The Best Non-Venomous Snakes for Your Home

pet snakes that are harmless

Are you considering adding a pet snake to your household? If you are a beginner to reptile ownership, it’s essential to choose a species that is easy-going, low maintenance, and, most importantly, harmless. The good news is that pet snakes that are harmless exist, and they make perfect companions for first-time snake owners.

In this section, I’ll discuss non-venomous pet snakes that pose no harm to humans and provide a safe reptile experience. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to select the best pet snake breed for you.

Key Takeaways:

  • It’s essential to choose a harmless pet snake if you are a beginner to reptile ownership.
  • Non-venomous pet snakes are a safe option for first-time snake owners.
  • The article will introduce different species of harmless pet snakes, including corn snakes, ball pythons, garter snakes, kingsnakes, milk snakes, and rosy boas.

Choosing the Right Pet Snake for Beginners

As a beginner snake owner, it’s important to choose a species that is safe, easy to care for, and manageable for handling. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting your first pet snake:

  1. Temperament: Look for snakes with a calm and docile temperament. Avoid species known for aggression or high activity levels, as they may be harder to handle and require more space to move around.
  2. Size: Consider the adult size of the snake. Larger species may require more space and have different feeding requirements. Start with a small to medium-sized snake that is easier to manage and care for.
  3. Enclosure: Choose a species that can thrive in a suitable enclosure in your home. Research the specific requirements for housing, temperature, and humidity to ensure the health and well-being of your snake.
  4. Feeding: Opt for species that are easy to feed and have a simple diet. Avoid snakes that require live prey or have complex dietary needs.
  5. Availability: Ensure that the species you are interested in is legal and readily available in your area. Do your research and find a reputable breeder or pet store to purchase from.

Some of the easiest pet snakes to handle include corn snakes, ball pythons, garter snakes, and kingsnakes/milk snakes. These species are known for their calm and friendly nature, making them ideal for beginners.

Choosing the Right Pet Snake for Children

If you’re choosing a pet snake for a child, it’s important to select a species that is safe and easy to handle. Corn snakes, garter snakes, and ball pythons are all great options for children, as they are docile and non-venomous. However, children should always be supervised when handling snakes and taught how to handle them properly.

Corn Snakes: A Friendly and Popular Choice

Corn snakes are one of the most popular pet snakes and make excellent companions for beginners. They are docile, friendly, and easy to care for, making them a great option for those just starting out in the world of pet snakes.

One of the most appealing qualities of corn snakes is their low maintenance requirements. They do not need elaborate heating or lighting setups and can thrive in a simple enclosure with a few hiding spots and climbing branches. Corn snakes are also relatively small, growing to an average length of about 4-5 feet, making them easy to handle and feed.

Aside from their easy care, corn snakes are known for their friendly nature and calm demeanor. They rarely show aggression or defensive behavior, and with consistent handling, can become quite comfortable around their owners. They are also known for their beautiful, vibrant coloring, which varies greatly between individual snakes.

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If you’re looking for a friendly and popular pet snake that is easy to care for, a corn snake may be the perfect choice for you.

Ball Pythons: Gentle Giants of the Snake World

Ball pythons are known for their gentle demeanor and make excellent pets for both beginner and experienced snake owners. They are typically docile and slow-moving, making them easy to handle and interact with. Their small size also makes them easy to care for and a great option for those with limited space.

These snakes can live up to 30 years in captivity and require a terrarium with appropriate lighting and heating. They are also known to be picky eaters, so it’s important to establish a consistent feeding schedule and offer a variety of prey.

“Ball pythons make great pets for those looking for a gentle and low-maintenance pet snake.”

While they are generally low-maintenance, ball pythons do require regular handling to ensure they remain comfortable with human interaction. Taming a ball python can take time and patience, but with consistent handling and positive reinforcement, they can become quite comfortable around their owner.

Overall, ball pythons are a wonderful option for those seeking a gentle and manageable pet snake. Their docile nature and ease of care make them a great choice for both beginners and advanced snake enthusiasts.

Garter Snakes: Active and Harmless Species

If you’re looking for a pet snake that’s both active and harmless, a garter snake might be the perfect choice for you. These non-venomous snakes are known for their slender bodies, small size, and playful personalities. They’re also one of the easiest snake species to care for, making them an excellent option for beginners.

