Wondering about the most miniature snake breeds you can have as a pet? This guide is for you!
Keeping a snake pet can be one of the most fulfilling hobbies, even for first-timers. However, to really enjoy this experience, you may want to start on a low level.
This should not be hard, considering there are many species suitable for even first-timers.
Small snakes are good starter breeds for the beginner. They are not only cute, but are also easy to maintain. Your choice of a small snake should depend on its availability, tameness, and maintenance cost.
In this article, we take you through a list of small snake species you may want to consider for your project.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Keeping Small Snakes?
The cost of purchasing a small snake varies depending on the species and whether you’re getting it locally.
However, it is generally accepted that small snakes are cheaper than bigger species. Plus, they are easier to transport from one country or region to another.
Small snakes are not so demanding when it comes to fitting their enclosures. As a result, you’ll spend less on their food, heating and lighting arrangements, and decorations.
Most small snakes are docile. However, even those not docile are unlikely to inflict a significant wound. This is because the smaller the snake, the less powerful the power of its bite.
However, this is not to say that a small snake cannot bite you. On the contrary, it can bite and should, as such, be handled with care.
Zero Risk of Being Constricted to Death
Small snakes are not constrictors. So, rarely will you find this snake wrapping itself around a prey in a death clasp.
This makes small snakes advantageous over their giant cousins like the anacondas and boas.
Small snakes are more affected by temperature and humidity changes than their bigger cousins.
If something were to go wrong with the lighting or heating equipment, it would take its toll on the small-bodied snake.
These species are also more prone to injuries than giant snakes. This is because small snakes require close monitoring and supervision in everything they do.
If a small snake wants to disappear on you, you’ll take considerable time to get it back. This is because these species are good escape artists.
They can fit into tiny openings and crevices.
Most small snakes have special needs in terms of diet and home care. Therefore, you have to make special arrangements and fitting to accommodate them in your home.
Because of their size, you have to ensure they don’t drown in their water dishes.
The Cutest Small Snake Species for Pet
#1 – Children’s Python (Antaresia children)
This snake grows to about 2.5ft long. Although it is feisty as a baby, it grows calmer and more composed as an adult.
The Children’s Python is readily available in online and live snake shops. In addition, it’s easy to maintain because it does well on frozen and thawed food.
If you have always admired pythons but don’t think you can put up with their huge size, you may want to try the Children’s Python.
This is a mini python that you will enjoy keeping and feeding. They are easy to handle because they are not too long.
Although this species prefers feeding on live frogs, mice, and lizards when young, they can be trained to survive on frozen and thawed mice.
They easily take to home life – especially when you try to acclimate them from an early age.
The Children Python is a good pet for both children and grownups.
#2 – Anthill Python (Pygmy Python)
This is the smallest snake in the ‘python’ species. Because of this, it has earned the moniker pygmy python.
Its cuteness does not come from its color as much as from its small stature. Being short and thick-set, the Anthill Python looks easy for children and grownups to handle.
The little leopard spots on the green body give this reptile a unique look.
This 20-inch-long snake is a native termite mound of Australia.
#3 – African Egg-Eating Snake (Dasypeltis)
This snake is easy to handle because of its stable temperament. It also doesn’t have front teeth, so you can put any fears of a snake bite to rest.
The male African Egg Eating snake grows to about 18 inches, while the female grows to 40 inches long.
This species of snake is very easy to care for. They are not picky when it comes to food. They can survive on eggs, and don’t require a whole prey to be full.
Having an adequate supply of quail and finch eggs will be enough to feed this pet. You should fertilize these eggs to provide your pet snake with adequate nutritional content.
You can source these eggs in Asian food bazaars and online markets. You could also talk to a local bird breeder for the necessary supplies.
The only downside of an African Egg Eating Snake is that it is not commonly available. This species is available only in select markets.
#4 – Smooth Green Snake
This snake species is long, smooth, and green. Unlike the Rough Green Snake (not on this list), the Smooth Green Snake has a calm personality.
It is non-aggressive and shy, and many keepers consider them friendly. This makes them ideal pets.
The Green Smooth Snake grows to around 20 inches long. Its slender body weighs about 30g, making it reasonably easy to handle.
Special care should be taken in feeding these snakes because they sometimes refuse to eat. You should identify what your pet snake loves most as a treat whenever he gets stubborn and won’t eat.
#5 – Western Hognose
The male Western Hognose grows to about 3ft, and the female version is larger. This snake has a calm, docile temperament.
It can be quite playful when it is excited. However, they can play dead when they feel threatened. This snake will hiss, flatten his body, and act bed to shake off a predator. They also secrete a smelly musk to keep enemies at bay.
However, this behavior is not common with captive-bred Western Hognose. You are more likely to find it with the wild ones.
Getting this snake from the many live and online pet stores that stock it is easy.
The Western Hognose is an excellent feeder; you don’t have to be concerned about special needs. This is one snake you’ll love taking care of.
A 20-gallon tank is good enough for this reptile.
#6 – Kenyan Sand Boa
The Kenyan Sand Boa Grows to about 2ft long. This snake has a pleasant personality, though it tends to flee when it feels threatened.
Baby Kenyan Sand Boas are picky eaters. They settle for nothing less than live prey. However, you can train the baby to love feeding on frozen and thawed mice with good coaching.
