Snake ownership is growing in popularity, and owning a snake can be both fulfilling and educational. It’s an exciting animal that can open up doors of curiosity in the minds of both new owners and long time enthusiasts.
So, that begs the question: Just how much do snakes cost?
The good news is that compared to other popular animals, snakes have a relatively low cost of ownership. Well, at least most of the time.
Before owning a pet snake, you should be aware of all the costs that come along with the reptile. While the upfront cost of buying a pet snake is important, it is also key to consider the expense of long term maintenance.
Owning a pet snake is a long term commitment. Consequently, it’s important to take cost into consideration before buying one. Different species of pet snakes come along with ranging costs. Some snakes like Ball Pythons prefer warmer, more humid climates. Others, like Hognose Snakes, prefer more dry habitats.
With all of this in mind, you’ll need to know what the investment will be, an the cost to maintain and care for a pet snake.
Three Factors to Consider About Pet Snake Costs
There are three factors when considering how much it costs to own a pet snake:
- How much snakes cost to buy. Snakes cost money to purchase. Additionally, we recommend buying from a breeder. It is never a good idea to catch and captivate a wild snake.
- The cost of housing a pet snake. Be prepared to dish out a few hundred dollars to set up your snake’s terarrium. That said, there are cheaper and more cost effective solutions out there.
- How much a pet snake is to own. Also, you should consider the fixed costs of owning and maintaining a snake enclosure. Pet snakes require new bedding, enclosure sanitation, and more when it comes to cost of ownership.
- The cost of feeding a pet snake. Lastly, pet snakes have an ongoing cost of feeding. While it’s not much, you should still plan for it on a monthly basis.
How Much Do Snakes Cost to Buy?
The first step in understanding the total cost of snake ownership is how much the snakes cost to buy.
Now, the price of a snake greatly depends on what species and morph you decide to go with. Species are the actual type of snake, for example, a Ball Python or a Boa Constrictor. On the other hand, morphs are the different patterns and colors a certain species can portray.
In Most Cases, the average cost of a snake ranges from $30-$100.
The actual cost of a pet snake can range from $20 all the way up to $5,000+ dollars. Yes, you read that right: some enthusiasts will have to drop ten grand to acquire an extremely rare morph of a snake.
That said, most aspiring snake owners won’t have to dish out that much cash for their slithery pet. In most cases, the average cost of a snake ranges from $30-100 dollars.
Below, we will cover 5 common pet snakes and how much each costs. Plus, you’ll find out more about how different morphs can cost vastly more than the standard morph of certain species.
California King Snake Cost
California King Snakes (Lampropeltis californiae) are fairly common pet snakes, and can be found in many pet stores and from many snake breeders.
These snakes fall under the Rat Snake family. They are constrictors, and typically grow to be about 3.5-4 feet long at a maximum length. Consequently, California King Snakes are popular because they have a docile temper, don’t get too large, and are easy to maintain.
When it comes to morphs, there aren’t too many variations of California King Snake. Most will have the same color: chocolate brown, and creme white.
California King Snakes usually cost about $30-80 dollars on average. The cost of this pet snake mostly depends on where you buy them. Typically, owners will by from a breeder or a pet store.
That said, California King Snakes do typically have two distinct morph looks. One is pictured above, and has brown and creme bands all down the length of it’s body. The other morph has a solid brown body, with a single creme line going down the center of it’s back all the way from head to tail. Both morphs usually have a white underbelly.
As for cost, California King Snakes typically run about $30-$80 dollars. The cost of a California King Snake truly depends on where you buy it. Big box pet stores and pet stores in general will usually be more expensive.
We recommend buying from a local breeder, because the snake will often be cheaper and you can get better advice about ownership from an experienced breeder vs. a pet store.
How Much do Ball Pythons Cost?
The cost of a Ball Python (Python regius) varies greatly due to the amount of morphs that this species can have. Without a doubt, Ball Pythons have the biggest cost range compared to any other pet snake. They are one of the most common pet snakes, and can be found at almost any pet store that sells pet snakes.
Like California King Snakes, Ball Pythons are constrictors and grow to be about the same length: 3.5-4 feet long. That said, there is a big difference between Ball Pythons and other pet snakes given that they grow to be much wider/girthy.
Arguably, Ball Pythons are the most commonly owned pet snakes. The only other species that comes close is a Corn Snake, which we will cover below.
The typical pet snake cost of a standard Ball Python Morph (pictured above) usually ranges between $40-$80.
As mentioned above, Ball Pythons come in many different morphs. While the basic morph runs about $40-80 dollars, more rare morphs can get pretty pricey. Here are a few examples to give you an idea of the cost of a pet Ball Python.
