Top 5 Best Beginner Snakes

November 17, 2020

Ball python handling

Best Beginner Snakes

If you’re here, it's because either you or your children want a snake, and you're not sure where to start. Picking out the right snake can be intimidating — you want an easy to care for and docile snake. The good news is, most snakes are easy to care for, and with the right handling and husbandry, are docile as well. I have compiled a list of the 5 best beginner snakes, with number one being the very best beginner snake. These snakes have been chosen due to good temperament and easy care. We will go over the pros and cons of each to help you narrow down which snake is the best for you!


# 5 — Ball Python

Ball python


With the right care and dedication, ball pythons (less commonly known as royal pythons) can make great starter snakes. These snakes are readily available at pet stores and through online breeders. They are calm snakes that come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, known as morphs. Depending on their morph, the price for a ball python can range between $80 for a normal ball python, and into the $1000s for rarer morphs. These snakes grow to be between 3 and 6 feet, and can live to see their 30s.



  • Extremely calm and docile
  • Slow moving snakes
  • Readily available
  • Can get to a decently large size if you want a big snake
  • Live a long life
  • Come in hundreds of different morphs
  • Can be found fairly cheap for natural morphs



  • Can be large and intimidating to some beginners
  • Are not very active
  • Require high humidity levels
  • Can be picky eaters
  • Are known to strike and hiss more than some other higher ranked beginner snakes



# 4 — Rosy Boa

Rosy boa


If you’re looking for a calm snake that stays relatively small, then a rosy boa might be for you! These snakes average between 2 to 3 feet long, and can live to see their 20s. They are extremely docile. They can be a bit harder to find than more common snakes like the corn snake, however you should have no problem finding them through an online breeder. There are quite a few morphs to choose from, though not nearly as many as a ball python. They range in price from around $50 to $400 depending on the morph. 



  • Relatively small species
  • Calm natured and docile
  • Live a long life
  • Can be purchased for fairly cheap
  • Usually good eaters



  • Can be hard to find
  • Not a huge variety of morphs
  • Are known to be escape artists (Make sure the enclosure is very secure)


# 3 — California King Snake

King snake


King snakes are called kings because in the wild, they have been known to consume venomous snakes, such as rattlesnakes and copperheads. King snakes are good beginner snakes, as they are fairly docile when handled often, and are good eaters. These snakes average around 3 or 4 feet, but have been known to reach 6. They are slender snakes that stay much thinner than ball pythons. King snakes are readily available at almost any pet store, and through online breeders, typically only costing around $50.



  • Stay a manageable size
  • Readily available
  • Fairly cheap
  • Not picky eaters
  • Semi active species, especially at night
  • Easy husbandry



  • Excellent escape artists (Have to have an extremely secure enclosure)
  • Can be nippy when not handled enough
  • Limited morph choices



# 2 — Corn Snake

Corn snake


Corn snakes make excellent beginner snakes. Not only can you find them at almost any pet store and online, but you can find them for pretty cheap! They usually run between $40 and $200. On top of that, corn snakes come in almost just as many morphs as ball pythons do, so you’ll have endless colors and patterns to choose from. They are very docile, and are typically good eaters. Corn snakes average between 3 and 4 feet, growing to be 6 feet at max. They are slender snakes that are easy to manage and care for. They usually live to be around 15 years old. 



  • Manageable sized snakes
  • Easy husbandry
  • Good eaters
  • Huge variety of morphs
  • Live a long life
  • Fairly cheap
  • Extremely docile
  • Readily available
  • Semi active species, especially at night



  • Excellent escape artists
  • Very wiggly during handling


# 1 — Garter Snake

Garter snake


The best beginner snake is a garter snake. Unlike most species of snakes, during the day you will find these guys constantly patrolling their enclosures and sunbathing. They are a very active, easy to handle, docile species. Garter snakes are smaller snakes, averaging around 3 feet long and living to be around 10 years old. These are one of the only species of snakes that can be housed in groups (given that you have a large enough enclosure). Squamish about feeding mice to your snakes? No worries! The garter snake can eat a huge variety of foods including mice, cut up fish fillets, feeder fish, and earthworms.



  • Small snakes
  • Easy husbandry
  • Docile temperament
  • Cohabitable (can be kept with other snakes of the same species)
  • Active during the day
  • Wide variety for diet



  • Escape artists
  • Not available at most pet stores
  • Not a large variety of morphs to choose from



Snakes make awesome pets, regardless of which species you choose. They are low maintenance and fascinating to watch. Buying a snake with its enclosure and necessities can be expensive, but once established they’re one of the cheapest pets you can own. I hope I have helped you to determine which snake will be the best match for you, and I wish you luck in your snake keeping!