Alternatively, purchase only grownup snakes that have already been weaned off live prey.
This is a good choice if you are interested in a snake that doesn’t increase in length and girth. The Kenyan Sand Boa grows steadily to around 2ft (sometimes longer) and stops growing.
It doesn’t increase in thickness by much.
This also means that this snake does not require much space. A 10-gallon enclosure is comfortable enough for this pet.
If you have severe space limitations, a 15-gallon enclosure is good enough for two Kenyan Sand Boas. However, you shouldn’t put up excessive items in the tank because this reptile prefers to burrow.
Too much décor is likely to get in this snake’s way. Take care as you handle this pet because it can bite.
Bites occur when the snake mistakes your hand for food.
#7 – Garter Snake
The Garter Snake grows to about 3ft – small enough to make it to the list of the cutest small snakes. It is easy to find and purchase this snake if you know the right places to look for it.
The Garter snake is a suitable feeder and will not weigh you down with unnecessary demands for special diet arrangements.
The young version of this snake can be quite aggressive and needs to be handled with care. However, with proper monitoring and coaching, the snake turns out alright as an adult.
#8 – Mexican Milk Snake
This is a very common snake that grows to about 4ft long. Some longer specimens have been reported.
Its feeding response is moderate. If it is not adequately trained as a baby, you may have challenges trying to feed it frozen-thawed rodents.
This means you should talk candidly with the dealer before purchasing the pet. Then, if possible, let them demonstrate how this snake feeds.
You’ll have an easy time with this snake if you buy it as an established, older feeder.
Most Mexican Milk Snakes are calm and composed. However, some have been known to bite – especially if they feel threatened.
This snake could also turn aggressive if it is poorly handled.
#9 – Ringneck Snake (Diadphis sp.)
These snakes grow to about 1ft long and weigh just a few grams. These are some of the lightest snakes with a size not bigger than a drawing pencil.
Some people mistake ringneck snakes for earthworms because of their diminutive stature.
However, you can spot the difference because this snake has a bright orange necklace-like mark around the neck.
This snake looks lovely from its young age as a baby. Fortunately, this is something it maintains throughout its life.
Because of their small size, Ringneck Snakes don’t eat much. Instead, they feed on worms and small invertebrates small enough to fit in the snake’s mouth.
#10 – Rosy Boa
These are common snakes that grow to 4ft long. You can easily find them in reptile shows, live dealer stores, and online shops.
They have a calm, docile temperament that makes it easy to handle them.
The Rosy Boa is an excellent feeder. As such, you don’t have to make a special feeding program for them.
They will fit into any feeding program fit enough for these kinds of reptiles.
This snake will be comfortable in a 10-gallon enclosure. However, if you want to give it some extra living space, you can accommodate it in a 15-gallon tank.
#11 – Flowerpot Snake/Bimini Blind Snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus)
This is one of the blind snakes you find out there. The Flowerpot Snake is small enough to fit into this category.
This species survives by digging and borrowing. As such, you have to make special arrangements for it in the enclosure.
Most people are unable to distinguish the Flowerpot Snake from earthworms. This is because, like earthworms, this snake is tiny and loves the soil.
The Flowerpot Snake belongs to the class of blind snakes that has well over 300 species. One thing that joins all these species together is their small size.
Other members of this family include the Barbados Thread Snake, the smallest snake in the world.
#12 – Corn Snakes
Corns Snakes grow to about 4ft in length. These snakes are pretty common, and you’ll have no problem getting one in a live or online pet shop near you.
Corn Snakes are docile breeds of snakes. However, the young ones tend to be a bit irritable, and they are fond of escaping at the slightest provocation.
The smaller babies are moderate feeders and can be picky. However, as they grow older, they become more trainable and will accept frozen-thawed meals.
Corn Snakes come in various colors: natural and selectively-bred morphs. As such, these snakes are highly favored for their aesthetic beauty.
#13 – African Ball Python
This is another small breed of the python family of snakes. It grows up to 4ft long. This snake gets its name from its habit of curling up into a ball.
Wild caught African Ball Python finds it hard to adapt to a captive environment. For the best experience with this name, you should purchase one already adapted to a captive environment.
As the name suggests, the African Ball Python’s native home is Africa. However, it is widely found in savannas and bushlands of Central and West Africa.
#14 – Kingsnake Species
The Kingsnake Species is a large family of snakes that range in size between 3ft and 4ft, depending on the species.
These snakes are generally calm and composed, and respond very well to petting if well-handled. In addition, these species are excellent feeders, and survive very well on frozen-thawed mice.
Actually, a good number of Kingsnake species accept pieces of meat and other non-prey food items.
The Scarlet Kingsnake is one of the smallest snakes in the world, while the California Kingsnake is one of the most popular because of its natural beauty.
These snakes consume other snakes in the wild. As such, it would be a bad idea to put two or more Kingsnakes together.
For a good number of people, snakes are intimidating and evil. The fact that they move about on legless, muscular bodies paints all kinds of negative symbols in people’s minds.
If you have been thinking of keeping a snake, but you’re conflicted, you may consider starting with the smaller species.
We hope this article helps with what to look for in a suitable small snake pet.