Wednesday, May 11, 2016

S is for Snake

Looking for a pet that doesn't cramp your style?  No walks, no litter box, no barking in the middle of the night?  Consider a snake to be your sidekick.   Most first time snake shoppers will simply pick out the one that appeals to them the most, visually. Looks are important, but there are other factors to be considered when deciding which may be the best for you.
Simply put, here are our 5 favorites for the first-time pet owner:

Ø  Corn Snake
Ø  California Kingsnake
Ø  Rosy Boa
Ø  Gopher Snake
Ø  Ball Python

Let's examine some important factors:  cost, size, health, temperament, feeding issues, color and breeding success. Some of these factors, (i.e. cost and size) may be very important to you, while others (breeding success and color morphs) may not matter at all.
Cost – Depending on the species, gender, color and age of your pet, you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $100 for our Top 5 picks.  The more colorful the snake, the more it will cost.  $10-$100 is the cost of the snake only!  Be prepared to spend more on an appropriate container, bedding, heat source, places to hide, etc. We did a little research and discovered starter kits in the $30-$40 range.
Size – There is no good size or bad size of snake, just make sure to purchase one that will fit your preference as an adult.
Health – Two factors come into play here: 1--you provide all necessary requirements and, 2--you drop the ball once in a while.  Simply put, some snakes are easier to care for, and can handle wider swings of consistency than others. If you don't think you can provide your pet with the best,  both you and the snake would be better off apart. However, a hardy pet will be more likely to survive, should you temporarily lose focus.

Temperament –Some snake species are gentle and easygoing;  others can be fearful and fussy.  Regular handling of your pet will help it become “civilized” but, in the beginning, be prepared for the occasional attempt to bite, escape or relieve themselves while being held.  Do your research up-front when picking a snake that will best meet your needs.
Feeding issues – Just like people, snakes demonstrate different eating habits.  Maybe you have the big eater, who think s that every time they see you, the mouth opens and it's dinner time.  Or maybe you've got the "gourmet" who stops eating altogether for a period of time.  Most of these issues resolve over time...don't panic!  
Colors – This one is pretty self-explanatory.  Using the above Top 5 list, we'd suggest Corn Snakes and Ball Pythons for the greatest variety. This factor may be important if you plan to breed your snakes at a later date.
Breeding success – Most of us buy a pet for companionship, but some of us have bigger plans.  Breeding can be a tough, especially if you have snakes that would rather eat each other than mate. Perhaps you have snakes that simply aren't interested.  Or breeding has produced eggs and now the babies won't eat!  We said it before and we'll keep saying it...Do The Research.  In this case, find the snake type that's noted for easy breeding. 
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