Are snakes clean pets? (9 tips to clean the terrarium)

In this blog post, we answer the following question: Are snakes clean pets? We speak about the advantages of having a snake as a pet, and how to keep your snake’s terrarium clean.

Are snakes clean pets?

Snakes do not lose their hair or feathers because they do not have them, so they are quite clean. Which also prevents them from causing allergies. They do not give off body odours, and if we keep their terrarium clean and regularly change the substrate, there will be no need to bother us.

Besides, you will never be awakened by the painting of your snake. They are quiet and calm, so much so that you hardly even remember having them. Of course, we should not make loud noises, organize parties and fights near their terrarium, because they love their tranquillity and we could stress them.

Nor do they require daily walks, that time invested in other pets that in this case, we will have for ourselves.

What care should we be able to offer a snake as a companion animal?

Unlike other pets, snakes require very little care, yes, they are essential so that they can live healthily and correctly. What care does a snake need? Here are a few:

  • The terrariums in which the snakes should be placed should be spacious, with good ventilation and with safety closures.
  • The substrate of terrariums must be changed very regularly so that their habitat is in optimal conditions.
  • The snakes must always be in points where the temperature is not lower than 25º. There are external infrared thermometers, which do not need to be inside the terrarium to achieve a more natural environment.
  • Once a week or every fortnight, we have to feed our snake. The type of food will depend on the species of snake it is, but above all, they tend to feed on rats, fish, birds, worms, … There are some vitamin supplements for reptiles on the market, which should not be missing in the diet of our snake.
  • We must place a container with clean and freshwater within reach.
  • And of course, annual veterinary check-ups as they are susceptible to disease.

This being said, snakes are perhaps the cleanest pet to have. Don’t forget tho, that you have to clear its terrarium!

How to keep your snake’s terrarium clean?

Many times, proper sanitation of the terrarium is overlooked when it comes to taking care of personal hygiene and the health of your pet. Effective cleaning of your snake’s terrarium needs to be done to eliminate or reduce environmental pathological agents that are common in reptiles. 

Some of these organisms could even be transmitted to a human because they are zoonotic. And if you have more than one reptile in different terrariums, it is also important to know how to disinfect each location separately and then disinfect your hands to avoid cross-transmission of any disease between your pets.

To ensure the best possible benefit to your pet and to avoid bad odours in your home, here we show you how to clean your snake’s terrarium.

What do you need?

  • A safe place where you can leave your pet while you clean the terrarium.
  • A shovel that you use only for that terrarium.
  • Warm water.
  • Unscented soap.
  • A disinfectant: it can be a solution of chlorine, bleach or ammonia (100 ml of the substance dissolved in 5 litres of water) or also a special disinfectant for terrariums that they sell in a pet store.
  • A cloth or sponge that you use only for that terrarium.
  • A towel or cloth that you use only for that terrarium.
  • New substrate, that is fresh.

Steps to follow

Remove your snake from its terrarium and place it in a safe place where it can stay while you clean its home.

Clean the remains of food, saliva, faecal matter and all debris in general. Also, throw off the layer of substrate that you have at the base of your terrarium. You can use a shovel to help you.

Use lukewarm water and very little unscented soap to finish cleaning, rinsing, and washing away any surface debris and stains that may remain.

Rinse the terrarium well with warm water. Make sure that no organic material remains, otherwise, the disinfectant you will use next will be inactivated.

Once everything is clean, apply a little disinfectant to your terrarium. The most used are bleach, ammonia and chlorine, although you mustn’t mix them. If you are going to use some of them, dissolve 100 ml in 5 litres of water. Another option could be a disinfectant sold in the pet store, designed especially for reptile terrariums.

Dampen a cloth or sponge with the disinfectant and scrub the entire surface of your terrarium, making sure not to leave a single segment unsoaked.

Let the sanitizer work for 15-20 minutes.

Once the time is up, rinse the terrarium very well, using plenty of water.