How Much Do Different Ball Python Morphs Cost?
- Bumble Bee Ball Python Cost: ~$149. These ball pythons are yellowish with dark horizontal stripes and dots stretching down the length of their back.
- Albino Ball Python Cost: ~$179. Albino Pythons look similar to the standard morph pattern wise, but have a white base and yellow calico patterns covering their entire body.
- Blue Eye Leucistic Ball Python Cost: ~$349. These funky looking Ball Pythons don’t have any pattern at all. Their entire body looks albino white, with a slight pinkish hue. Plus, they have dark blue eyes, hint the name.
- GHI Mojave Ball Python Cost: ~$549. This unique looking Ball Python is the most expensive example in our list of morphs. It has a gray/light black base, with small yellow stripes going down the length of it’s spine. Also, this morph has lighter gray calico patterns throughout it’s body.
To review more prices of Ball Pythons, check out Snakes at Sunset.
How Much do Corn Snakes Cost?
Believe it or not, Corn Snakes are a type of Rat Snake native mostly to North America. The reason for their popularity is similar to the two aforementioned common pet snakes. Thus, Corn Snakes tend to grow to about 3-4 feet, and come in a variety of different morphs.
Basic Corn Snake Morphs typically cost between $20-$50 dollars, depending on where you buy them.
Additionally, Corn Snakes are very social and active. Oppositely, Ball tend to me more docile and reserved.
When it comes to the cost of a corn snake, the difference isn’t that far off from other options reviewed in this post. Common orange/brown corn snakes tend to be in the range of $20-$50 dollars. You’ll find that in most cases, Corn Snakes are the cheapest pet snakes to buy form reputable breeders and pet stores.
Unlike Ball Pythons, the cost of different Corn Snake morphs tends to be $150-$200 at the highest. Here are some examples of the costs of different pet Corn Snake morphs.
How Much Do Different Corn Snake Morphs Cost?
- Normal Corn Snake Cost: ~$29. A Normal Corn Snake morph is the most common of all the variations of morphs for this species. The color has gray and dark brown bands.
- Candy Cane Corn Snake Cost: ~$49. This morph has the same pattern as the above Normal morph, except the bands are light pinkish and an orange-brown color.
- Okeetee Tessera Corn Snake Cost: ~$99. This unique morph has a nice pattern to it. Like the above two, it has a calico/splochy pattern, but that is coupled with a solid line that stretches down it’s back. There are a ton of colors to this morph including: reddish-brown, light gray, creme-white, and dark brown.
- Coral Snow Corn Snake Cost: ~$149. The Coral Snow morph is one of the most expensive Corn Snake Morphs, yet it only comes in at around $150 bucks. All things considered that’s not a bad price at all. Especially compared to some of the more expensive Ball Python morphs. This morph has a similar design and pattern as the Normal morph, except it has a white base with light pink bands. Oh, and it has red eyes, too. That’s pretty neat.
Hognose Snake Cost to Purchase
Eastern and Western Hognose snakes (Heterodon Nasicus) are another great beginner snake that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. That said, they typically cost more than Corn Snakes. Now, be wary of what type of Hognose Snake you buy if you choose to get one. Rule of thumb, stick with either Eastern or Western species.
Madagascar Hognose Snakes grow to be fairly large, and should be reserved for more experienced snake owners.
Basic Eastern or Western Hognose Snake Morphs will usually cost around $60-$80 depending on where you choose to buy them.
On the contrary, Eastern and Western Hognose Snakes usually only grow between 2-3 feet. So, if you’re looking for a pet snake on the smaller side, this is a great choice.
Like Corn Snakes and Ball Pythons, this species has several different morphs that ranges from ~$59 all the way up to ~$499. They also look pretty unique, too. Their snout is turned upward, and they have a shovel shaped head for burrowing into the sand/dirt.
Below, you’ll find some examples of different kinds of Hognose Snake morphs and how much each one costs
How much Do Different Pet Hognose Snake Morphs Cost?
- Speckled Hognose Snake Cost: ~$99. This Hognose Snake morph is mostly brown, and has no distinct large patterns. That said, each scale has a bit of a small ring around it and it that gives off a speckled appearance, hence the name of the morph.
- Anaconda Phase Hognose Snake Cost: ~$149 When it comes to cool designs, this morph nearly takes the cake. The design is really cool and looks sort of like desert army camouflage. The base color of the snake is light tan, and it has a spotted dark brown pattern going down both it’s sides and back.
