Snakes in captivity

Common vine snake
Also known as green vine snake. It is a thin green tree snake. It is a non-venomous snake, but shows aggressive behavior when she feels threatened. This photo was taken in Tadyandermol, Coorg, India. – Chinmayisk, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Snakes as pets

All information about the possession of snakes.

The Snakes, like all reptiles, have very high demands on their living environment. There are thousands of species of snakes that differ visually, but also in their needs: There are venomous and non-venomous snakes, small and large snakes, snakes with much or less desire to move… and no matter how different the animals are, their needs are also very special.

Snakes have special requirements for their feeding and habitat.

Among the most popular snakes that are held as “pets” there are the giant snakes like the Boa constrictor waves Pythons, but also the Snakes non-poisonous. But, Venomous snakes are also very popular among pet owners. How snakes are found in very different regions of the world, depending on the species, have specific requirements for their habitat.

Snakes for beginners
Corn snake
Corn snake – Wikimedia

It is said that the corn snakes they are especially suitable for beginners because they are not poisonous. The corn snake's range extends along the U.S. East Coast., from New York State to the Florida Keys; according to different climatic and geographical conditions, these snakes feel comfortable in very different habitats. These reptiles can live at sea level, but also at heights higher than 750 m. Its range extends across different climatic zones, so corn snakes can be found in deciduous and wet summer coniferous forests, in thickets and grasslands and in wetlands.

The corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) are nocturnal and twilight, but sometimes they like to sunbathe. The corn snake spends most of its life hidden under the leaves, the mulch of the bark, rocks and on tree trunks and rocks. Reptiles are good climbers and often roam the high branches in search of food.. Although corn snakes can swim well, avoid water if possible. In colder regions, corn snakes often go into hibernation; often hundreds of animals gather in suitable places to hibernate together.

Although corn snakes belong to smaller snakes, they come to measure between 120 and 150, and in exceptional cases up to 180 centimeters. So, in commercial terrariums, these intelligent reptiles have too little room to pursue their natural instincts. In the wild, climbing animals move even through trees in search of food in the form of small mammals, amphibians, birds and eggs.

Giant snakes as a status symbol

The Boa constrictor, also known as Royal Boa or Snake abgot, lives in rainforests, thickets and semi-deserts, always close to water. Its natural habitat extends from northern Mexico., passing through all of Central and South America, to Argentina. The royal boa is one of the smallest giant snakes, but can reach a body length of up to 4,5 m. In the wild, the Royal Boas climb trees and glide through nature more than 1,5 kilometers per hour in search of food. Reptiles are also very good swimmers, but mostly avoid contact with water. In the wild, their diet consists mainly of mice, small birds, lizards and frogs; as real snakes grow, they also feed on larger mammals, as rodents, smaller monkeys, opossums, bats and even wild boars.

The Pythons live in tropical habitats; there they inhabit tropical forests, deserts, steppes, savannahs and dry forests, as well as in swamps. Animals are adapted to the high humidity of the 75 to the 100% of tropical regions. During the day, pythons hide in hollow trees, in the holes in the ground, under the boards and stones and between the cracks. In the settlements, snakes usually hide in barns and sheds. The Pythons they hunt birds, mammals and reptiles in the wild: while the small ones feed mainly on smaller birds, mice, rats and lizards, the big ones come to prey on gazelles, deer, young buffalo and crocodiles. Snakes usually drink water with their mouths almost closed through a small opening in the front of the jaws.. Most snakes' water needs are met through their feeding, but they can also absorb water through your skin.

The Boas and Pythons need several days to digest larger prey. So, in the nature, sometimes they only eat every two to four weeks. If snakes are kept in captivity, food also leads to huge animal welfare issues. Often so-called frozen foods are used, that is to say, small animals such as mice or rats (sometimes still babies), that is “Produce” in cruel conditions in mass breeding. Unsellable animals from the pet trade are also often killed for this purpose.. [Other pet owners put small live animals in the terrarium: pure fear of the death of hamsters, mice and rats. It also happens that snakes are bitten or gnawed by “food animals” who struggle desperately when small animals have been hungry for a long time.

Giant snakes are often delivered to animal shelters and rescue centers when they are too large for their owners.. But, it is difficult to locate the animals.

