It’s definitely not easy keeping the world’s largest snake as a pet, but for very select experienced reptile owners, it can be a fascinating and rewarding experience! But is it even legal to keep anacondas? Can you have an anaconda as a pet?
Anacondas are not recommended as household pets, as they grow up to twenty feet long and 550 pounds and are able to kill humans. However, it is not illegal in many states to own an anaconda, and a pet industry does exist for them. Some states require a permit to own an anaconda.
With anaconda ownership legal almost everywhere in the U.S., this big snake might just be your new roommate! Wanting an anaconda and having the resources to keep one are two entirely different things. I would never recommend owning an anaconda unless you were very experienced and if you were you would not even be asking this question.
Limits on Anaconda Ownership
The biggest obstacle to having a pet anaconda is going to be money. The price of a live anaconda can range from a few hundred to nearly two thousand dollars in the U.S. That may seem like a lot for a single pet, but that’s just the beginning.
Anacondas require massive amounts of space to grow. Smaller species of anaconda like the yellow anaconda are more maintainable, but larger species like the green anaconda may need up to 100 square feet. Larger enclosures can cost thousands of dollars, and if your snake gets big enough, you may just want to convert an entire room into a home for them.
You Cannot Own Anacondas In All States
However, money and space aren’t the only hurdles to jump when getting a pet anaconda. Some states like Florida ban the selling and shipping of anacondas. The risk of a pet trade for anacondas is that many people will buy the animals without realizing how big they get or how difficult they are to keep and release their anaconda into the wild.
The problem is that in a tropical state like Florida the anaconda can actually survive and thrive. If multiple get released they can start to popular and become an invasive species. This is already a problem with many large pythons species in Florida.
Anacondas aren’t meant to live in the suburban jungles and may pose a threat to nearby wildlife. Some states have an all-out ban, but in some, a permit will let you keep these snakes. To get a permit, you’ll need to meet certain standards.
You’ll need to be licensed by the Animal Welfare Act, and if you’re buying your pet in the U.S., your supplier will also need to be licensed. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is in place to make sure exotic animals and animals shipped overseas are not dangerous or mistreated. They perform inspections on sellers and keepers of animals and make sure anyone handling exotic animals is following the standards set by the AWA.
Should People Own Anacondas
Is owning an anaconda worth it? While they aren’t the easiest pets, they certainly are cool! Snakes are beautiful animals and provide a thrilling experience, but that experience certainly isn’t for everybody. Anaconda ownership is not recommended for anyone without extreme reptile ownership experience.
Anacondas are not venomous and can be safely handled when they’re smaller. They have a tough reputation as a man-eater, but there are no confirmable records of anyone actually being eaten by an anaconda. Most humans are too big for anacondas, so a well-fed anaconda won’t target people. That said, a large anaconda would be capable of eating a person.
Even smaller species of anacondas can grow to be massive, so after a certain point, handling your anaconda will become nearly impossible. Because of these reasons, I think the vast vast majority of people should not own anacondas as pets. There are plenty of other large ( but not so large ) pythons and boas that make better pets.
In fact, you should check out my article best pythons and boas to be kept as pets. Many of these snakes still require knowledge and some experience but they are nothing compared to the world’s largest snake.
Anacondas can live for up to twenty years in captivity, so getting one as a pet is a long-term commitment that should be made carefully. So do you really want to care for a giant snake for 20 years?
Anacondas As Pets
Taking care of an anaconda is not easy. Anacondas naturally live in the hot, humid rainforest and spend a lot of their time in shallow water, so if you want a pet anaconda, you’ll need to provide it with a temperature-controlled environment and a pool of warm water to lounge in.
Snakes also like to have somewhere to hide to feel safer, so you will need to make sure there is somewhere your snake can hide away, like a log or rock formation. Like every pet, anacondas produce waste, and since they can’t be litter box trained, you’ll have to clean up snake waste to keep bacteria from growing in the enclosure.
Anacondas grow a lot, so just because the snake you bought was only a few feet long, that doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way. You’ll eventually need an extremely large enclosure that is very secure. As the snake gets bigger, it will start eating larger animals, but it also needs to eat less often.
99.99 Percent Of People Should Not Keep Anacondas As Pets
That said, I really do think that 99.999 percent of the population should not own anacondas. These snakes are simply too large and too hard for most people to care for. Anacondas can be dangerous and most people are not equipt for the task.
The end result often ends with someone ditching their large snake in the woods. That or perhaps having to give it to a Zoo or animal rescue. Many people think they can handle these large snakes as pets and become quickly overwhelmed. Or perhaps they have a change of heart when they have kids or a new partner that does not want a 20-foot snake in the house.