’t require expensive equipment to get started. Also, the morphs they come in are truly astounding.

Why are ball pythons popular pets?

  • easy to handle
  • cheap to buy along with the equipment
  • docile
  • low maintenence.

Corn Snakes

Discover the 10 Most Popular Snakes in the World
Corn snakes might be the second most popular snakes in the world.

Enrique Ramos/Shutterstock.com

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, guaranteed. 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
  • docile
  • low maintenence and aren’t picky eaters.

Red-Tailed Boas

Discover the 10 Most Popular Snakes in the World
Red-tailed boas are common pets for those looking for a snake to love.

fivespots/Shutterstock.com

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.

Kingsnakes

Discover the 10 Most Popular Snakes in the World
Kingsnakes are docile pets that come with beautiful banding.

Creeping Things/Shutterstock.com

Most pet kingsnakes are from the California kingsnake subspecies (found in 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
  • inexpensive.

Rosy Boas

Discover the 10 Most Popular Snakes in the World
Rosy boas are small, desert-dwelling boas native to North America.

Jason Mintzer/Shutterstock.com

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.

Milk Snakes

Discover the 10 Most Popular Snakes in the World
Milk snakes get their name from the false belief that they used to drink milk from cows.

Siarhei Kasilau/Shutterstock.com

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
  • inexpensive
  • somewhat easy to handle.

Western Hognose Snakes

Discover the 10 Most Popular Snakes in the World
Hognose snakes come in a variety of amazing morphs.

iStock.com/GlobalP

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.

Rat Snakes

Discover the 10 Most Popular Snakes in the World
Rat snakes are cheap snakes that make for great pets.

Nynke van Holten/Shutterstock.com

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
  • inexpensive
  • come in an array of morphs
  • low-need snake.

Garter Snakes

Discover the 10 Most Popular Snakes in the World
There are many species of garter snakes, all with their colorations.

Jason Mintzer/Shutterstock.com

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.

Kenyan Sand Boas

kenyan sand boa
The albino Kenyan sand boa morph lacks melanin in its scales.

NatalieJean/Shutterstock.com

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
  • inexpensive
  • becoming a popular snake at pet stores (easy to find)
  • docile and very easy to handle.

Here’s our list of the 10 most popular snakes that people keep as pets:

RankSnakeReasons They’re Good Pets
1Ball PythonsEasy to handle/low maintenance/inexpensive including equipment/docile
2Corn SnakesVast array of beautiful colors & patterns/low maintenance and non-picky eaters/docile/one of least expensive snakes to buy
3Red-Tailed BoasGood larger snake pet/easy to handle
4KingsnakeVariety of colors/docile/easy to handle/inexpensive
5Rosy BoasGood for beginning owners/beautiful colors & morphs/small/fairly inexpensive
6Milk SnakesBeautiful colors/inexpensive/somewhat easy to handle
7Western Hognose SnakesVery cute & friendly/native to US/array of morphs/moderate price
8Rat SnakesCommon/inexpensive/array of morphs/low maintenance
9Garter SnakesSmall/gentle/inexpensive/different variations of subspecies
10Kenyan Sand BoasDocile/easy to handle/inexpensive/amazing morphs

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