Venomous snakes as pets

Possession of poisonous animals, for example several species of venomous snakes, it is already banned in many countries. In other countries, there is no regulation restricting or prohibiting the possession of poisonous animals.

All over the world there are 400 different species of venomous snakes, who have specific requirements regarding their habitat and feeding. People who keep venomous snakes in captivity not only expose themselves and their environment to enormous risk., they also ignore the very specific needs of different animals..

Snakes as “pets” breeding and trading are never a good idea.

Many exotic animals are sold as “pets”. Sellers are only interested in profit when it comes to reptiles and other animals; this can be seen, for example, at reptile fairs: there exotics are offered at a low price in small plastic boxes and often end up being impulsive purchases of uninformed people. In these fairs, reptiles, amphibians, insects and exotic mammals suffer from the stress and proximity of humans: In some cases, animals are mortally frightened just by looking at a human.

Countless reptiles, including snakes that are held as “pets”, are taken from their natural habitat as wild-caught specimens and are often shipped around the world in conditions that violate animal welfare.. Up the 70% of sensitive reptiles die from stress, lack of care or transportation-related injuries before arriving at the store.

In captivity, many reptiles often display striking or even stereotyped behavior that indicates fear and/or stress.. This includes, for example, “climb” constantly the glass walls of the terrarium, because in nature there are no transparent edges. In the vast majority of cases, reptiles do not manifest discomfort, illness and pain: Animals suffer in silence. If the owners do not recognize the diseases, treatments are started too late or there is no competent reptile veterinarian nearby, many of them die prematurely. According to a veterinary study of cases of deceased reptiles, the 51% of the animals examined suffered from diseases caused by poor breeding: If temperatures and humidity are not optimal or if terrariums are not properly cleaned, yeast infections may occur. Parasites are also widespread in reptiles. But, reptiles can also live to a very old age, which is why, if they do not die because of the serious breeding errors that usually occur, they lead a sad existence in small terrariums for decades: Simply, it is not possible to provide a natural environment that meets the specific needs of animals.

Many caregivers quickly feel overwhelmed or bored by animals., for example, because they grow too much, the veterinarian or equipment is too expensive, or because the animals are nocturnal or rather inactive and do not provide the “entertainment” desired. Thus, many snakes and other reptiles are abandoned or handed over to already overcrowded animal shelters and rescue centers.

Snake outbreaks cause panic over and over again

Reptile outbreaks occur again and again. Especially in the summer months, when animals are more active, these incidents are more frequent. Either surprised passers-by find the escaped animals or the owners desperately search for their flatmates.. If the missing reptiles are poisonous, the media uproar is usually especially big. The press reports almost regularly on escaped exotic animals. Most animal species cannot survive long in our latitudes. But, a few species succeed and become a threat to native animals.

Snakes as “pets”: danger to humans and animals

Not only venomous and strangling snakes pose a danger to their owners, but that contact with all reptiles poses a risk to the health of humans: Up the 90% of reptiles living in captivity are carriers of salmonellosis. Although pathogens are not usually harmful to animals, transmission to humans can have serious consequences; the salmonella may cause meningitis, blood poisoning and even death. Other pathogens dangerous to humans, including other bacteria, but also viruses and fungi- they can also be transmitted from reptiles to humans. In recent years, the proportion of animal diseases has increased considerably; the 72% of these zoonoses can be traced back to contact with wild animals.

What you can do

  • Please, don't support the trade in exotic animals like snakes. If you really have extensive knowledge about a species of snake and the possibility of keeping it as close as possible to the needs of animals, contact animal shelters and rescue centers.
  • Please, don't visit reptile fairs: in them not only animals suffer, but visitors are exposed to health risks.
  • Please, sign our petition to ban it Terraristika, the largest reptile fair in the world.

List of Snakes for maintenance in captivity

1 Amazon tree boa

Boa arborícola amazónica

The Amazon tree boa it is a popular pet with snake fanciers and is a fairly common export in the snake trade.

