Tiny Pet Snakes
Some pet snakes grow quite large, and the biggest species are overwhelming even for expert reptile keepers. Fortunately, several pet snake species stay small throughout their lifespan, and many of them make great pets. If you're looking for a snake that you can easily hold in your hands, and that is less intimidating than larger slithering pets, we have you covered.
The Ringneck Snake is a small, docile snake that reaches a maximum length of 15 inches. They are easy to care for and make good starter snakes for most novice keepers. Ringnecks prefer to sleep during the day and become very active at night. They're not as common in the hobby as others on this list, but you can find them from online dealers or via reptile shows.
Ringneck snakes are very delicate and must be handled gently.
Western Hognose Snake
Western hognose snakes are generally docile and don't mind being held if properly socialized. These cute little critters top out at a maximum of 36 inches, but most are around 24 inches in length. A hognose from a breeder will be well adapted to life as a pet.
Hognose snakes can become agitated with excessive handling, so keep sessions under one hour.
African Egg-Eating Snake
These snakes are more difficult to find, but they're easy to care for because of their food choice. For those who don't like feeding rodents to snakes, this species feeds exclusively on eggs. Males are much smaller, typically reaching at 18 inches, than females, which can grow up to 40 inches, though most stay between 24 and 30 inches.
When threatened, egg-eating snakes quickly rub their scales together to produce a rasping sound that sounds a lot like a hiss in an effort to ward off predators.
Corn snakes are very common in the hobby. They have a mild temperament, making them easy-handling pets for kids and new reptile keepers. They're attractive and easy to care for, but as adults they can grow to around 5 feet or more in length.
Corn snakes will eat other snakes, so they need to be kept by themselves.
Kenyan Sand Boa
The Kenyan sand boa is known for their calm temperament and ease of handling. Males reach an adult length of 18 inches, where females can grow to around 30 inches. These boas are not as readily available as some species, but captive-bred specimens can be had from online breeders or through reptile expos.
Kenyan sand boas like sandy substrate, as they are active burrowers and love to hide.
Rosy Boas are generally calm and laid back, but they can be a little skittish until they get used to you. Adults grow to around 36 inches in length. They need to be handled carefully and frequently so that they do not become stressed by the lack of contact with humans.
The rosy boa is one of the boa species native to North America; the other is the rubber boa.
Ball Pythons are known for being docile, calm, and friendly. They are also extremely popular and readily available in the hobby. These snakes do grow larger than others on this list however, with males reaching 42 inches and females reaching 72 inches.
Ball pythons come in a wide variety of morphs and color patterns.
What to Consider When Choosing a Pet Snake
These small pet snakes won't outgrow your home, but they still require adequate care and attention. Review each species' care requirements before you decide to make a purchase. Also, understand that some of these snakes are harder to find, and some are also delicate compared to more popular species. However, they're all undeniably cool.