To celebrate National Serpent Day on 1st February, we have put together a list of the species of snake that make the best pets for beginners or amateur exotic pet owners.

There are thousands of different species of snake across the world, ranging massively in size, length and strength. If you are thinking about getting a pet snake, the obvious thing to say is make sure you get a species that isn’t venomous. As well as this, you should consider their size, temperament and needs. We have put together a list of the top three snake species that make the best pets for first-time snake owners.

Corn Snake

The corn snake makes it to the top of our list, and is featured as the main image of this article. Corn snakes are a great choice for first-time snake owners due to their placid nature. They become used to being handled if done regularly, and from a young age. They are a popular choice, as they remain fairly small compared to other species that appear on this list (adult corns will grow to around 4.5ft-5ft long, with the females being bigger). It is recommended that they are kept in a 4ft vivarium – not too big to fit in the average home. The average lifespan of a healthy and thriving corn snake is between 15 and 20 years. Corn snakes are bred in a variant of colour variations including Lavendar, Caramel and Blizzard.

California King Snake

The California King Snake is the most popular pet snake in America, and the ‘California’ is a species type of the broader king snake family. Their striking black and white stripes make them a truly beautiful snake to look at. Adult king snakes grow to a maximum length of 6.5ft, but most reach an average of 5.5 ft. These snakes often live for over 20 years, so it is definitely a commitment to take on a hatchling. It is important to note that these snakes should be kept alone – they will, unfortunately, eat each other if housed together.

Milk Snake

The milk snake is a popular choice due to their beautiful colouring. They have a lovely stripe of cream, black and a bright red/orange. Milk snakes are a similar size to the two above snakes. Their temperament tends to be slightly more untamed, and they have a tendency to musk when handled. However, with regular handling from a hatchling, they should become tame. Milk snakes got their name from farmers believing these creatures would drink out of a cow’s udder – a complete myth, but the name has stuck.


If you are considering purchasing your first snake, it is extremely important that you carry out extensive research. You need to make sure you can give the snake the correct habitat and diet in able for it to thrive. Consult a reptile expert if you are uncertain on which snake species is the ideal one for you.

Rachel Smith
Rachel Smith is a huge animal lover and has always been passionate about the wellbeing of pets. She currently has a rescue dog, Stewie and a corn snake, Samson, but has experience of looking after various different pets over the years.

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