- SuperAnaconda Phase Hognose Snake Cost: ~$399. Now, we are not sure why this Hognose Snake costs nearly half a grand. It does look really cool, though. It has a gray, solid color that fades and gets a little light from it’s back to belly. Also, the design on the head of this morph is really neat – almost like a little helmet.
The Average Cost of Green Tree Pythons
Green Tree Pythons are one of my favorite snakes. They are beautiful, exotic, and downright cool to look at. That said, this is not a great beginner pet snake.
Only more advanced and seasoned pet owners should purchase a Green Tree Python.
Along with them being more difficult to own, Green Tree Pythons tend to be much more costly than other snakes on this list. Plus, it costs more to get the right setup for a Green Tree Python, because they have certain specifications to consider.
The cost to own a pet Green Tree Python is much higher than any other snake on this list. You usually will find these snakes to cost in the $300-$500 range.
As you can see in the picture above, they coil up and hang on branches. A Green Tree Python enclosure will have to accommodate a lot of places for them to climb.
As for price, the typical cost of a Green Tree Python usually ranges from $300 dollars to $500 dollars. See? These are not the most wallet friendly pet snakes to own because of their high cost.
Green Tree Python pet snake cost also varies with the different morphs that they come in. Below are some examples of how much the snake costs depending on what morph it comes in.
How Much Do Different Green Tree Python Morphs Cost?
- Red Biak Snake Cost: ~$299. This morph is the cheapest one we could find, and at nearly $300, it’s no bargain compared to some of the above snakes. The Red Biak morph is a rust red color with yellow spots down the spine of the Python.
- Adult Aru Green Tree Python Cost: ~$399. This is the classic Green Tree Python morph. It’s the version pictured above. When it comes to looks this morph has a bright green color with small white-ish spots down it’s back.
- Kofaui x Merauke Green Tree Python Snake Cost: ~$599. This is the most expensive Green Tree Python morph we could find. It’s very unique, and therefore very expensive. This morph as a solid, bright yellow base color with a really cool black and white pattern throughout it’s body.
The Cost of a Pet Snake Enclosure Setup
Now that you have an idea of how much it costs to buy a pet snake, let’s get into what you’ll need to buy it’s enclosure. There are several different types of enclosures, ranging from high-end expensive to very cheap and DIY.
Depending on the species, there are different components to a snake enclosure that need to be considered.
Read on to find out more about how much it will cost to buy the base enclosure, and the other parts of an enclosure that you may need to buy if you’re looking to purchase a pet snake.
Cost of a Pet Snake Enclosure: From Cheap DIY to Expense High-End
Curious about how much it costs to own a pet snake? Snake Enclosures have a higher startup/upfront cost, and relatively low ongoing “maintenance” costs.
Be prepared to dish out a few hundred bucks to get started. All in all, you’re looking at a total cost of about $100 on the low end and $400 on the high end to set up your snake’s enclosure. Also, plan for about ~$20-30 dollars a month to feed your snake and maintain it’s enclosure.
High End Pet Snake Enclosure Cost: New Snake Terrarium
This is a typical “higher end” snake enclosure that you can buy for your pet snake. It is the most costly option of the three we recommend.
That said, we recommend this option as it is the most versatile and can accommodation most species of common pet snakes.
Even though it’s a higher price, this snake enclosure is great for a number of reasons:
- You get what you see. No need to worry about sizing, rigging up a old aquarium, or too much DIY.
- It’s easy to clean and opens from the front. This snake enclosure was designed for reptiles. Thus, it is much easier to maintain and manage compared to the other options we will cover below.
- It’s the most visually appealing option for a snake enclosure. If you want to jazz up your snake’s enclosure or make it a centerpiece of a room, buying a new enclosure is the way to go.
Mid-Range Snake Enclosure Cost: Converting an Old Fish Aquarium
Converting an old fish aquarium for a pet snake tank takes two easy steps. First, you’ll need to deep clean and sanitize the aquarium and let it dry out.
Second, you’ll need to buy a mesh top like the one pictured above. They are typically pretty cheap, and you can find them for most standard size aquarium tanks.
Now, the big contingent for this option is that you have to have an old aquarium laying around somewhere for it to be a cost effective pet snake enclosure.
If you don’t have one, or can’t get one for cheap on Craigslist or something, then you may as well write this option off.
Otherwise, if you’re trying to save some cash, then this option may be best for you. It will likely take a bit more work to find a good deal on an old fish tank if you don’t already have one, though.
Cheap, Low Cost Snake Enclosure Option: The Plastic Container
Ahh, yes. The plastic tub option. It may seem a bit strange at first, but most breeders and experienced collectors house their snakes in plastic tubs just like this one.
