In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Why you shouldn’t own a snake? We give you 5+ reasons why you should never buy a snake and what to take into account before deciding to acquire a snake as a pet.
Why you shouldn’t own a snake?
Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t own a snake:
- It’s a dirty business.
Breeders sell animals in droves and most reptiles are snatched from their natural habitats by a lucrative industry that treats sensitive and fragile animals with as little care as if they were the parts of a car. During a PETA investigation of a California distributor called Global Captive Breeders, snakes and other reptiles were so neglected that, in many cases, even their deaths went unnoticed. The enclosures were crammed with decaying corpses crawling with worms.
- Snakes have specific needs.
While dealers looking to make a profit can minimize what reptiles need, snakes require spectrum lighting and precise diets. They avoid contact with humans, and being held, touched, caressed, or passed from one place to another is stressful and makes them susceptible to illness and injury. And since snakes don’t whine, scream, or flinch, wounds can go unnoticed and untreated.
- It is a killing cycle.
Snakes eat rabbits, mice, and crickets, animals that you will have to buy from a pet store, further promoting the industry.
- Captivity is cruel.
Instead of exploring lush jungles and swamps, and experiencing all the sensory pleasures to which they are so deeply in tune, captive snakes are relegated to aquariums in which they cannot even stretch their entire body, much less move or climb.
- Mortality through the roof.
A study published by the UK’s Royal Society of Biology found that at least 75 percent of pets that are snakes, lizards, and tortoises die in less than a year in a human household. Most of these newly acquired animals are believed to die from captivity-related stress.
“Must-have pets” quickly become an inconvenient burden. Most snakes end up being ignored and neglected in dark basements or garages. And many are simply discarded out as garbage, left to starve, from exposure to weather conditions or from predation, and those that survive can wreak havoc on local ecosystems.
Please never buy a snake or any other animal from a pet store and ask your friends and family not to support this deadly industry either.
What to take into account before deciding to acquire a snake
Where are you going to keep the snake?
While they can be kept in small terrariums when they are juvenile, these snakes still reach a meter as an adult. As we will see in the section dedicated to its Terrarium, it can take up space.
Once an adult, a minimum is a 90cm terrarium. 1.20m or more is better so that it can fully expand into it. Imagine constantly living in a room that is too small for you. It will therefore be necessary to take into account the place to put your terrarium.
The time aspect
A snake doesn’t take a long time. You should change the water once a day at best, every other day at worst. On average, you will give one mouse per week, and every two weeks as an adult. Even if it takes a little time as such, make sure you have that minimum time to devote to it.
Many individuals resell their snakes for lack of time, which may be due to a poor initial assessment of the animal’s basic needs. But don’t be afraid you won’t have time to handle it, the snake doesn’t care! These animals tolerate handling but do not appreciate it. So there is no problem not handling a snake, terrariums are above all a passion for observation.
Do you have the budget to take care of a snake?
Daily maintenance of the snake is inexpensive. Once all the materials are purchased, you will only have a few mice to purchase, and some substrate for the bottom of the terrarium every now and then during the quarterly cleaning.
However, this represents a significant initial investment. To get started, you will need a terrarium, a heating mat, a thermostat, the substrate, and everything else. This can quickly amount to several hundred euros. So make sure you have the means to acquire all the equipment essential to the good life of your snake. The detailed equipment is explained on the dedicated page.
The holiday aspect
Once an adult, your Pantherophis guttatus will only need one mouse every 15 days, or even every month. So it will be a little problem to go on vacation in most cases.
However, there are other daily needs that must be met: change the water every 2 days maximum, and remove the feces. Both of these steps are important as they could adversely affect the health of your snake. The different health problems that can be encountered, their causes, and solutions are presented on the Health page.
So you need to have someone you trust who is not afraid of snakes to do this interview. Some specialized shops offer a babysitting service for your animal. This may be a solution, but there must be such a structure near you, and this can lead to significant quick costs. So take this aspect into account before purchasing your Pantherophis guttatus.
How much do you know about snakes?
