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27 Types of Pet Snakes (and Where to Buy Them)

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Whether it be because of the high maintenance nature of a puppy, or a pesky cat hair allergy that has your eyes puffier than a Parisian pastry, you’ve decided to dive into caring for a slithery sidekick of your very own.

Smart decision, they are far less work than most domesticated animals, they are notoriously quiet and don’t leave a small layer of fur on everything they come across.

Narrowing down your choice of snake can be very difficult, however, considering the broad spectrum of serpents you can get. This list should help you pinpoint the perfect predator to call your own.

All lifespans listed are from snakes in captivity, snakes found in the wild on average have shorter life expectancies. Also keep in mind that while breed does tend to reflect the personality of a snake, even garter snakes like to maintain some amount of individuality, so your mileage may vary.

Young woman holding pet snake

1. Corn Snake

Price: $20 – $50

Size: 2 – 6 feet

Lifespan: 23 years or more (Oldest recorded lived to 32)

Friendliness: Exceptionally calm and docile, widely considered the friendliest snake. These tend to be the most universally recommended serpent for newbie handlers due to their kind disposition and reasonable price tag.

2. Ball Python

Price: $100 – $500

Size: 4 – 5 feet

Lifespan: 30 years

Friendliness: Tend to be very friendly once they develop trust towards their owner, otherwise they can be shy.

The Ball Python is the most popular breed of snake in the world.

3. California Kingsnake

Price: $50 – $100

Size: 4 – 5 feet

Lifespan: 20 years

Friendliness: Due to anxiety common in the breed, they can become nippy when stressed or threatened, though it is rare and typically they are docile and calm around humans.

albino california kingsnake
Albino Kingsnake

4. Rosy Boa

Price: $75 – $100

Size: 2 – 3 feet

Lifespan: 30 years or above

Friendliness: The rosy boa is considered a “beginner friendly” snake due to its gentle, friendly disposition. A great pick for someone inexperienced with snakes, they are also just painfully adorable.

5. Gopher Snake

Price: $30 – $100

Size: 4 – 5 ½ feet

Lifespan: 15 – 30 (The latter being less common)

Friendliness: While it may possess a very loud hiss when threatened, they rarely bite humans unless threatened and tend to make good pets. If one does nip at you though, rest assured that they are non-venomous.

6. Garter Snake

Price: $20 – $50

Size: 18 – 26 inches

Lifespan: 10 years

Friendliness: These guys are great for kids as they can hold them without issue and they remain relatively docile and gentle overall.

These guys are great for gardens as well, they are one of the most effective ways to eliminate pesky bugs that make a buffet of your kohlrabi, green onions, etc.

Garter snake on dirt

7. Rat Snake

Price: $50 – $100

Size 3 – 5 feet

Lifespan: 30+ years

Friendliness: Another beginner-friendly snake, they have a gentle disposition if their owner takes the time needed to accommodate them.

8. Green Tree Python

Price: 300 – 500

Size: Around 5 feet

Lifespan: 20 years

Friendliness: The sassiest snake on the list so far, these guys are recommended for veteran snake owners who have the patience and knowledge needed to allow the snake to warm up to them.

Try to make sure that your green tree python sees you coming up to it, as they tend to nip when they are taken by surprise.

9. Boa Constrictors

Price: $50 – $200

Size: 13 feet

Lifespan: 20 – 30 years

Friendliness: With the right amount of T.L.C these guys can become very domesticated and relaxed, though they can still chomp at you when they feel alarmed or frightened. Not typically recommended for beginners.

The boa constrictor

10. Western Hognose Snake

Price: 175 – 250

Size: 2 – 3 feet

Lifespan: 15 – 20 Years

Friendliness: Even in their natural habitat, these guys are unlikely to do anything more than puff themselves up and strike an attacker with a closed mouth. They are typically a pretty relaxed, manageable breed (Good for newer owners).

11. Milk Snake

Price: $55 – $300

Size: 1 – 5.75 feet

Lifespan: 20 years

Friendliness: They have a relatively calm temperament, and though they can confuse your index finger for a mouse at times, their bite does not hurt. Perfectly fine for a first-time owner.

12. Smooth Green Snake

Price: $30 (Could only find two sources on this, so the price may vary)

Size: 11 – 20 inches

Lifespan: 6 years or less (Less is more common)

Friendliness: While being very low maintenance, these snakes are more for those that want to admire a snake from afar rather than huddle up with one, as they do not enjoy frequent handling. Fine for newer owners if they are okay with the hands-off nature of owning one.

Smooth Green Snake

13. Rough Green Snake

Price: $30

Size: 14 – 33 inches

Lifespan: 8 – 15 years (Sources vary on its life expectancy, though it seems the younger you get the snake the less likely it is to suffer health problems from being in the wild.)

Friendliness: These guys, like their smoother cousins, are shy and small and take a while to get comfortable. Even when they do adapt to their new surroundings it is best to handle them infrequently, as they do not enjoy it. Fine for Beginners.

14. Carpet Python

Price: $100 – $300

Size: 6 – 6 ½ Feet

Lifespan: 15 – 20 years

Friendliness: Relatively calm if not a bit shy, a great choice for newer handlers.

