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Old 02-03-21, 10:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Best beginner snakes?

Hello everyone! My name is Patrick and I am new to reptiles. I've been keeping exotic fish for about 10 years. I am really intrigued with the California Kingsnake and am leaning towards to getting one eventually. I was wondering what what snakes you recommend for a beginner? Thanks!
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Old 02-03-21, 11:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Best beginner snakes?

I recommend cali kings, corn snakes or ball pythons generally.
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Old 02-06-21, 10:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Best beginner snakes?

California kings are more often than not nippy little buggers. Some grow out of it, some are jerks for life, lol. Corns tend to be less inclined to strike or bite. Neither one will hurt, but I tend to jump/pull back when even a wee worm strikes at me. Overall, most of the king, milk, corn or other rat snake species are pretty easy to care for and get along with. No particular humidity requirements as long as you avoid extreme highs or lows.
My Japanese rat snakes are the best handling colubrids I've ever worked with, the Russians are also outgoing and calm. I wouldn't swap one of either species for a dozen Cali kings, but that's just my personal preference, lol.
African house snakes are another easy to handle and maintain option. Only concern with those, avoid imports and make sure it's a CBB snake. Imports will need to be treated for internal parasites, pretty much never accept f/t rodents, and aren't typically treated well before arriving in the US. Most imported snakes are dehydrated on arrival, and may die unexpectedly days, weeks, or even several months later.
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Old 02-07-21, 06:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Best beginner snakes?

Thank you very much! I've done a lot of research and I am starting to lean towards a 50/50 banded b&w cali king. Not 100% decided though. Has anyone done a bioactive substrate? I feel that it looks the nicest and will save me money in the long run.
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Old 02-08-21, 09:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Best beginner snakes?

In most respects, I consider corns to be the best beginner snakes. However Cal Kings are a close second. The fact that you already like them should make the choice obvious. Just understand that they can be a bit flighty and nervous, especially when younger.
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Old 02-08-21, 04:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Best beginner snakes?

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Originally Posted by Bodega aquatics View Post
Thank you very much! I've done a lot of research and I am starting to lean towards a 50/50 banded b&w cali king. Not 100% decided though. Has anyone done a bioactive substrate? I feel that it looks the nicest and will save me money in the long run.
It is very difficult to do a "true" bioactive substrate with kingsnakes.

For reference, I consider a true bioactive substrate to include a drainage layer (usually clay balls or lava rock), mesh to cover the drainage layer, a soil/sand/mulch mixture, plants, and microfauna.

Kingsnakes love to burrow and will tear apart the layering. They are also pretty good at killing many varieties of plants.

However, substrate resembling bioactive can work. I use a mix of mulch (I like cypress and coconut husk), soil (either fertilizer free topsoil or coconut coir) and moss (like sphagnum moss). Pothos plants seem to survive fairly well. The soil or pothos should come contaminated with some microfauna and you can add isopods as well. Such a combination should keep upkeep a little easier though you'll still need to spot clean about once every week or so.
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Old 02-08-21, 06:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Best beginner snakes?

I was going to with the biodude terra firma kit. It includes leaf litter, spag moss, and the fert free soil. Would something like that work?
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Old 02-11-21, 07:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Best beginner snakes?

That product would work, though it is a little expensive for what it is.

Then again, I probably mix up 40-50 lbs of substrate at a time, so it might be worth the cost if you don't have that kind of space to store extra dirt. (Or need that much dirt in the first place.)
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Old 02-18-21, 11:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Best beginner snakes?

toddnbecka wrote:
“ My Japanese rat snakes are the best handling colubrids I've ever worked with, the Russians are also outgoing and calm. I wouldn't swap one of either species for a dozen Cali kings, but that's just my personal preference, lol.”

I second this. My kingsnake is a... um, he is not easy to deal with. I still have a strong attachment to him. I just don’t like it when he attaches to me. (It doesn’t hurt but has left his marks on my hands quite a few times.

My Russian rat snake is a dream. He’s fantastic. However, the Russian needs twice the space. He is just that active. It’s not easy for many folks to give up that much space to one snake. Though it is all his activity & the fact that he’s out all day long that makes him a fantastic display animal in addition to a joy to handle.
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Old 04-07-21, 08:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Best beginner snakes?

Thanks! Obviously I was successful before but now I can't find the spot to start my own thread again, any help? Thanks!
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Old 04-08-21, 11:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Best beginner snakes?

Just choose which forum folder you want to post in, and click on the "new thread" tab at the top of the first forum page.
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Old 04-09-21, 07:29 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Best beginner snakes?

In my research, there are two really good beginner snakes:
1. Garter Snakes
2. Rosy Boas
Garters are typically more docile and don't need a WHOLE lot in their enclosures so they are great for beginners. Rosy boas (the kind I went with) are extremely docile as well. If you are looking for a snake that is on the smaller side then a rosy boa might be the way to go. The males typically only get to about 2-3 feet. I hope this helps!
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Old 04-12-21, 09:57 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Best beginner snakes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by liv2135 View Post
In my research, there are two really good beginner snakes:
1. Garter Snakes
2. Rosy Boas
Garters are typically more docile and don't need a WHOLE lot in their enclosures so they are great for beginners. Rosy boas (the kind I went with) are extremely docile as well. If you are looking for a snake that is on the smaller side then a rosy boa might be the way to go. The males typically only get to about 2-3 feet. I hope this helps!
Rosy Boas are hit or miss. I've met far too many who like to eat fingers.
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Old 04-12-21, 09:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Best beginner snakes?

I should say I'm a huge proponent of getting a re-homed snake as an adult for a pet. Corns and Kings are great. You know the temperament already so you don't have to worry about a snake who's just defensive all the time.
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