A ball python in a safe habitat.
10 Tips For Buying Your First Snake
  1. Know the Laws of Owning a Reptile

Before you’re ready to come to Allan’s Pet Center and ask for the largest snake breed around, make sure you’ve read up on federal and state guidelines for what reptiles are legal to own and where. For instance, owning venomous snakes like Cobras is against the law in California, so knowing what constrictor breed will fit your needs will save you a lot of time and research.

  1. Buy a Captive-Bred Snake

Catching snakes in the wild often results in stress and behavioral issues that go against smart snake safety tips, so obtaining a captive-bred snake eliminates those worries. Allan’s Pet Center has many options for breeds and wants to give your pet snake the best start possible before it joins your home. The pet snake price should be the last thing on your mind as you research what snake is going to be best for your home, and it’s nowhere near as important as making sure you buy one from the right origins.

A strong lock on a snake cage.


  1. Escape-Proof the Habitat

Snakes of all pet-appropriate breeds love to escape their tanks, so securing any potentially loose areas is a must for any owner who doesn’t want to come home to an empty tank! Snakes can easily become very hard to find if they get loose in a home, and having one escape is against every snake safety tip Allan’s can offer for pet owners or the snakes themselves.

Buying a secure cage with a latching lid or a lock can help to prevent snakes escaping. There are also small clips available to keep the lid attached to the tank if your snake tries to open it. Some owners also put heavy objects on top of their tanks. No matter what method you choose, make sure your snake doesn’t escape.

  1. Prepare To Feed Your Snake Other Animals

Most snakes love eating whole bodies of small animals like mice, so be prepared to see your pet swallow cute little creatures on a regular basis. Snake owners should have a strong stomach about the feeding process, and also follow snake safety tips to keep themselves safe. Sometimes snake owners recommend feeding snakes in a separate tank than the reptile’s usual habitat, because the snake might automatically assume it’s feeding time whenever the cage is opened.

Many snake owners also recommend feeding your pet frozen, pre-deceased animals rather than live prey. Some mice, for instance, can bite and injure a snake prior to feeding, and giving your snake frozen animals on a dish can eliminate this possible health hazard for them.

  1. Be Equipped Before You Bring Your Snake Home

Having the correct tank, lighting and food for your pet will allow you to start enjoying the snake immediately. Know what size tank you need and all your other equipment essentials, and Allan’s will be ready to help you purchase them and prepare to make the safest and best home possible for your new snake.

  1. Know All About the Dangers of Handling a Snake

We all know snakes need a bit more cautious handling than most popular pets. In fact, snakes are at their best when they are not being physically held much. They don’t enjoy sudden movement, loud noise or huge amounts of people around them, so keeping them in a quiet, controlled habitat will give you the best chance for avoiding bites or other aggressive snake behavior.

Knowing the hygienic precautions of touching snakes would also be smart before you commit to owning one. Snakes sometimes carry salmonella, which can be very dangerous for a human, and washing your hands, arms and whatever other parts of your body are touched by the snake after you hold them will protect you from health risks.

A Kingsnake is an ideal first pet snake.


  1. Buy a Beginner Snake

Enjoying your snake is paramount in owning one, and getting the right pet snake breed as a first-time owner will help you adjust to the experience and hopefully love it as much as Allan’s Pet Center does. Ball pythons and kingsnakes are two breeds well-suited to first time owners, not to mention beautiful and easy to find from a good breeder. They are also not the largest snake breed possible, so they won’t overwhelm you in weight or habitat size.

  1. Understand Snake Temperament

Snakes are not affectionate animals who jump into bed with their owners at the end of each day. While there is some evidence that snakes grow calmer around their owners over time, they will always prefer to be alone and untouched. Expect to observe them more than hold them even after you’ve owned them for quite a while.

Also know that snakes are not just loners among humans—they don’t want to be around other snakes much, either. If you enjoy your snake and want to own a second one eventually, you will not be able to put them in the same tank.

  1. Know How to Clean a Habitat

Snakes are carnivores who shed, so expect to clean your pet’s cage regularly. Lining the bottom of their tank with newspaper or a natural substrate like sand, leaves or shavings will give your pet a cushion, and it will also give you a quicker way to clean everything out.

Cleaning a snake cage is relatively easy, and you can use alcohol-based cleanser, Clorox or soap to get the cage looking spick and span again. However, keep in mind that it needs to be done regularly or your snake’s living conditions will get dirty very quickly.

  1. Be In It For the Long Haul

Depending on which breed you select, your commitment to your snake will last anywhere from 5-30 years. This is why snakes are never recommended as gifts to anyone casually interested in them. Choosing a snake requires dedicated research, preparing for one requires knowledge, and maintaining a healthy environment for both animal and owner requires dedication.

Allan’s Pet Center is more than happy to speak with you about the responsibilities of owning a snake. Feel free to contact us here or giving our Pico location a call at 424-832-3009 or our East LA location at 323-406-2048 if you want to get started.

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