Snakes can be a fun and exciting pet for kids. However, choosing the most suitable and best type of pet snake is something parents need to consider. After all, not all snakes make good pets for kids because they are either too large, hard to handle, or hard to care for.
After all, you do not want your child starting their snake adventure with a pet snake not suitable for kids. So if you looking into getting a pet snake for you kid then keep reading. We will discuss my top 9 best pet snakes for kids and give you a little detail into how to care for them.
#1 Corn Snake: The Best Overall Pet Snake For Kids
Only growing up to about 3-six feet in length, corn snakes are a bit longer than most snakes on this list. That said, they are not bulky snakes so a 6-foot corn snake might not look as large as you might think. They are often recommended as the best pet snake for kids and first-time snake owners.
- With small teeth, corn snakes are harmless and easy to handle.
- Since corn snakes can live up to 23 years or more in captivity, you can expect a pet corn snake to be around for a long time.
- Corn snakes are much more docile than most snakes and are great for appropriately aged kids and beginners.
Despite their name, Corn Snakes are not yellow, but instead a darker orange and brown color.
Habitat For A Corn Snake
Perfect housing for a Corn snake is a forty-gallon aquarium tank, but you want to ensure the tank lid clamps down tightly as Corn Snakes will start hunting for an escape route. Though they can be housed in a 20-30 gallon tank, I generally just advise going for a forty-gallon just in case you get a larger-sized corn snake.
It is best to provide spots along the substrate of your habitat to allow them to curl up unseen. A small cardboard box or pieces of bark they can squirm beneath is perfect.
Are Corn Snakes Friendly With Kids?
Generally a docile reptile, a Corn snake will rattle its tail like a rattlesnake when frightened. Remember, they need time to acclimate to their new environment. That being said, they are easy-going and easier to read than other snakes.
Corn snakes need to be fed whole pre-killed, frozen mice thawed to room temperature. Remember how a Corn Snake got its name. Corn granaries attract mice, and mice attract their number one predator, snakes.
While thawing out dead, frozen mice may not be on your top-ten list of things to do; you will not have to do it that much. A growing Corn snake usually requires feeding twice a week.
An adult snake only needs prey about once every ten days, and as it grows, the size of the food needs to grow with it. The best way to determine the size of the food source is it should be no larger than the Corn snake’s head.
Most, if not all, snakes are susceptible to fungal infections and respiratory issues. When feeding or spending some quality time with your Corn snake, you need to check for any skin discolorations or persistent open-mouthed breathing.
#2 Gopher Snake: Cool Looking And Typically Docile Pet Snake For Kids
Unlike some snakes, gopher snakes are relatively harmless unless threatened. Because of their more docile nature they can be a great pet snake for kids.
- At the beginning, a gopher snake may take some time to get acclimated to the environment.
- Gopher snakes that are born into captivity are easy to handle for kids.
Gopher snakes are a great option if you want a docile snake that is easy to have around kids. I would recommend looking for a captive-bred gopher snake from a breeder. Of course, I would actually recommend this for any pet reptile.
One of the more common pets based on availability is the Gopher snake. Although you may find one in your backyard, it is best to provide your beginner pet owner one born or raised in captivity.
Gopher snakes love average humidity and a dry climate. Still, they are cold-blooded creatures, so you will want to provide them at least twelve hours of light and the ability to warm and cool themselves. A Zilla heating pad on one end will do the trick.
A Gopher snake is more active depending on the floor space, so it is best to consider an enclosure of four or five feet. Since a Gopher loves to move quite a lot, the more space you can provide them, the better, making them a fantastic reptile display.
Are Gopher Snakes Friendly With Kids?
A Gopher snake born into captivity is typically docile and will let the pet owner pick it up and hold it. However, a Gopher snake will continue to move while being held, so your child needs to practice switching hands to keep a grip ( loosely ) on it since the snake is a bad climber.
One thing a Gopher snake has over almost all other snakes of the pet variety is its appetite. A Gopher snake will eat practically any type of prey and can be easily overfed. Here again, pre-killed frozen mice once thawed are the perfect meal of the week for a Gopher snake.
