I agree a ball python would make a great first pet snake. I have 2 and have 2 more on the way. I just love them so much! They are quite timid when young but with lots of handling they will likely become very tame.
Another good thing about ball pythons is when they feel threatened they curl into a ball hence the name, and if you are afraid of getting bit by a frightened snake then a ball would be the best choice since they rarely bite.
I have never been bit by mine and I have had my female for almost 3 years and my male a year on Nov. 4th (my birthday
). Once they are used to handling they will crawl all over the place, my female hasn't curled into a ball in almost 2 years.
I also have corns, they make excellent pets but if they are startled or frightened they are more likely to bite than a ball. My adult corns are extremely tame and never attempt to bite.
I suppose it all depends on what you want in a snake. Balls and corns get to approx. the same length, but ball pythons have a much wider girth.
Someone also mentioned garters as a first snake. I keep garters and I don't think garters make good first pets for several reasons.
1/ ppl often dont realize that unless you are giving them proper vitamin suppliments they need a varied diet or else they will become unhealthy and it could lead to serious health problems.
2/ with a varied diet ppl often have a hard time keeping them healthy because the things they eat are not commonly available and must be wild caught (amphibs, fish, worms), this increases the risk of nasty internal parasites.
3/ if feeding wc prey items and you live in an area that gets snow, you won't be able to catach fresh food in the winter.
4/ they are often quite timid as hatchlings and are quite flingy.
5/ when startled most of the time they will musk but sometimes they will bite. Mine are still quite timid and musk me almost everytime I pick them up. It won't hurt you but it stinks pretty bad.
6/ hatchlings and wc adults can be difficult to get feeding
However there are some reasons that garters make good first pets.
1/ Garters do not constrict their food so if you don't like seeing the little prey's eyes bulge out you don't have to worry about it.
2/ They stay quite small with several species staying in the 2 - 3 feet range.
3/ they do not need to feed on mice, but if you do decide to feed them mice you must scent the prey and make sure it is prekilled or it could mean disaster for the snake since they swallow live.
4/ they are really inquisitive and when you place your hand inside the tank they will often come to investigate (thats what every garter i have ever had has done) and it is really cute to see.
Whichever you decide, try to avoid wc snakes. Often they are fussy eaters, bad tempered and have nasty parasites.
If you would like more information or help finding the right snake for you, email or IM me @ email@example.com
and we'll talk.