Do you know everything you need to take care of your pet? This site is designed to give you as much information as possible, which you may be able to supplement with other sites, or with research on forums. But before taking an animal, make sure you have all the necessary knowledge to keep it, otherwise, you risk giving it poor living conditions and harming it.
If you have no problem with all of these points, you are ready to have your snake. You can consult the “Buy your snake” section for advice on choosing it, and where to look for it.
If not, resolve the sticking points first. If some issues are unsolvable, you may need to consider turning to another animal, be it a reptile, mammal, or bird. Each species has different needs, you just have to find the one that suits you best.
If you want to buy a snake for a child
Does your child want a snake? Personally, I don’t recommend buying a snake as a pet for a young child. From 14-16 years old, when they are aware of the animal’s needs, why not, many enthusiasts start very young. But it must be a passion, not a whim or a sudden urge.
In addition to all the points discussed above, it should be taken into account that a snake is mostly observed, but it is a less active animal than a mammal. In addition, your child will not be able to bond with him, there is no emotional relationship with a reptile.
Finally, snakes are not tame, we can not teach them anything, unlike some monitor lizards for example. Thus, a child may quickly tire of having a snake, since apart from feeding it and watching it, he will not be able to do anything with it.
A reptile, depending on the species, lives 5 to 60 years for a Hermann turtle for example! A corn snake can live 15-20 years in captivity. Do you or your child think you are willing to be interested in this animal for so long?
If the answer is no, do not take a reptile. There is no point in risking having to resell the animal after barely a year or even a few weeks or months. An animal is a living being, a responsibility, not an object.
Snakes are fascinating creatures that can be fantastic pets. Even if they are not as affectionate or even if they cannot be caressed in the same way as a dog or a cat, they can be very docile and can form an extremely special relationship or relationship with their owners. However, snakes are not ideal pets for everyone. They need special care, have their own needs, and should not be chosen by those who are not yet ready for their growth.
Before making the decision to buy a snake as a pet, it is important to research the types of snakes that exist. You must take into account their demands, their particular needs, but also the dangers to which you are exposed when you take care of them. You also need to make sure that the environment in which the snake grows is clean and safe.
Whatever type of snake you want, you need to keep it in a secure enclosure with no gaps or open areas through which the snake could escape. A glass structure such as a terrarium is ideal. Because snakes love to hide, you should make a bed in each corner of the terrarium, for example – a box or a tree bark construction – that is not too big, but the size of the coiled snake. On the floor, you can put newspapers (simpler version) or pine or poplar bark (more attractive version), but in no case sand or earth.
Snakes do not feed on vegetables, they feed on small animals (mice or rats). An important thing: in many countries it is illegal for snakes to be fed live animals, requiring the pre-killing of prey or the purchase of frozen animals and their thawing before feeding. You need to know one thing: it is extremely dangerous to feed the snake before and after molting. Most snakes are carnivores, some are insectivores, their diet is quite simple.
Even though snakes require only a minimum of maintenance, which consists of cleaning the place where they live, snakes are just like other animals when it comes to their food health. It is very important to understand the eating habits of the pet you want to choose and decide if it is for you.
If you have questions or comments on the content, please let us know!
FAQ on Why you shouldn’t own a snake?
Are female or male snakes better?
Neither female nor male snakes are better in terms of temperament. There is no real difference, except in between species. However, when buying a snake you should take into consideration that in some species female snakes get bigger and they may need some special care (such as feeding them more often) while carrying eggs.
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.
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.
Grant, R. A., Montrose, V. T., & Wills, A. P. (2017). ExNOTic: Should We Be Keeping Exotic Pets?. Animals: an open-access journal from MDPI, 7(6), 47
Robinson, J. E., St John, F. A., Griffiths, R. A., & Roberts, D. L. (2015). Captive Reptile Mortality Rates in the Home and Implications for the Wildlife Trade. PloS one, 10(11), e0141460.
Warwick C, Jessop M, Arena P, Pliny A, Nicholas E, Lambiris A. Future of keeping pet reptiles and amphibians: animal welfare and public health perspective. Vet Rec. 2017 Oct 28;181(17):454-455.