Gopher snakes are generally low-maintenance, although they do require a moist environment when shedding or molting. Teach your child to watch for signs of annual shedding and keep damp paper towels in one of the snake’s hide boxes.
#3 Garter Snake: An Underrated Pet Snake For Kids
Known for their small to medium size and prevalence in North America, Garter snakes are common pet snakes for kids. In fact, I had one for a while as a kid that I actually caught. However, I would suggest sourcing one from a pet store instead. Wild caught snakes can have a long list of problems as pets.
- Garter snakes are generally harmless and easy to have around kids.
- These snakes are small and not poisonous.
Some species of Garter snake produce a mild neurotoxin, but this does not have any effect on humans and is generally used against small prey they eat as food.
Because of their size, Garter snakes can be housed in something as small as a ten-gallon terrarium. That said, I would still probably recommend a 20-gallon just to play it safe. Another commonality the Garter snake shares with all snakes is the need to hide.
One drawback when choosing a Garter snake is that it will make more of a mess in its habitat because it eats more frequently, requiring more frequent cleanings.
Garter Snake Temperament With Kids
Because of their size, Garter snakes are generally easier to handle and are an excellent choice for the beginning snake owner. Garters are typically docile and almost always refrain from biting when held. Because of this, they are a great pet snake for kids.
A Garter snake does, however, have a few habits. Although they are not biters, they will frequently emit a toxic smelling musk or urinate or defecate on the handler’s hand when irritated. So make sure you and your child keep up with sanitation and that you supervise handling.
Providing food and water for Garter snakes is a plus. Since they do not require rodents as a food source, you and your new pet owner are off the hook when it comes time to thaw out pre-killed frozen mice. That said, small rodents are a more complete source of food if they will eat them.
Garter snakes of the same species can cohabitate without a problem which means your young snake charmer can house several of them in the same habitat and provide a more active display.
#4 Ball Python: The Best Pet Python For Kids
As docile and small for a python, ball pythons are one of the best snakes to have as a pet. Personally, they would be my number one pick on this list. But because they are a bit larger than other snakes for kids on this list, I have them in the #4 spot.
- Due to their size, these snakes are easy to handle compared to other python species and make wonderful companions for kids.
- Ball pythons received their name because they are known for curling into a tight ball to stay warm and comfortable.
- Ball pythons come in many different morphs that are just beautiful.
Since Ball pythons are extremely docile, they are great pet snakes for most kids. Of course, even though they are small for pythons, they are still the largest snake on this list. Though they are very common as pets they come in so many unique morphs and color patterns.
The Ball Python grows three to five feet long, so if you have not purchased a habitat yet, a 40-50 gallon aquarium with a lid that snaps securely in place is perfect.
Ensure your Ball Python habitat contains a minimum of two hide boxes, one on the cool side and one on the warm or basking side. You will be able to manage both sides of the habitat temperature with incandescent lighting.
Ball Python Temperament With Kids
Ball Pythons are easily scared. When frightened, it tucks its head beneath its body coil, resembling the shape of a ball.
With the Ball Python, your child will need to learn a bit of patience as the snake is typically shy around humans. Once it acclimates, your child should be able to spend hours with it while your aspiring Herpetologist gently strokes its skin as it wraps around your child’s arm.
One thing about a Ball Python you will soon discover is that it is a picky eater. Ball Pythons are known to go months without eating.
Because they prefer rodents as a food source, you will need to feed them thawed pre-killed frozen mice and rats.
The Ball Python is susceptible to fungal infections such as mouth rot and respiratory problems. This particular snake might require routine examinations every six to twelve months by a veterinarian specializing in treating reptiles.
#5 Milk Snake: Beautiful Tri Colored Pet Snake For Kids
With a lifespan of up to 22 years, a Milk Snake is an easy-to-maintain pet to have. Though not that you or your child might be caring for them long after your kid is out of the house.
- Milk snakes are uniquely colored snakes with many different colorations and patterns.
