Three Small Pet Snakes That Actually Stay Small

I became obsessed with snakes when I was a young teenager. The first time I went shopping for a pet snake, I had no idea what I wanted. Luckily, I ended up with a California King Snake; a breed known not to get too large.

Funny thing, I almost accidentally bought an anaconda. The baby anaconda in the pet store was so friendly and at the time, a small snake. That wouldn’t be the case several years down the road.

This short story is what inspired me to write this post about the best small pet snakes. Typically, the best beginner pet snakes tend to be small — there are some exceptions to that, though.

If you’re in the market for a small pet snake for either you or a family member, you came to the right place. Rule number 1: don’t by an anaconda even if it’s the friendliest pet snake at the store.

So, you want to buy a snake and don’t want a giant, 8-10 foot long beast growing in your basement. Seems perfectly reasonable. That’s exactly why we curated this list of the best small pet snakes available — now you can rest easy and know one of these small snakes are your best options.

Best Small Pet Snake #1: Rosy Boa

Now, we know what your thinking. Boa constrictor?! How can that possibly be the #1 best small pet snake on this list? Believe it or not, Rosy Boas (Lichanura trivirgata) don’t grow to be as large as say, a Boa Constrictor. These colorful little guys can make a perfect companion, and stay relatively small for their entire life.

For the most part, Rosy Boas will get to about 2 feet long. That’s not too bad, considering they are in the boa family. Also, they are very pretty snakes and can come in unique patterns that are visually pleasing. There’s a reason why Rosy Boas are so popular.

First, which we already covered, they don’t grow to be that large. Rest assured that you, your son, or your daughter can enjoy the companionship of a Rosy Boa without worrying about it growing into a monster.

Secondly, they are a tame breed and are easy to maintain and take care of. In most cases, a Rosy Boa will be happy in a 15-20 gallon snake tank (depending on the measurement). Overall, Rosy Boas are simply one of the best small snakes to have as a pet. They are small pet snakes that stay small, have a nice temperament, and are great beginner snakes all around.

Best Small Snake for a Pet #2: Eastern or Western Hognose Snake

hognose snake care sheet

The snake coming in 2nd for the best small snakes as pets is none other than the Hognose Snake. Now, there are many different types of Hognose. be sure you stick with Eastern or Western, because some other breeds like a Madagascar Hognose Snake can grow to be way too big.

Hognose Snakes make excellent small pet snakes, and are another very popular breed among beginners and long time snake owner enthusiasts.

Unlike the Rosy Boa, these snakes are not constrictors and are native to a more desert-like climate.

Want to Learn More About Hognose Snake Ownership?

Check out our ultimate guide to caring for a Hognose Snake. It covers everything from tank setup to feeding schedule.

What makes this small snake truly unique is it’s flat, shovel-shaped head. It uses this to easily burrow underground. Hognose Snakes also have a nice pattern to them, too.

All-in-all, either an Eastern or a Western Hognose Snake makes for an excellent small pet snake.

Best Small Pet Snake #3: Garter Snake

Garter Snakes are likely the smallest snake on this list, and they are also a popular breed of pet snake. Not only are Garter Snakes small in the sense that they don’t get too long, they also don’t grow to have a lot of girth, either. Garter Snakes make a great small pet snake. The reason they are #3 is more of a matter of opinion.

First, Garter snakes aren’t as visually appealing as the other two snakes on this list. They’re kind of plain, and there are definitely prettier snakes out their when it comes to searching for small pet snakes.

Also, many Garter Snakes are caught in the wild and kept as pet snakes. That is something we advocate against. Non-captive bred snakes will usually die quickly once put in captivity. Also, they can carry harmful bacteria, mites, and other sicknesses.

With all that in mind, Garter Snakes still make great small pet snakes. Just be sure if you choose this breed, buy one that was raised in captivity from a reputable breeder. Leave the wild snakes where they belong — in the wilderness and their natural habitat.

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