The Ultimate Guide to Keeping a Pet Ringneck Snake

ringneck snake as a pet

I am excited to share with you my knowledge and experience on keeping a ringneck snake as a pet. For those looking for a unique and low-maintenance companion, a ringneck snake may be the perfect fit.

Ringneck snakes have become increasingly popular as pets due to their small size, fascinating appearance, and docile nature. As a beginner pet snake, they are a great choice for those new to snake ownership.

Key takeaways:

  • Ringneck snakes are a unique and interesting choice for a pet.
  • They are suitable for beginners and require minimal care.

Why Choose a Ringneck Snake as a Pet?

If you’re considering a small pet snake, the ringneck snake is an excellent choice. As a beginner pet snake, ringneck snakes are easy to care for and provide a unique companion. Here are some of the reasons why you should choose a ringneck snake as a pet:

  • Small size: Ringneck snakes are relatively small, averaging between 10-15 inches in length, making them easy to handle and perfect for those with limited space.
  • Low-maintenance: Compared to other pet snakes, ringneck snakes require minimal maintenance. They do not need a large enclosure, and their feeding schedule is uncomplicated.
  • Docile nature: Ringneck snakes have a gentle temperament, making them suitable for children and novice pet owners.
  • Fascinating markings: Ringneck snakes have distinctive markings, with a bright yellow or orange belly and a dark band around their neck, making them a visually appealing addition to any home.

In summary, ringneck snakes make great pets for those new to snake ownership or anyone wanting a unique, low-maintenance companion.

Getting Started: Caring for Ringneck Snakes

Ringneck snakes are easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for beginner pet snake owners. However, it’s important to provide them with the appropriate care and environment to ensure their health and well-being.

Feeding: Ringneck snakes typically eat small insects, earthworms, and slugs. They can also be fed small rodents, such as pinkie mice, but this should be done sparingly. Feed adult snakes once or twice a week, and juvenile snakes more frequently.
Handling: Ringneck snakes are docile and easy to handle, but they can be shy and may try to hide. When handling them, be gentle and calm to avoid stressing them out. Make sure to support their body and avoid squeezing them.
Health: Ringneck snakes are generally healthy, but they may be prone to certain health issues, such as respiratory infections or mites. Regularly inspect them for any signs of illness, such as wheezing or skin irritation, and seek veterinary care if necessary.

It’s also important to provide ringneck snakes with the appropriate habitat. Keep them in an enclosure that’s at least 20 gallons, with a substrate of coconut fiber or bark. Maintain a temperature range of 70-80°F and humidity levels of 50-70% to ensure their comfort.

Overall, caring for ringneck snakes is relatively simple, as long as you provide them with the proper care and environment they need to thrive.

Creating the Perfect Habitat for Your Ringneck Snake

When setting up a habitat for your ringneck snake, it’s important to take into account their specific needs. Here are some guidelines to follow:

Enclosure size: A 20-gallon tank is suitable for one adult ringneck snake, while a larger tank is recommended for multiple snakes. The enclosure should be longer than it is tall, as ringneck snakes are burrowing creatures.
Temperature: The enclosure should have a temperature gradient, with a warm side between 82-85°F and a cool side between 72-75°F. Use an under-tank heating pad or ceramic heat emitter to maintain the temperature. A digital thermometer is recommended to monitor the temperature.
Humidity: The enclosure should have a humidity level between 50-60%. Mist the enclosure daily and provide a water dish to keep the humidity level stable.
Hiding spots: Ringneck snakes need multiple hiding spots in their enclosure. You can use half logs, cork bark, or plastic hides to create hiding spots.
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It’s important to clean the enclosure regularly to prevent bacterial growth and maintain a healthy environment for your snake. Change the substrate at least once a month and disinfect the enclosure with a reptile-safe cleaner. Your ringneck snake will thrive in a clean and comfortable environment.

Feeding Your Ringneck Snake

Feeding your ringneck snake is relatively easy as they have a simple diet and do not require frequent feedings. In the wild, these snakes primarily eat small insects, worms, slugs, and snails. In captivity, they can be fed a variety of prey, including pinky mice, small crickets, and mealworms.

The frequency of feeding will depend on the age and size of your snake. Hatchlings and young snakes should be fed more frequently, while adult snakes can be fed less often. Aim to feed your snake once every 4-7 days.

When offering food to your ringneck snake, it is important to use tongs or another utensil to avoid being mistaken for food. Live prey should also be avoided, as it can harm the snake or even attack it. Feed your snake in a separate enclosure to avoid any impaction issues on its enclosure.

Frozen versus Live Prey

Some ringneck snake owners choose to feed their pets frozen prey rather than live prey. This is a personal preference, but there are benefits to both methods. Frozen prey can be more convenient and economical, while live prey can help satisfy a snake’s natural hunting behaviors.

If feeding frozen prey, it should be thawed and warmed to room temperature before offering it to your snake. Do not microwave or boil prey as this can be dangerous for your snake.