15. Cape House Snake

Price: $60 – $150

Size: 2 – 4 Feet

Lifespan: 8 years

Friendliness: Jollier snakes that are more social once they adapt to their new home, relatively low maintenance as well. They would make a great first snake for any amateur herpetologist.

Brown House Snake

16. African Egg-Eating Snake

Price: $60 – $160

Size: 2 – 2 ½ Feet

Lifespan: 15 years

Friendliness: They are the closest thing you will find to a pacifist in the animal kingdom, choosing to imitate the colors of more daunting predators as opposed to scuffling. They are incapable of harming humans and are very well suited to newbie owners.

17. Kenyan Sand Boa

Price: $75 – $200

Size: 2 feet

Lifespan: 20 years

Friendliness: While typically remaining pretty tranquil, even if they do wake up on the wrong side of their bed of sand they tend to flee over fighting their owners, suitable for novice households.

18. Rainbow Boa

Price: $200 – $600

Size: 5 – 9 Feet

Lifespan: 20+ years old

Friendliness: They tend to start a bit bashful and standoffish, though if you are willing to put in the hours needed, they can simmer down when they get to adulthood, making absolutely beautiful, long-term pets. If you can get past the “terrible twos” with these guys, they are perfect for a snake handler of any level.

brown rainbow boa

19. DeKay’s Brown snake

Price: $10 – $30

Size: 12 inches

Lifespan: 7 years

Friendliness: Uncharacteristically indifferent to humans for a smaller breed of snake, if you have a light touch and are willing to give it time to itself this breed of snake can be great for any owner.

20. Children’s Python

Price: $70 – $350

Size: 2 ½  – 4 Feet

Lifespan: 30 years

Friendliness: Unlike the previous snake, the children’s python can benefit from a continual touch and with its laid-back nature and low maintenance upkeep, these guys are a fantastic choice for anybody!

21. African House Snake

Price: $70 – $150

Size: 30 – 59 inches

Lifespan: 20 years

Friendliness: Their fairly low maintenance and calm demeanor make these guys as good a purchase as any snake for first-time buyers.

African House Snake

22. Burmese Python

Price: $270+ (Prices can vary wildly depending on where you are and what morph of python you are getting)

Size: Up to 26 feet

Lifespan: 20 years

Friendliness: All things considered, the Burmese Python is usually docile when it comes to humans (Lucky us). They are very high maintenance, however, and very expensive. Also, they are 26 feet of reptilian muscle so just bear that in mind when deciding between them and a garter snake. Not recommended for beginner handlers.

Make sure to check the laws in your state to see if you are legally allowed to own one, as pythons have an increasing amount of restrictions, especially in the U.S.

23. Blood Python

Price: $200 – $400

Size: 4 – 6 Feet

Lifespan: 25 years

Friendliness: Notorious for their infamous reputations, their bad-boy image has simmered down a bit in recent years as people have come to realize that their aggressive outbursts are a result of severe anxiety. While they can be beautiful, well-adjusted long-term companions, leave these guys to more experienced snake owners as they are one of the more dangerous breeds you can own.

24. False Water Cobra

Price: $250 – $400

Size: 8 Feet

Lifespan: 12 – 20 years

Friendliness: While the sheer size of these cobras can give anyone pause, they are surprisingly well-mannered and benefit from occasional handling! However, because of its venomous bite these guys are not fit for newbie owners.

False Water Cobra

25. Hog Island Boa

Price: $150 – $250 (The rarity of this snake may cause price fluctuation, however.)

Size: 5 – 6 Feet

Lifespan: 20 – 30 years

Friendliness: Commonly considered one of the more docile Boa breeds out there, this charming breed is perfect for anyone lucky enough to get one!

26. Dumeril’s Boa

Price: $200 – $800

Size: 3 – 6 Feet

Lifespan: 20 years

Friendliness: Another famously docile Boa breed, Dumeril’s are very bright and easily maintainable due to their smaller stature. Good for Beginners.

27. Woma Python

Price: $250

Size: 4 ½  – 5 ½  Feet

Lifespan: 20 years

Friendliness: Easily fed, Easily handled, these pleasant pythons make themselves very likable roommates for an enthusiast of any level who is fortunate enough to get their hands on one.

Woma Python


If you are in the market for a snake, the best places to look are local and online breeders, reptile expos, local pet stores, and ideally businesses and handlers where you can rest assured the animal is getting the proper treatment that it deserves.

It is also recommended that you don’t leap into action at the first person that has the snake you want. Do your due diligence and shop around to make sure you are getting a good deal and an animal that has been cared for properly. This may seem tedious but it will help you avoid the consequences of poor animal husbandry and medical costs down the road.

When you are preparing to buy a snake, make sure to prep your home for that specific breed, as many have unique conditions and environments they must be exposed to regularly to maintain their optimal health.

You may also want to mentally prepare for the fact that a lot of these scaled ladies and gentlemen can take a while to warm up to you.  Just remain patient and diligent, before long you will be fast friends.

If you are looking for something erring on the side of unconventional, or you simply always wanted to walk around with a boa as a superfluous neck accessory, this will get you well on your way!