Dry the terrarium with a towel or cloth that you use especially for your pet. You can also let it dry, but this would take longer.

Once the terrarium is dry, put on a new layer of the substrate. Do not replace the previous one, because if you do, you would lose all the cleaning work.

Put all the objects, accessories and equipment back in your pet’s terrarium. It is advisable to clean them as well. You can immerse them in soapy water and then in a pot with the same disinfectant that you use for the terrarium. Once they are disinfected, you rinse them thoroughly with water. Finally, you dry them well and return them to your pet’s terrarium.

Return your snake to its terrarium.

In the end, be sure to sanitize and wash all the cleaning materials you have used. This way, they will be prepared for the next time you need to use them.

Bonus Tips

  • When you start to disinfect the terrarium, you must make sure that there are no remaining organic materials, as this could inactivate the disinfectant.
  • Use disinfectants such as chlorine and ammonia with great care because they could be toxic to your pet and could irritate your skin.
  • If your terrarium is made of wood, it would not be convenient to use bleach or ammonia. In this case, check with a pet store which product they would recommend you use to keep your terrarium in good condition and not harm your pet.
  • If your terrarium has a carpet, replace it with another that is clean, because that will ensure that you have a chance to wash and disinfect it well. Later, when it’s time to wash the other one, you exchange them.
  • If you have multiple pets in different terrariums or cages, don’t use the same rags, towels, or sponges for all of them. This could cause cross-contamination, meaning you carry germs from one place to another, and this could be harmful to your pets.
  • Never mix two different chemicals, as some of these combinations result in fumes that could be toxic to you and your pet.
  • Many glass cleaners contain ammonia in their composition, so it is advisable not to use them to avoid mixing chemicals. You can clean the glass in your terrarium with a solution containing 5 litres of water, 250 ml of medical alcohol, a quarter cup of vinegar and a few drops of liquid soap.
  • It is recommended that you consult with your veterinarian how often you should clean your pet’s terrarium because that will depend on what type of snake you have.

FAQ on Are snakes clean pets?

Can you keep a snake as a pet?

In most countries, it is legal to keep a snake as a pet. However, you should do your research before and keep in mind that having a snake as a pet is a long term commitment. They live up to 30 years in captivity. 

Are pet snakes happy?

You can say that pet snakes are happy if they are taken care of properly, fed in time and mostly left alone. However, there is no way to measure a snake’s happiness, like you’d do with your dog, for example. 

Can a snake love you?

Snakes do not love you and they do not feel love as you do. Snakes are not capable of human emotions. In time, they can tolerate you and accept you as a non-threatening creature. 

Can pet snakes kill you?

Yes, pet snakes can kill you. Although it doesn’t happen often, some snakes may mistake you for food. That is if you are not careful and do not follow general safety rules around your pet snake. 

Do snakes recognize their owners?

No, snakes cannot recognize their owners. In time, they can get used to you, to your smell, they will tolerate you and accept you as a non-threatening creature. However, snakes are capable of “bonding” with humans. After all, they are wild animals, even if born in captivity. Their instinct is that of a predator. 



In this blog post, we answered the following question: Are snakes clean pets? We spoke about the advantages of having a snake as a pet, and how to keep your snake’s terrarium clean.

To summarize, yes, snakes are incredible clean pets. They do not have fur or wings to leave around, overall they are low maintenance. The only thing you will have to make sure is to keep their terrarium clean and do it the proper way.

Many times, proper sanitation of the terrarium is overlooked when it comes to taking care of personal hygiene and the health of your pet. Effective cleaning of your snake’s terrarium needs to be done to eliminate or reduce environmental pathological agents that are common in reptiles. 

If you have any questions or comments related to the content, please let us know!


Reptile Center – The Safe, Easy Way to Clean Terrarium Glass

Pet Coach – How to Clean and Disinfect Reptile Cages

Pet Barn – How to clean your reptile’s enclosure 

Animal city – How Often Should I Clean My Reptile’s Habitat?

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