Overfeeding and Obesity

It is important not to overfeed your ringneck snake, as obesity can lead to serious health issues such as fatty liver disease. As a rule of thumb, your snake’s food should be no wider than the widest part of its body. If your snake is showing signs of obesity, such as difficulty moving or lumps under its skin, adjust its feeding schedule and/or the size of its food.

Offering a varied diet can also help prevent obesity and ensure that your snake is getting all the necessary nutrients. Consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns about your snake’s diet or weight.

Handling and Interaction with Your Ringneck Snake

One of the joys of owning a ringneck snake is interacting with it, but it’s important to handle them with care. As with all animals, it’s crucial to approach your pet calmly, gently and with respect. When it comes to handling and interacting with your ringneck snake, it’s important to follow these guidelines:

  • Always wash your hands before and after handling your pet snake to prevent the spread of bacteria.
  • Approach your snake slowly and avoid sudden movements to prevent startling it.
  • Support your snake’s entire body when picking it up, as being suspended in mid-air can be stressful for them.
  • Avoid handling your snake for extended periods of time, as this can tire them out and cause stress.
  • Never squeeze or handle your snake too tightly, as this can cause injury or make them feel threatened.

Remember that snakes are not social animals and do not seek out interaction with humans. While they may become accustomed to being handled, they do not crave attention the way some other pets might. It’s important to respect your pet’s boundaries and not handle them more than necessary.

If your snake seems stressed or defensive, it’s best to leave them alone for a while and try again later. Some signs of stress in snakes include hissing, striking, and coiling up defensively. If you notice any of these behaviors, it’s best to back off and give them some space.

Common Health Issues and Care for Ringneck Snakes

As with any pet, ringneck snakes can develop health issues that require attention. It is important to be aware of common health issues and how to prevent and treat them.

Dehydration is a common issue in ringneck snakes. Ensure that the enclosure provides the appropriate humidity levels and access to fresh water at all times.

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Respiratory infections can occur if the enclosure is too damp or cool. Monitor the temperature and humidity levels, and clean the enclosure regularly.

Mites and ticks can also be a problem for ringneck snakes. Inspect your snake regularly and clean the enclosure thoroughly if mites or ticks are present. You may also need to treat your snake with medication prescribed by a veterinarian.

Gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation and regurgitation, can also occur in ringneck snakes. Ensure that you are providing the appropriate diet and feeding schedule, and monitor your snake’s digestive health.

If you notice any signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or abnormal behavior, seek veterinary attention immediately. Early detection and treatment can greatly improve your snake’s chances of recovery.

Handling and Interaction with Your Ringneck Snake

Handling and interacting with a ringneck snake is an important aspect of keeping them as pets. As with all snakes, it is essential to handle them gently and calmly to ensure their comfort and safety. Here are some tips for handling and interacting with your ringneck snake:

Creating a Calm Environment

Before handling your ringneck snake, it is important to create a calm environment. This means minimizing loud noises and sudden movements that may startle your pet. You can do this by turning off any loud music or television and speaking in a quiet voice. Approach your snake slowly and avoid making sudden movements.

Handling Your Ringneck Snake

When handling your ringneck snake, it is important to support their entire body. Use both hands to gently pick up your snake behind the head and support their body with your other hand. Avoid squeezing or constricting your pet, as this can cause stress and discomfort. If your snake seems agitated or uncomfortable, gently place them back in their enclosure.

Interacting with Your Ringneck Snake

Ringneck snakes are not typically social animals, but they may develop a bond with their owner over time. To interact with your snake, you can offer them food or simply observe them in their enclosure. Avoid overhandling your snake, as this can cause stress and lead to health problems.

Remember, each snake has its own unique personality, so it is important to take the time to get to know your pet and understand their behaviors.

By following these tips, you can create a safe and enjoyable environment for your ringneck snake. Remember to always treat your pet with care and respect, and never force them to interact with you if they seem uncomfortable or stressed.

Breeding Ringneck Snakes

As a ringneck snake owner, you may consider breeding your pet snake to produce offspring. Breeding ringneck snakes requires careful planning, attention to detail, and specialized knowledge about the mating behavior and reproductive needs of these snakes. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering breeding your ringneck snake:

Mating Behavior

Before attempting to breed ringneck snakes, it’s crucial to understand their natural mating behavior. In the wild, ringneck snakes typically mate in the spring, after emerging from hibernation. It’s important to mimic these conditions for your captive breeding pair, which may involve adjusting the temperature and lighting in their enclosure.

Male ringneck snakes will often engage in courtship behavior to attract a female. This can include rubbing against the female, flicking their tongue, and vibrating their tail. If the female is receptive, she may allow the male to mate with her.

Reproductive Needs

Ringneck snakes lay eggs, so it’s important to provide a suitable nesting site for the female to lay her eggs. This may involve providing a specific type of substrate, such as vermiculite, and ensuring that the temperature and humidity are at the appropriate levels.

After laying her eggs, the female will wrap herself around them to provide warmth and protection. The eggs will hatch after approximately 45-60 days, depending on the temperature and other environmental factors. The hatchlings will be born with a small yolk sac, which will provide them with nutrition during their first few days of life.