- Milk snakes have small curved teeth that help them swallow prey that is not as painful compared to the average snake.
Like other great snake pets, milk snakes are small and easy to handle, only growing up to approximately two to six feet.
A Milk or Kingsnake will do its best to escape the confines of its new home. While a hatchling can be housed in a ten-gallon terrarium, a healthy Milk Snake will grow to as much as sixty inches long.
Since a constricted space is often the lead cause of respiratory issues, it is best to start with a lot of space and let it grow into its environment. A sixty-gallon tank may seem like overkill, but it would be a solid choice for a full-grown milksnake.
One hiding box needs to be located on the basking side, where the temperature range should be around seventy to eighty degrees Fahrenheit. On the cooler side, which should be ten to fifteen degrees less, put another hide-box in place.
Milk Snakes traditionally do not require a lot of humidity. If you have a hygrometer, keep the moisture level somewhere between forty and sixty percent.
Are Milk Snakes Friendly With Kids?
The trick with most Milk Snakes is giving them ample time to get used to their environment and your child’s handling them. When a Milk Snake feels threatened, its first reaction is to flee, and like the Corn Snake, it will rattle its tail as a warning.
Fair warning however, is that milk snakes are known to bite at times. However, it is unlikely to cause much damage but does need to be cleaned and sanitized.
Milk and King Snakes usually eat less during the fall and winter, but a good rule of thumb is to feed a hatchling twice a week and a mature adult Milk Snake once a week. Like most of the best pet snakes, frozen pre-killed rodents are the regular culinary dish.
Milk Snakes are known to get pneumonia or a cold and should be checked by a professional specializing in reptile veterinarian services routinely.
#6 Kenyan Sand Boa: Best Pet Boa Constrictor For Kids
If you are looking for the best beginner snake for kids, then a Kenyan Sand Boa is a good choice.
- These snakes only grow up to two feet long and can be frequently handled, making them ideal for kids.
- Despite their name, Kenyan Sand Boa’s do not need to live in the sand, but do easily blend in the sand with their mix of brown, bright yellow, and orange colored scales.
Compared to other boas bought as pets, these snakes are some of the smallest boa kept in households across the world.
While the Kenyan Sand Boa is probably one of the best snakes for the beginner, the enclosure is unique from all the others. A Kenyan Sand Boa is a burrower, meaning that it loves to spend time beneath the enclosure’s substrate.
While it may be wise to provide a hide box or two, the burrowing nature of a Kenyan Sand Boa means you will need to provide a sufficient supply of things on the floor of the enclosure for the snake to hide beneath.
As the snake prefers its heat and cooling from beneath, you should also consider using substrate heating beneath the enclosure.
Kenyan Sand Boa Temperament With Kids
The Kenyan Sand Boa and your child will hit it off famously from the start as long as your child remembers how to approach and hold it. After several attempts, the Kenyan Sand Boa will likely figure out your child is not a threat and allow the child to hold it.
Stock up on pre-killed, frozen mice and be prepared to thaw them out every ten to fourteen days for feeding sessions once they reach adulthood.
One of the best aspects of the Kenyan Sand Boa is that it requires very little maintenance, and many of the snakes have been known to live for almost thirty years.
You may need to clean their enclosure a little more often and provide more places to burrow, but generally, the Kenyan Sand Boa is a perfect choice for the beginner.
#7 Children’s Python: Great Small Sized Python For Kids
If you wondering what are the best pet snakes for kids, then you might want to check out the children’s python. Only growing up to three feet long, the Children’s Python stays true to its name and is an amazing pet for children.
- These snakes are known for swallowing small prey and usually stay low on the ground, but can climb trees.
- Children’s Pythons are non-venomous and pose no serious threat to humans.
If you are looking for a pet for your child, then the Children’s Python is an excellent choice.
The range of the Children’s Python natural habitat spans grassy wetlands and forests. Arrange your enclosure with the best of both worlds, such as shrubbery, branches, and hide boxes on both sides.
