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Do snakes make good pets

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People often have strong opinions on keeping snakes as pets but personally, I think as long as the adults in the home are confident they can commit to taking care of such a specialist animal then there’s no reason you can’t keep one as a family pet. Now you may think me biased once you find out we have 4 lizards, 18 tarantulas, 2 scorpions, a pac man frog and two cats (and Ian used to have a snake)….however, I’d like to think that with my experience of keeping both reptiles and fluffy animals, I’ve seen both sides of the coin.

Great for allergy suffers

One of the great things about reptiles in general is that they can be fantastic pets for families who have allergies to fluffy animals. And if a snake isn’t for you there are lots of friendly breeds of lizard to consider such as the leopard gecko or bearded dragon.

Do your research

Snakes are often perceived as dangerous animals but let’s not forget that some of the most common family pets can also have their moments – cats, dogs and rabbits are more than capable of biting or scratching and they can be bigger than a lot of snakes!

But of course snakes aren’t for everyone and there are breeds that are better suited to family life than others but with the right research and a confident owner, a snake can be a fascinating and quite tame pet. That’s how it started for us really – our interest in reptiles began with one adorable gecko and grew from there. And contrary to popular belief, they do have their own personalities and quirks, even the tarantulas!

Things to consider

do snakes make good petsHow much do you know about caring for snakes? If your child is still quite young then you will be the primary carer for the snake, even if it technically belongs to your child. Are you prepared for the fact that your snake may live as long as 20 years and do you know how much it costs to keep a snake in terms of food and general care?

Getting set up

The setup is the most expensive part because you will need to invest in an appropriately sized tank plus the equipment needed to maintain the right heat. Reptiles are cold blooded and need to regulate their temperature via external sources. Without the right temperature your snake may not be able to digest food or may try to hibernate so this is essential to having a happy, healthy snake. Don’t panic though; heat regulation isn’t as tricky as it sounds. There are thermostats available which allow you to set the desired temperature and this in turn operates your heat source, switching it on and off throughout the day/night to maintain the right heat. You can also plug your light source into a timer so that it’ll switch on and off to create a day/night cycle.

Keep them locked in!

Something we invested in for all of our tanks is a lock. They can be found online at around £3-£4 and you’ll see them on all the tanks in any reptile shop – it’s a very normal step to take when keeping these kinds of animals and it’s a good idea to get one for your tank at home too. It just gives you peace of mind that your reptile will stay safely in their tank and no-one else in the house – such as other family pets or small children – can get in.

Be prepared for the feeding habits

You also need to be comfortable with feeding your snake pre-killed prey such as rodents or chicks. These are usually purchased frozen (very cheaply) and you simply defrost one at a time as and when needed. Your snake won’t need feeding very often so you’ll need to have space in your freezer to keep the rodents in the meantime. If your little one is fascinated with snakes but isn’t aware of what they eat then this is also a conversation you’ll want to have in advance in order to prepare them.

Be responsible

In terms of choosing a breed you need to do your research thoroughly and even better, speak to someone in person at a local reptile shop. If you pop into a reptile shop in person, you can see how the snakes are kept, discuss their temperament and even watch them being fed so you can better understand the reality of keeping one. Many reptile shops will allow you to hold the animals too – if you’ve never handled a snake before then this is probably a good idea.

This is just a starting point of things to consider but most of the same rules apply with any reptile. The setup is the biggest expense then they’re very cheap to care for after that, what’s not to love?

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About Celyn Parry

About Celyn Parry

Celyn Parry has 12 years experience working with a leading children’s retailer but is now focusing on her passion for writing. With many years spent on the shop floor listening to parents, she prides herself on creating down to earth articles with a dash of humour and personal insight. As Step-Mum to adorable chatterbox Max, it’s a bit of a juggling act but it certainly keeps things interesting!

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