I am considering buying a snake as a pet but want to do some research before hand. I have had a vivaruim built which should house it till its older. It is 4 foot long 3 foot tall and 2 foot deep. Ventilation at the back of the unit at either side. 2 small watt light bulbs (red) just for effect really. Heat mat covering one third of the tank to the right. Many hiding caves etc. Nothing of height (i.e.. branches, should these be added?) And children's play sand at the bottom. I intend to feed the snake in a separate tank so it doesn't digest any sand. Oh and also sliding glass doors with a tank lock.

I have the choice of 2 snakes, firstly a corn snake and secondly a rat snake. Which one would suit a beginner like me better? Are the rat snakes more temperamental? Does my set up sound OK before I purchase.

Thank you for your time in replying
Joy
1 2
I am considering buying a snake as a pet but want to do some research before hand. I have had ... snakes more temperamental? Does my set up sound OK before I purchase. Thank you for your time in replying Joy

Either one would be good. They have similar temperment. get one of each.
Your setup sounds very nice. Functional as well.
You mention that you can select from only two different snakes. First of all, a corn snake is a rat snake. As far as the ratsnake genus (elaphe) goes, the corn is a good choice.
However:
There are other snakes that in my opinion make better first "pet" snakes, and I use the word "pet" very gingerly. When asked, I always recommend Florida kingsnakes (floridana, not brooksi) as a first snake.
Their temperaments are excellent, they tolerate excessive handling well (ratsnakes sometimes don't), they're attractive to a degree, they get large enough (5ft) to be showy animals and they feed well.

These snakes are common in the pet trade, but usually more common through dealers like GladesHerp. You shouldn't be paying more than $50.00 or so for an adult.
If not, go with the cornsnake, but go easy on the handling until the animal is acclimated and feeding.
If buying from a petshop, check the animal over carefully for mites, ticks,depressions along the body (broken ribs) or other trauma, traces of unshed skin and check the vent for any type of protruding tissue or fecal matter.
Ask that the snake be handed over to you for inspection. Any petshop that refuses this demand should not be patronized. The snake should feel solid and should move about, tongue flicking, aware of it's surroundings.

Do not, under any circumstances, buy an animal because you feel sorry for it or because it looks or acts sick. This reinforces the "move the livestock" mindset that many petshops have.
Good animals can indeed be bought from petshops with a little care in selection. I've had my female boa for nineteen years, she's had 5 litters of young and has never needed to see a veterinarian.

I bought her for $100.00 in 1985 from a petshop.
Good luck and congratulations !
Cheers,
Kurt Schatzl
http://www.neherp.com
Massachusetts
Good animals can indeed be bought from petshops with a little care in selection. I've had my female boa for ... never needed to see a veterinarian. I bought her for $100.00 in 1985 from a petshop. Kurt Schatzl http://www.neherp.com Massachusetts

Hey Kurt! I bought my boa for $69 (or maybe $89, not sure anymore) in 1986 from a petshop! Emotion: smile Have also never taken her to a vet, but never bred her. The shop I got her from was the only one in town (Great Falls, MT) that specialized in reptiles. Unfortunately, it didn't last long, as there weren't enough people like me in that sparsely-populated area.

Cindy
I will leave other experts to talk about your setup, although it sounds basically okay to me.
Rat snakes and Corn snakes are more or less the same thing, so I would pick which one you want individually. Meet them, handle them a little, see what they look like, check out their health and whether or not they have any injuries or mites. If they're babies, make sure they're eating regularly already and shedding normally.
Both are good snakes for beginners, good temperments and good eaters for the most part.
Good luck!
I am considering buying a snake as a pet but want to do some research before hand. I have had ... snakes more temperamental? Does my set up sound OK before I purchase. Thank you for your time in replying Joy

Tah tah.
TK
^
/(o o)\

oOO

( )

OOo

http://www.tktv.net
Your setup sounds very nice. Functional as well. You mention that you can select from only two different snakes. First ... dealers like GladesHerp. You shouldn't be paying more than $50.00 or so for an adult. snipped Kurt Schatzl http://www.neherp.com Massachusetts

While I am not disagreeing with you about the species Kurt, I do have to mention that Glades has a $100 minimum order, fairly high packing fees and that a lot of their animals are wild caught. I have used them before, and have never had any bad animals come from them, but that is something important to know before counting on purchasing from them.
I am considering buying a snake as a pet but want to do some research before hand. I have had ... snake is out of the question. owever I appreciate your help and will keep you informed how i get along.

God Bless
Joy
I have the choice of 2 snakes, firstly a corn snake and secondly a >rat snake. Which one would suit a beginner like me better? Are the >rat snakes more temperamental?

Corn snake. The only snakes I've kept are a yearling corn which I've had for a year and a royal python aged about 4-5 months old which I've had for two months, I've no experience with ratsnakes so I can't offer any advice on them, but I've heard that some species can be tempermental. Most of the corns I've handled (including my own) have wonderful temperments, the only pissy one was a candycane that stuck at my hand (and got my jacket sleeve) when I was putting a pretty male okeetee back in the cage they shared with a striped corn. (I'm thinking of buying the okeetee as a boyfriend for my female corn).
Corns are easy to keep and have wonderful temperments. I've seen the Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin pick up a wild corn that behaved impeccably when he held it.
Corns are easy to keep and have wonderful temperments. I've seen the Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin pick up a wild corn that behaved impeccably when he held it.

You've never seen a wild corn, then. Emotion: smile Corns can be as feisty as any other US rat snake (but TX rats take the cake).
I like Steve a lot, but some of his "finds" are docile because they're so cold.
Show more