Humidity is important. The Children’s Python requires a basic humidity level of between fifty and sixty percent. Construct your enclosure with a cool side at seventy to eighty degrees and a basking side of around eighty to ninety degrees.
Children’s Python Temperament With Kids
While the Children’s Python is typically gentle and rarely bites, it does not like to be touched on the head. Aside from that, a Children’s Python is docile and tame once the child learns how to hold it properly.
The Children’s Python’s food of choice is mice or larger rats. When growing Children’s Python eats about once a week while you should feed the adult a large rat or mouse every ten to fourteen days.
If you notice black specks in the snake’s water container, your snake may be mite-infested. If you see them, it is time for a visit to a specialized veterinarian.
#8 Rosy Boa: Beautiful Great Sized Boa For Kids
Due to their docile nature and small size, Rosy Boas make great pets for kids.
- These snakes come in many different colors, including light brown, yellow, orange, and tan.
- The stripes of a Rosy Boa can be rusty orange, brown, black, or maroon.
There are also albino Rosy Boas that have a peachy color with an orange stripe, which are mesmerizing to look at for kids.
With a life span of almost thirty years, the Rosy Boa is another example of an excellent pet for the beginner. Growing to nearly four feet as an adult, the Rosy Boa is quite comfortable in a ten or fifteen-gallon terrarium for some time. However, I would recommend a 30-40 gallon for an adult.
Ensure the lid is secured but smooth. A Rosy will test the top of the enclosure with its snout searching for a way out, and if the cover is rough, it will suffer abrasion to its snout.
Split the enclosure with a temperature gradient from sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit on the cooler side to 90 degrees Fahrenheit on the basking side. Remember to provide plenty of hiding spaces as, just like all snake pets, the Rosy Boa is a hider.
Is the Rosy Boa Friendly With Kids?
A Rosy Boa has a strong response when it wants to feed, so you need to instruct your child how and when to pick the snake up. Gently nudge the snake with an object that is not food and then pick it up. Doing this tells the snake it is not feeding time.
The Rosy Boa food choice is large and small rodents such as mice or rats. While an adult Rosy Boa requires feeding every 10-14 days.
During the winter months, cooler temperatures inhibit the Rosy Boa digestive process. Leaving undigested food in the intestinal tract of a Rosy Boa will bring about severe consequences and even death.
Although the Rosy Boa makes an excellent starter pet, it does have some unique care conditions that may require your child to spend more time with it.
#9 African House Snake: Another Underrated Pet Snake For Kids
Usually a dark brown color, African House snakes are great pet snakes for kids.
- African House snakes are cool-looking snakes.
- These snakes grow up to four and a half feet long.
You will need to be patient with African House snakes at the beginning, but they become more docile as time passes.
Like most pets excellent for children, the African House Snake requires specific humidity and temperatures to live in captivity comfortably. African House Snakes love to climb and bask in the sun, so you will want to fill your enclosure with plenty of branches and hide boxes on both the cool and warm side of the enclosure.
With the African House Snake, you can concentrate on the basking side, keeping it at around ninety degrees Fahrenheit, but the cooling side can go as low as seventy degrees. Also, the African House Snake does not require high humidity, so anywhere from around thirty to fifty percent will keep it happy and content.
Are African House Snakes Friendly With Kids?
At a young age, the African House Snake may be more prone to bite, but they typically settle down and, with continued handling, are the most docile of snakes.
You want to make sure the African House Snake does not mistake one of your fingers for food. Plus, you do not want them regurgitating their food because you did not wait long enough.
The African House Snake appreciates freshly thawed, pre-killed mice or rats to eat in keeping with tradition. Immature African House Snakes require feeding twice a week, while the adults need food once a week.
A perfect snake for the beginner, an African House Snake loves water, so teach your child to clean out the water enclosure and fill it with fresh non-chlorinated water daily.
Like most pet snakes, the African House Snake is susceptible to various diseases such as mouth rot and respiratory issues.
Both are usually treatable, so keep a sharp lookout for puffy redness around the mouth and your pet struggling with open mouth breathing. You will want your pet snake to hang around with you for many years to come.