Garter snakes come in a variety of colors and patterns, including green, brown, and black. Some have stripes or spots, while others have a more solid coloration. They’re active during the day and enjoy basking in the sun, so providing a heat lamp or a basking area in their enclosure is a must.

These snakes are also great for snake owners of all ages. They have a friendly disposition and enjoy interacting with their owners. However, it’s important to note that garter snakes are fast-moving, so handling them requires a bit of skill and patience. It’s also recommended to supervise children when handling garter snakes to ensure safe interaction.

Pros Cons
Active and playful personalities May bite if threatened or mishandled
Easy to care for Require a specific temperature range in their enclosure
Non-venomous and harmless to humans May escape if enclosure not secured properly

Garter snakes have a varied diet, mainly consisting of small rodents, fish, and insects. Their enclosure should include a hiding spot and a water dish, which should be changed frequently to prevent bacterial growth. Their substrate can be aspen shavings, reptile carpet, or newspaper.

Overall, garter snakes are a great choice for beginners looking for a friendly, active, and harmless pet snake. With proper care and handling, these snakes can make delightful and entertaining companions.

Kingsnakes and Milk Snakes: Colorful and Gentle

Kingsnakes and milk snakes are both members of the genus Lampropeltis, and they are known for their calm and docile nature, making them excellent choices for beginners. These snakes are also popular among seasoned snake enthusiasts for their unique and vibrant patterns.

Kingsnakes are usually around 3-4 feet long, while milk snakes can grow up to 5 feet long, but both species are relatively easy to handle and care for. They are non-venomous and have been bred in captivity for generations, which makes them less likely to become stressed or aggressive compared to wild-caught species.

The Beauty of Kingsnakes and Milk Snakes

Kingsnakes and milk snakes are known for their striking color and pattern combinations. Kingsnakes have a wide range of colors, from red and yellow to black and white, while milk snakes often have a bold, bright red saddle marking on a lighter background.

Their vivid appearance makes them popular among snake enthusiasts, and breeders have developed many different patterns, including striped, banded, or speckled variations.

Caring for Kingsnakes and Milk Snakes

Kingsnakes and milk snakes are relatively low maintenance, but they still require proper care to thrive. They need a secure and appropriately sized enclosure with a heat source and hiding places. A controlled temperature gradient is also important for their health and well-being.

Feeding is also straightforward, as both species are generalist eaters and accept a variety of prey items, such as rodents or chicks. However, it’s crucial to provide the right size of food to avoid regurgitation or other health issues.

Handling and Taming Kingsnakes and Milk Snakes

Handling kingsnakes and milk snakes is relatively easy, but it’s essential to approach them gently and confidently. These snakes are known for their calm temperament, but they can become stressed or defensive if handled too roughly or frequently.

When taming kingsnakes and milk snakes, it’s crucial to be patient and consistent. Start by handling them for short periods every day and gradually increase the duration. Offering food and avoiding sudden movements can also help build trust between the snake and the owner.

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Kingsnakes and Milk Snakes: Colorful and Gentle

If you’re looking for a pet snake that is visually stunning and gentle, kingsnakes and milk snakes are excellent options. These snakes are popular for their calm temperament, ease of care, and the variety of vibrant patterns they offer.

Kingsnakes and milk snakes are non-venomous and pose no harm to humans, making them great pets for beginners. They are hardy and relatively easy to care for, making them low-maintenance pets.

One of the most attractive features of kingsnakes and milk snakes is their bold and colorful patterns. These snakes come in a variety of colors, including red, black, yellow, and white, and often have stripes, bands, or spots. Their stunning coloration makes them a favorite among snake enthusiasts.

Kingsnakes and milk snakes are also known for their docile nature. They are unlikely to become aggressive or defensive if handled properly, making them a great option for children or novice snake owners. With gentle handling and regular interaction, kingsnakes and milk snakes can become very tame and easy to handle.

When it comes to care requirements, kingsnakes and milk snakes are relatively easy to care for. They need a secure enclosure that mimics their natural habitat, with a temperature gradient and appropriate hiding places. They are primarily carnivores and feed on rodents, which can be purchased frozen from most pet stores.