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2 Boa imperator

Boa común

The Boa imperator is twilight and nocturnal. During the day it hides in caves, hollow trees or other shelters and only comes out to take

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3 Boa constrictor

Boa constrictora

In some countries, the possession of the Boa constrictor is regulated by the regulations on the possession of so-called “potentially dangerous animals”

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4 New Guinea ground boa

Boa terrestre de Nueva Guinea

The New Guinea ground boa it is mainly nocturnal and moves on the ground and is only occasionally found in trees.

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5 African house snake

Culebra de casa africana

The African house snake inhabits arid areas near the Atlantic coast, plains with formations of euphorbias and other bushes.


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6 Painted bronzeback

Culebra de dorso de bronce pintado

The Painted bronzeback It is the most common type of snakes of the genus Dendrelaphis. Active during the day, usually wanders

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7 Checkered garter snake

Culebra listonada manchada

This species has a calm character. When the Checkered garter snake feels threatened, usually flees.

(Thamnophis marcianus marcianus) from Hidalgo County,

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8 Nelson's milksnake

Falsa coral de Honduras

The Nelson's milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum nelsoni) it is a small to medium sized snake, with a length of 91-152 centimeters.

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9 Green tree python

Pitón arborícola verde

The Green tree python has two different poses, depending on whether you are resting or hunting. In the resting position, the body of the snake is

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10 Indian python

Pitón de la India

The Indian python it is the dream snake for many terrarium keepers. His attractive appearance, its imposing size and its temperament, generally

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11 Ball python

Pitón real

At birth, the Ball python measured between 25 and 43 centimeters in length and grows up to 1 or 1,5 meters in adulthood.

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12 Reticulated python

Pitón reticulada

The great demand for exotic animals has grown, what makes the Reticulated python be caught in the pet market to be

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13 Rice paddy snake

Serpiente acuática de vientre amarillo

The Rice paddy snake, mostly nocturnal, comes out at night to hunt fish and amphibians.

aquatic snake

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14 Puff-faced water snake

Serpiente acuática enmascarada

The Puff-faced water snake inhabits freshwater bodies, like swamps, forest ponds and streams.

Homalopsis buccata of East Kalimantan –

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15 Keeled slug-eating snake

Serpiente comedora de babosas

The Keeled slug-eating snake is a predominantly lowland resident. It is rarely found near human settlements and areas of

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16 Egg-eating snake

Serpiente comedora de huevos común

This is the famous Egg-eating snake. We are probably facing the easiest snake to feed there is, From a visual point of view

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17 Striped house snake

Serpiente de casa rayada

the care of the Striped house snake in a terrarium it is quite simple, since it does not pose special requirements in terms of levels

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18 Diadem snake

Serpiente de Diadema

Quite large, reaching some 150-200 cm length. the head of the Diadem snake is elongated, slightly triangular and clearly separated from the neck.

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19 Honduran milk snake

Serpiente de leche hondureña

The name of Honduran milk snake has its origin in the erroneous belief that they drank milk from the udders of cows,

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20 Arboreal ratsnake

Gonyosoma oxycephalum

The Arboreal ratsnake it is diurnal and lives exclusively in the trees of the tropical forest, especially near bodies of water

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21 Corn snake

Serpiente del maíz

The Corn snake also known as Red rat snake. The common name of “Corn snake” has its origin

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22 Sri Lankan green vine snake

Serpiente liana verde

The Sri Lankan green vine snake diurnal inhabits trees and shrubs on farmland and in forests. They feed on frogs, lizards and

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23 Oriental wolf snake

Serpiente lobo oriental

Although the Oriental wolf snake it is poisonous, this poison is relatively mild. Even when they bite humans, the impact is usually not harmful.

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24 Sunbeam snake

Serpiente rayo de sol

The Sunbeam snake They are constrictors and kill their prey by suffocating them in their muscular coils..

This close-up clearly shows

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25 Eastern kingsnake

Serpiente real de California

Primary habitat varies by subspecies. The Eastern kingsnake can be found in forests, Meadows, deserts and urban areas.

oven “Snake

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26 Golden tree snake

Chrysopelea ornata

The Golden tree snake is accustomed by nature to tree life (on the floor) in tropical jungles.

Golden Snake (Chrysopelea ornata

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27 Gold-ringed cat snake – Mangrove snake


The toxin of the Mangrove snake, call denmotoxina, it is especially useful for hunting its main prey, birds.

Gold-ringed cat snake – ... Read more

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