The United States is home to some truly unique pets, particularly when it comes to snakes. The laws in certain states allow for some reptiles to be kept as pets that are probably better left in the wild. Still, people are out there who love to own and care for exotic creepy crawlies! Although many snakes are small, that isn’t the case for the list we have today. If you’ve ever wondered what the largest snake you can keep as a pet is, you are about to find out. Let’s get started!
Is it legal to own a large snake?
When it comes to owning snakes, the United States is pretty lax in regard to federal law. As a general rule, any nonvenomous snake can be kept without permission in the United States. Additionally, many states allow venomous snakes to be owned and traded without any restrictions (North Carolina, Arkansas, and Georgia, for example). Most other states allow venomous snakes to be kept, but with a special permit.
However, there aren’t very many restrictions when it comes to size alone. With that in mind, let’s learn about the largest snakes you can keep as pets.
The largest snakes you can keep as pets (5 species)
The reticulated python is a large snake species native to South and Southeast Asia. It is generally considered to be one of the longest snakes in the world and is kept as a pet, particularly albino and tiger morphs. On average, full-grown snakes in the wild generally measure between 4 feet 11 inches to 21 feet 4 inches. Within that range, these pythons can weigh anywhere from 2 lbs all the way up to 165 lbs.
Reticulated pythons can be purchased online and in person for a range of prices. The biggest factor in regards to the price of a reticulated python is their genetics and morphs. The rarer a morph, the more expensive it will be. Keep in mind that reticulated pythons are known to have a bit of an attitude and can strike if agitated.
Burmese pythons are among the largest snakes in the world and are native to Southeast Asia. They are somewhat commonly kept as pets in the United States and accidentally escape into the wild. As a result, Florida now has a problem with a massive population of invasive Burmese pythons living in the Everglades. In the wild, most Burmese pythons will grow to around 16 feet long, although they can grow up to 23 feet long if stories are to be believed. Additionally, they can weigh as much as 165 lbs, but that is quite rare.
Like reticulated pythons, Burmese pythons can be purchased through online markets for as little as $200.
The African rock python holds the record as eating the largest prey of any snake around. African rock pythons live in Africa and are among the largest snakes by weight in the world. Generally, an African rock python can grow to over 20 feet long (although few exceed 16 feet) and weigh as much as 201 lbs.
African rock pythons are generally feared in the wild and don’t make for good pets. They are aggressive and can seriously harm or kill small to medium-sized animals. Additionally, they aren’t readily available for purchase like the first two on our list, but they are still legal to own.
As many would guess, anacondas easily make our list of the largest snakes you can keep as pets. Of the two species available, the green anaconda is the largest. Green anacondas (also called giant anacondas) are native to South America and hold the record for the heaviest snakes in the world. Additionally, they are among the longest. On average, anacondas can grow to 16 feet 5 inches, with some individuals surpassing 17 feet. Certain folk tales speak of snakes growing 35 to 40 feet long, but none have been recorded. Additionally, the average weight of an anaconda is between 66 and 154 lbs.
Green and yellow anacondas are available for purchase through online markets, with the yellow (smaller) species being much more common. Still, green anacondas can be bought for as little as $1,300 USD.
Boa constrictors are among the smaller snakes on our list, although small is rather relative here. These snakes are also called red-tailed boas or just common boas. They are native to South America and are often kept as pets. On average, a boa constrictor can measure between 3 and 13 feet long and weigh between 22 and 33 lbs.
Boa constrictors are often kept in captivity due to their tendency to become extremely mellow and tame. Additionally, their “smaller” size makes them more conducive to living in tanks in someone’s home.
The best large snakes that make good pets
The largest snakes you can keep as pets don’t necessarily mean they are the best snakes you can keep as pets. Here is a quick list of some larger snakes that are known for their ease and popularity among reptile enthusiasts:
- blood pythons
- BCI boas
- ball pythons
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