Why A Pet Snake?
Why a pet snake?
Before I begin, I am not trying to discourage people from keeping snakes. The aim of this page is to discourage the wrong people from keeping snakes, or even better helping you make an informed decision whether a snake is really the right pet for you.
Let's begin with the right reason for wanting to keep a pet snake:
You have a genuine interest in snakes. What do I mean by this? Using myself as an example, before I purchased my first snake I already had several field-guides and other books on the subject. My DVD collection contained several reptile related documentaries. I had even completed a snake capture and handling course. Most importantly though I had spent several years observing them in the wild and spent most of my free time visiting every reptile park in the country.
Obviously it is not necessary to follow in my footsteps, but if you fit in this category then you're off to a good start and have answered the question why a pet snake is right for you.
Now the reasons, why a pet snake may not be right for you:
* Wanting to keep snakes to impress your friends. Sure snakes have that "cool" factor about them, and you may be the talk of the town for the first few weeks. However the novelty will wear off at some point, but your responsibility doesn't.
* Snakes are easy to care for and are low maintenance. Don't be fooled. The enclosure in which the snake is kept needs to be cleaned regularly and water bowls changed at regular intervals.
Click here to read more about snake vivariums.
Feeding the animal is not always as easy as it seems. Depending on availability of prey items you may need to breed your pets food which is far from glamorous. If your snake does not eat by itself, are you prepared to force-feed it? If the animal regurgitates its food, and it does happen from time to time, are you prepared to deal with that?
* Companionship. Snakes are not dogs, nor parrots. Walking around with your pet python wrapped around you may seem cool, not so for the snake. Snakes in general do not like being handled and are easily stressed which in turn affects their health.
* Snakes require specialised medical care, and your local vet may not be capable to help should the necessity arise. Our closest "snake vet" is 70km away. Are you willing to travel those distances should the health of your snake require it?
* Snakes are notorious escape artists. Even seasoned snake keepers have had escapees. Are you prepared for possible legal ramifications should your pet cobra visit your next door neighbour?
Making your enclosure escape proof is part of the responsibility and may cost you serious cash.
* Snakes don't take up much space. This may be true for some species, but that cute little baby albino burmese python will grow to a five meter giant that will require a room of its own.
* Financial gain. Many people want to breed snakes in order to make a buck or two. There are literally thousands of reputable breeders out there, not all of them successful. The market is flooded with corn snakes and other entry level snakes. Unless you have the time, dedication and money for such a project there are far easier ways to increase your bank balance.
Once again I am not trying to discourage you from keeping a pet snake, but it is necessary to highlight why a pet snake is not for everyone. Keeping a pet snake, or any pet, must be mutually satisfying for both pet and owner.
Once you have decided why a pet snake is the right choice, the next step is deciding which species to choose.
Click here for tips on choosing the right snake.
Choosing venomous or non venomous
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