If you’re looking for a visually striking and gentle pet snake, consider getting a kingsnake or milk snake. With their bright colors and docile nature, they are sure to be a beautiful and easy-to-care-for addition to your household.

Children and Pet Snakes: Tips for Safe Interaction

As a parent or guardian, it’s important to teach children how to interact safely with pet snakes. While most harmless species are docile and unlikely to bite, it’s crucial to supervise all interactions and teach proper handling techniques.

Choosing the Best Pet Snake for Children

When selecting a pet snake for a child, it’s essential to consider the species’ temperament, size, and behavior. The best options for children are docile, non-aggressive, and easy to handle. Corn snakes, ball pythons, and garter snakes are excellent choices due to their friendly disposition and small size.

Handling Techniques for Children

When handling a pet snake, children should always be supervised by an adult. It’s essential to teach children to approach the snake slowly and calmly, using two hands to support the snake’s weight. The snake should never be squeezed or held too tightly, as this can cause stress and potentially harm the reptile.

Building Trust with Your Pet Snake

To build trust with a pet snake, it’s essential to handle the snake consistently and provide a calm and quiet environment. Avoid sudden movements or loud noises that can startle the snake. Slowly acclimate the snake to being handled and stroked, rewarding good behavior with treats or positive reinforcement.

Final Thoughts

Keeping a pet snake can be a rewarding and educational experience for children, but it’s crucial to prioritize safety and proper handling techniques. By choosing a docile and harmless species and teaching children how to handle and care for the snake responsibly, families can enjoy the many benefits of pet ownership.

Feeding and Care for Harmless Pet Snakes

As with any pet, feeding and care are essential to ensuring the health and well-being of your harmless pet snake. Here are some tips and guidelines to help you provide the best care for your new reptilian friend.

Feeding Your Pet Snake

Most harmless pet snakes are carnivorous and require a diet of rodents, such as mice or rats. It’s important to feed your snake the appropriate size prey for their size and age. A good rule of thumb is to feed prey that is no larger than the snake’s girth. Young snakes may need to eat more frequently than adults, and some species may require live prey while others can eat frozen-thawed rodents.

It’s also important to ensure that your snake has access to fresh, clean water at all times. Provide a shallow dish that is large enough for the snake to soak in, as some species enjoy soaking in water.

Enclosure and Environment

The enclosure for your harmless pet snake should be secure, escape-proof, and appropriate for their size. Different species have different requirements for temperature, humidity, and lighting, so research their specific needs and set up their enclosure accordingly. Some snakes may require a heat source, such as a ceramic heat emitter or under-tank heating pad to maintain the proper temperature.

Provide hiding spots for your snake, as many species like to have a place to retreat and feel secure. These can be as simple as a small cardboard box or as elaborate as a reptile cave or hollow log. Keep the enclosure clean by spot-cleaning daily and doing a deep clean monthly.

Handling and Interaction

When handling your harmless pet snake, it’s important to be gentle and calm. Snakes can sense fear or stress, which can make them feel threatened and defensive. Wash your hands before handling your snake to remove any scents that may confuse or upset them. Support their entire body when picking them up, and avoid sudden movements or loud noises.

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Interact with your snake regularly to build trust and familiarity. Regular handling can help your snake become more docile and comfortable with human interaction. However, avoid handling your snake too much or too often, as they may become stressed or agitated.

By providing proper feeding and care, you can ensure a long and healthy life for your harmless pet snake. Always do your research and consult with a reptile veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions about their care.

Handling and Taming Pet Snakes

When it comes to handling and taming pet snakes, it’s important to remember that these are not like traditional domestic pets. They require a different approach and level of care to ensure their safety and well-being.

Handling Techniques

The key to successful handling of pet snakes is to approach them calmly and with care. Always ensure that you support their body weight and avoid sudden movements that may startle or stress them. It’s also important to wash your hands before and after handling your snake to prevent the spread of bacteria.

When handling your snake, keep in mind their temperament and size. Smaller snakes are generally easier to handle, while larger snakes may require multiple people for safe handling. Always use proper handling equipment, such as snake hooks or gloves, if your snake is particularly nervous or aggressive.