Breeding ringneck snakes requires a significant amount of preparation and expertise. It’s important to ensure that both the male and female snakes are healthy and in good condition before attempting to mate them. You should also have a plan for caring for the offspring, including providing appropriate housing and food.

Additionally, it’s important to consider the demand for ringneck snakes before deciding to breed them. Breeding snakes without a market for the offspring can lead to overpopulation and animals being surrendered to shelters or released into the wild.

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Overall, breeding ringneck snakes can be a rewarding experience for experienced keepers with the appropriate knowledge and resources. However, it’s important to carefully consider the implications and responsibilities of breeding before proceeding.

Other Considerations for Keeping Ringneck Snakes

While ringneck snakes can make great pets, there are a few additional things to consider before bringing one home.

Legal Requirements

It’s important to check the legal requirements for keeping a ringneck snake in your area. Some states or cities may have regulations on owning certain snake species, so be sure to do your research before making a purchase.

Special Behaviors

Ringneck snakes have unique behaviors that may require some additional attention. For example, they are known to burrow and hide, so it’s important to provide them with a suitable hiding spot in their enclosure. Additionally, ringneck snakes may not be as social or active as other pet snakes, so owners should be prepared for a more low-key pet.

Potential Challenges

As with any pet, there may be challenges that come with owning a ringneck snake. For example, some individuals may be picky eaters or may have difficulty acclimating to a new environment. It’s important to be patient and provide proper care for your snake to ensure its health and well-being.

Overall, while there may be a few additional considerations for owning a ringneck snake, they can make great pets for the right owner. With proper care and attention, a ringneck snake can be a unique and rewarding companion.

Introducing a Ringneck Snake to Your Home

Bringing a new pet snake into your home requires careful consideration and preparation. Here are some essential tips for introducing your ringneck snake to its new environment:

  1. Set up the enclosure. Before bringing home your ringneck snake, make sure its enclosure is properly set up and ready. Ensure that the temperature and humidity levels are at the appropriate range and that there are hiding spots for your snake to feel secure.
  2. Acclimate your snake slowly. When you bring your ringneck snake home, leave it in its enclosure for the first few days to allow it to acclimate to its new environment. Avoid handling it during this period, as it can cause unnecessary stress.
  3. Handle your snake gently. When you are ready to handle your ringneck snake, do so gently and calmly. Start with short handling sessions and gradually increase the duration as your snake becomes more comfortable with you.
  4. Quarantine your snake. If you have other reptiles at home, it’s essential to quarantine your new snake before introducing it to others. This will help prevent the spread of any diseases or parasites that your new snake may be carrying.
  5. Observe your snake’s behavior. Make sure to observe your ringneck snake’s behavior closely during the first few weeks. Look for signs of stress or illness, such as loss of appetite or lethargy. If you notice any concerning behavior, contact your veterinarian right away.

By following these tips, you can ensure a smooth and comfortable transition for your new ringneck snake into its new home.


Having a ringneck snake as a pet can be a unique and rewarding experience. These small and docile snakes are suitable for beginners and can make great companions. However, it’s important to remember that owning a pet snake requires responsibility and care.

When caring for a ringneck snake, it’s essential to provide a suitable habitat with proper temperature, humidity, and hiding spots. You’ll also need to feed your snake a diet of appropriate prey items and handle them gently and calmly to avoid stress. Additionally, it’s important to be aware of common health issues and to seek veterinary care if necessary.

If you’re considering owning a ringneck snake, be sure to do your research and understand the specific needs of this species. Providing proper care and attention will ensure a happy and healthy life for your unique companion.


Q: Why should I choose a ringneck snake as a pet?

A: Ringneck snakes make great pets because they are small in size and are suitable for beginners.

Q: How do I care for a ringneck snake?

A: Caring for a ringneck snake involves providing proper feeding, handling, and health considerations.

Q: What are the housing requirements for ringneck snakes?

A: Ringneck snakes require an appropriate enclosure size, temperature, humidity, and hiding spots.

Q: What should I feed my ringneck snake?

A: Ringneck snakes have specific dietary needs and require a proper feeding schedule.

Q: How do I safely handle and interact with my ringneck snake?

A: It is important to handle your ringneck snake gently and calmly to ensure their comfort and safety.

Q: What are common health issues that ringneck snakes may face?

A: Ringneck snakes can experience certain health issues, but with proper care, they can be prevented or addressed.

Q: How can I socialize my ringneck snake?

A: Socializing your ringneck snake is important for their well-being and involves understanding their behavior and providing appropriate interactions.

Q: What do I need to know about breeding ringneck snakes?

A: Breeding ringneck snakes requires knowledge of their mating behaviors and considerations for successful breeding.

Q: Are there any additional considerations for keeping ringneck snakes?

A: Apart from the essential care, there are legal requirements, specific behaviors, and potential challenges to be aware of when keeping ringneck snakes.

Q: How do I introduce a ringneck snake to my home?

A: Introducing a ringneck snake to your home involves proper acclimation and setting up a quarantine period.

Featured image: Bob Warrick, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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