Now, you’ll need to take some precautions here. These tubs aren’t for every snake, especially if you plan on keeping your pet snake for a long time. Truthfully, breeders use these so frequently because they don’t plan on having their snakes for too long. Usually, they keep many juvinille snakes in these enclosures.
If you’re in a pinch, a plastic container like this or a smaller one could be a good, temporary start for your pet snake.
The don’t cost much, and are more than suitable for many beginner pet snakes. For the long term, we do suggest exploring other snake cage options, as they are better for snakes in the long run.
Other Costs of Setting Up Pet Snake Enclosure
Substrate (or Bedding)
Every pet snake needs some kind of substrate, and it all costs money. There are some cheaper options, but it’s fairly inconsequential regarding how much it costs. That said, if you want to be more price savvy or have many different snake enclosures you need to keep up with, there are cheaper options out there.
First, the cheapest option of substrate: shredded newspaper. If you have a bunch of old newspapers on a regular basis, we have good news. You have a great opportunity for a cheap substrate for your pet snake. Simply shred up the newspaper in quarter inch wide, 3-4 inch long strands.
The other option for substrate will cost about $20-30 dollars every few months. The best option for your snake is likely a coconut substrate. It’s large enough so your snake won’t ingest it, and it’s odorless.
Another key component that you’ll need to consider from a pet snake cost standpoint is a snake hide. First, most snakes will need a hide or some kind of structure they can hide away under.
You can find hides in just about any pet store, or you can buy them on amazon. Here are some different options if you want to explore further.
Lastly, snake hides don’t cost a lot at all. It’s a smaller expense when it comes to owning a pet snake, but we figured we would mention it so you can be prepared as possible.
Like any animal, snakes need water to live. Consequently, water bowls are a key necessity to a pet snake’s enclosure. Like a hide, water bowls don’t cost all too much.
Be sure you get a water bowl large enough for your pet snake. The reason is because they like to take a little bath when it comes time to shed their skin. In essence, the water bowls help pet snakes stay hydrated and promotes a healthy shedding process.
Of course, you’ll need a heat source for your pet snake. They don’t cost a whole lot, and depending on the species, you either need to get a heat source with a light or some kind f reptile heating pad.
Be sure you know what the best heat source for the species you choose before buying one, though.
Another thing to consider when it comes to how much pet snakes costs and heating sources: a temperature gauge. For most species, you’ll need to know how hot the enclosure is, and you’ll need to have two differently heated areas of the terrarium.
Humidifier or Dehumidifier
Lastly, depending on the type of snake you get and the area you live in, you may need to invest in a either a dehumidifier or a humidifier for reptile tanks. There are a lot of good options out there, and every snake is a little different when it comes to the level of humidity they prefer.
Check Price of Reptile Humidifiers
What Pet Snakes Cost to Feed
Finally, we are wrapping up this in depth guide on how much pet snakes cost to own. The last expense you’ll need to know about before owning a pet snake is how much it costs to feed them on an ongoing basis.
Now, there are two options of feeding when it comes to just about every pet snake:
- Live Mice. These guys cost anywhere from $2-$10 depending on the size and where you get them from. Frankly, we recommend against live mice because they are kind of a hassle to deal with. Plus, they end up being a more expensive and cumbersome way to feed your pet snake.
- Frozen Mice. Frozen Mice can be ordered online, and you can get just about any size mouse available in bulk and on Amazon. This is absolutely the way to go. Usually, it’s a cheaper option than live mice, and it’s far easier to manage than the previous option. You can buy them in bulk, keep them in your freezer, and you’ll only have to worry about restocking them every few months.
Bottom Line Cost of Owning a Snake
If you’re like most first time snake owners, you’re likely going to get a basic snake morph. That will cost you around $40-80 dollars.
A terrarium will likely cost somewhere between $100-400 dollars, depending on what type of setup you plan on having and if you already have a usable aquarium.
Lastly, it will cost about $20-30 a month for general maintenance and feeding. Some of these costs include: electricity for heating pad, cleaning the cage, frozen mice, and replacing substrate/bedding.
Overall, if you’re stating fresh, you’re looking at a start up cost of about $180-$500 to buy and own a snake.
All in all, it’s not that expensive to own a pet snake, especially when compared to the cost of owning a dog. It’s a much cheaper alternative for a pet, and they make great companions.
So, are you ready to take the plunge into snake ownership?
- Do Ball Pythons Bite? Learn everything you need to know about how to treat a Ball Python Bite, and whether or not it’s very painful.
- Best Snake Cage Guide. Learn about the best snake enclosures available, and which size you’ll need for various lengths of pet snakes.
- Three Small Pet Snake Ideas. Find out which small pet snakes will actually stay small.