Taming Techniques

If you’re working to tame your pet snake, it’s important to start with small amounts of handling, gradually increasing the amount of time spent with them. Begin by offering food or treats by hand, allowing your snake to associate positive experiences with your presence.

Once your snake is comfortable with handling, you can begin to work on trust-building exercises. This may include gently stroking their scales or allowing them to explore your hands or clothing. Always be patient and allow your snake to set the pace for their progress.

Remember that taming a pet snake takes time and effort, but the end result is a rewarding and fulfilling relationship between owner and snake.

Common Misconceptions about Harmless Pet Snakes

I have seen many people hesitate to own pet snakes due to misconceptions. In this section, I will address some of the most common misconceptions about harmless pet snakes.

Myth: All Snakes are Venomous

It is a common misconception that all snakes are venomous and dangerous. However, many pet snakes are non-venomous and pose no threat to humans. It is important to research the species before purchasing a pet snake to ensure their harmless nature.

Myth: Snakes are Aggressive and Will Attack

Another misconception is that snakes are naturally aggressive and will attack their owners. In reality, most pet snakes are docile and only defensive when they feel threatened. Proper handling techniques and gradual acclimation can help build trust and prevent defensive behavior.

Myth: Snakes Need Large and Expensive Enclosures

While snakes do require proper housing, it is a myth that they need large and expensive enclosures. Many pet snakes are comfortable in smaller enclosures and have minimal husbandry requirements. It is important to research the specific species and their housing needs before purchase.

Myth: Snakes are High Maintenance Pets

Contrary to popular belief, many pet snakes are low maintenance and easy to care for. They have simple dietary needs and minimal exercise requirements, making them ideal for busy individuals or those with limited space.

“Snakes are mysterious creatures that have been misunderstood for too long. By debunking these common misconceptions, more people can enjoy the companionship of these fascinating pets.”


Throughout this article, I have introduced various species of pet snakes that are harmless and perfect for beginners. We have discussed important factors to consider when choosing a pet snake, such as temperament and handling ease, and explored the care requirements of different species.

Corn snakes, ball pythons, garter snakes, kingsnakes, milk snakes, and rosy boas have all been presented as friendly and docile options for snake enthusiasts of all ages. We have provided tips for safe interaction between children and pet snakes and discussed common misconceptions surrounding these harmless reptiles.

In caring for harmless pet snakes, it is essential to understand their dietary and environmental needs and to provide a suitable enclosure for their well-being. Handling and taming techniques require patience and consistency, but building a relationship of trust with your snake can be a rewarding experience.


Q: What are some pet snakes that are harmless?

A: Some pet snakes that are harmless include corn snakes, ball pythons, garter snakes, kingsnakes, milk snakes, and rosy boas.

Q: Are these pet snakes non-venomous?

A: Yes, all the mentioned pet snakes are non-venomous.

Q: Are these pet snakes suitable for beginners?

A: Yes, these pet snakes are perfect for beginners as they have friendly dispositions and are relatively easy to care for.

Q: What are the best pet snakes for children?

A: Garter snakes, corn snakes, and rosy boas are suitable pet snakes for children due to their docile nature.

Q: How should children interact with pet snakes?

A: Children should always be supervised when interacting with pet snakes. Proper handling techniques and age-appropriate species should be chosen.

Q: What do pet snakes eat?

A: Pet snakes typically eat rodents such as mice or rats. Their diet may vary depending on the species and size of the snake.

Q: How often should pet snakes be fed?

A: Pet snakes are usually fed once every 1-2 weeks, depending on their size and age.

Q: What is the best way to handle and tame pet snakes?

A: Handling and taming pet snakes requires patience and proper techniques. Gradual acclimation and building trust are crucial.

Q: Are there any misconceptions about harmless pet snakes?

A: Yes, there are common misconceptions about harmless pet snakes, such as them being aggressive or dangerous. In reality, they are gentle and pose no harm to humans when properly cared for.

Q: What are the main tips for caring for harmless pet snakes?

A: Proper feeding, providing an appropriate enclosure setup, maintaining the right temperature, and regular health check-ups are essential for caring for harmless pet snakes.

Featured image: Glenn Bartolotti, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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