I want a snake!

Well, it’s the end of the school year and I have given away my third rat (every year, we get a new class mascot–a rat these past 3 years–and a name is drawn from a hat to see which child, with parent permission, gets to take the rat home to keep). Rats are cute, but they aren’t my thing. I miss my snake. I don’t want a rat–I want something that eats rats.

In college I had a 3’ ball python named Jezebel. I first had a 10" hatchling corn snake who managed to climbed up the heat rock power cord and squeeze out a tiny hole (so some college coed is going to move into that apartment and find a 5’ snake in their bedroom…). However, Jezzy was the best. She would just wrap around my wrist and hang out while I’d do laundry, study, wash dishes, etc. She never so much as threatened to strike, and was just a wonderful pet. To demonstrate her gentleness to my more squeamish friends, I’d gently take her head and open her mouth to show them her teeth; though she didn’t appreciate this, she tolerated it. (Opening the mouth is crucial to snake care, anyway–to check for anemia, mouth rot, etc.) I sold her my senior year in college–money sucks around that time–and man, I miss her.

I’ve been itching for a snake again. Other reptiles are more fragile to keep, excepting turtles–but turtles are notorious for carrying salmonella. (Snakes have that risk as well, but it is significantly lower risk–their digestive tracts aren’t as conducive.) And I like snakes, dammit. I went by a pet shop specializing in reptiles today and just fell in love with the baby corn snakes. The ball pythons were quite skittish and actually tried to strike a few times; the rat snake was a hyper brat; the Texas kingsnake couldn’t even be taken out of the cage. But those 8mo old corn snakes were wonderful. I loved having them entwined in my fingers and around my wrist…ah, man, I want a snake!

This snake would be a classroom pet (I’ll probably feed him/her when the students aren’t present to avoid scarring any young psyches), and in this case, I wouldn’t mind keeping him/her during the summer (as opposed to a rat–blech).

No particular reason for sharing that…except I like snakes. I want a snake. And uh…anyone out there own a snake? Have a recommendation in my ball python vs. corn snake quandary?

:slight_smile: …(snakes are cool)…

Snakes rule. Turtles–just sort of sit there. I’ve had both painted turtles and box turtles, and snakes are a lot more fun.

Snakes are easier to clean up after, especially compared to water turtles, where you have to do the whole water tank thing (major icky).

Biggest drawback to corn snakes (speaking from personal experience) is that they are true escape artists, and they’re so skinny, you’d be amazed at the tiny cracks in the lid they can escape through. You don’t want to hear about our pitiful and embarrassing track record concerning corn and garter snake escapes.

If I ever did get another snake, I would definitely go with a ball python, for that reason. For another thing, I hear that they’re much happier to stay in the darn tank in the first place. And easier to track down if they do get out.

Downside–very expen$ive compared to corn snakes or garter snakes, which are free. Downside to free garter snakes–they eat earthworms, which you can either buy from a bait store (getting weird looks from the proprietor–“going fishing?” “No, I just need to feed my snake” “…riiight…”), dig from the garden (no way you can keep up), or raise yourself in a worm farm (the biggest reason why I eventually said “no more garter snakes” was having a big smelly Rubbermaid container of earthworms and peat moss and potato peelings down in the basement. It just got kind of old, you know?)

P.S. We had a rat, too, but he died of old age. I still miss him. He asked for very little from life.

I have a Ball Python, which I’ve had for 6 years since it was a baby. I love it.

I haven’t owned any other kind of snake, so I can’t really make a recommendation for a different snake. However, my friend has a Burmese Python, which I’ve handled and fed. It’s very tame, and he enjoys it as well. Since you’ve already had a Ball, maybe you can try the Burmese.

Burmese pythons are monsters–adults reach upwards of 20’. I don’t want a pet that grows large enough to be able to, and probably want to, eat my cat. :slight_smile:

A red-tail boa is also interesting, but can also get a little large for my tastes at 6-10ft. An exceptionally large ball python, wild caught, will be around 5-6’. Most are in the 3-5’ range, which is much more in line with what I’d want. The corn snakes can be just about as long, but appear longer because of their more sinewy shape. When I switched from the corn snake to the ball python, I was thrilled. Still, I had a bad experience with a hatchling ball python–she was wild-caught and infected with parasites. Let me tell you, there is no smell more foul than snake barf, especially after it’s been marinating for a few days in the poor snake’s digestive tract.

Jez was a 2’ juvenile when I bought her…and apparently, they are harder to come by. Frick. I guess I’ll just keep my eyes open.

Snakes are wonderful pets. True fact; one of the most popular kiddie programs we offer is from the “snake man”, who comes in, talks and then lets people make friends w/ the snakes.

It’s a hoot; at first there are a lot of screams and squeals but pretty soon the whole bunch of us are cuddling reptiles, having them fall asleep around our necks, etc. I almost absconded with a great blacksnake who conked out around my shoulders. (I was wearing a black dress, and the sweetie curled up, got warm, blended in and fell asleep.)

They are magnificent animals, and kudos to you for knowing that.

Enough burbling…I’m far from an expert, but corn snakes are great. The blue snake I met particularly winsome, but he was ready to molt so maybe he was especially mellow. FWIW, the pythons etc. are great, but (apologies to Michael Moore) feeding them live rodents gives me pause. Irrational, I know. So sue me, I like rats and mice, too.

This didn’t add much info to the OP, but just thought I’d chime in. Snakes are purely great critters, though I still steer away from venemous species.


Maybe it’s none of my business, but will a corn snake eat a gerbil?

If so, I’m here to tell you that I have a deep and abiding affection for these creatures.

Ball pythons are cool, and don’t get too big either. I used to work at a zoo and we got quite a few calls from people wanting to unload boas, iguanas and larger pythons on us. Boas can get up to 12’, iguanas up to 6’ when mature.

I had a black rat snake and she was very skittish - not one I’d recommend. She did eat hamsters, though - is that close enough to a gerbil for you, Wally? :wink:


love snakes too :slight_smile:

i dont know if i would get one though… kinda high maintainance.

i also like lizards a lot

<enter Luke>
<Luke spies telephone box>
<Luke changes into imitation boy and pretends to be the Barenaked Ladies>

… haven’t you always wanted a sna-ake …

<Luke bows his head in shame … it didn’t work did it?>

change is coming