My teenager would like to get a pet snake. I am opposed to the idea, but am willing to consider the pros and cons before making the final decision. Can you help?
Shaky about Snakeys in Candlelight Plaza
Dear Shaky about Snakeys,
I completely understand your concern about bringing a snake into your home as a pet. The good news, though, is that — believe it or not — snakes can actually make good pets for those who are willing to take the time to research the topic and make an informed decision (like yourself!).
For a more comprehensive study on what it takes to have a snake as a pet, I turned to our friends at Texas A&M University’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to get the “lowdown” (pun intended) on snake ownership.
What type of snake to get?
The first place to start, when considering a snake as a pet, is to determine which breed of snake would be best for your family. Dr. Sharman Hoppes, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, has some suggestions on which breeds of snake make a suitable pet.
“Ball pythons, kingsnakes and corn snakes are great,” Hoppes said. “However, large boas and pythons do not make good pets for most people, due to their large size.”
Have a suitable habitat
One of the most important things to consider when researching a habitat for your pet snake is to make sure that it is escape-proof because, trust me, none of your friends will agree to come over for dinner if you’ve got a snake who likes to escape. This escape-proof habitat should also include appropriate warming lights to ensure that “Slytherin” is comfortable.
No need to be squeamish about feeding
The truth of the matter is that snakes eat small, furry things and there’s really no way around that. However, Hoppes discourages feeding pet snakes live prey.
“It is cruel to the prey animal and can also be dangerous to the snake,” Hoppes said. “The prey animal, if not killed quickly, can bite the snake. In some cases where the snake is not warm enough or is sick, the prey animal may even extensively chew on the snake.”
Frozen rodents are readily available for snakes in pet stores and online, so (thankfully) there’s no reason to worry about your children witnessing the “circle of life” right there in the living room.
Snakes can be fun pets who have distinct personalities. With a bit of research and forethought, bringing a pet snake into your home could be a wonderful addition to your household and provide hours of entertainment and education for the whole family.
Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at email@example.com.
Pet of the Week
Meet Noelle. This timid girl was dumped at the bayou and lived there for over a month before she was rescued. As you might expect, it’s hard to recover after a human has let you down, but Noelle is very sweet and is learning to trust again. Noelle is a Lab/Shepherd mix and about 2 years old. She would be perfect for a family who is willing to love her through her transition to a stable home life. To learn more, so to www.scoutshonor.org.