Top 3 Best Snakes for Beginners

The time has come to finally begin researching your first snake. While this is an exciting time, it’s important to take time to research and find the best fit for you and your skills.

To help navigate the dozens of popular snakes available as pets, I’ve created this list of the top three best beginner snakes.

These snakes are the easiest to handle, breed, and care for, making them great for those just getting started with owning snakes.

Ball Python (Python regius)

Ball python beginner snake

Ball pythons are one of the most popular snakes for owners of all experience levels—and it’s no surprise why. After all, few snakes are as beginner friendly as the ball python.

Unlike some snakes which can grow to be over ten feet long, the average size for ball pythons is between three and six feet, with females being larger than their male counterparts. This, paired with their fairly docile nature, makes handling easier, which can result in easier cleaning and feeding.

Ball pythons are also more accessible than other snake species. Most pet stores and breeders will supply healthy, well-started ball pythons.

It’s important to make sure that your ball python is captive born, as wild-caught pythons often fail to thrive in captivity.

Like with any new pet, however, it’s important to do your research before bringing a ball python into your home. While this includes learning more about their specific needs, which I’ve listed below in a quick care sheet, it can also include familiarizing yourself with the terminology and even their body language.

Ball Python Care Sheet

Average lifespan30 years
Average size4-5 feet
Minimum adult enclosure size40 gallons
DietFrozen/thawed rodents
Overall care difficultyNovice

Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata)

Rosy boa beginner snake

While the ball python may be one of the most common snakes for beginners, it’s not the only option.

In fact, rosy boas are also known for being great pets (especially for beginner snake owners) due to their temperament. They’re friendly and docile and known for being easy to handle.

Typically only growing to a maximum of 36 inches, the rosy boa is smaller than the ball python, making them one of the best small beginner snakes. There are three varieties: the Mexican rosy boa, the desert rosy boa, and the coastal rosy boa. 

Rosy boas are also good for owners looking to breed. Following a period of brumation, these snakes give birth to live young who are easy to get started.

Rosy Boa Care Sheet

Average lifespan30 years
Average size2-3 feet
Minimum adult enclosure size30 gallons
DietFrozen/thawed rodents
Overall care difficultyBeginner

Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus)

corn snake beginner pet

Corn snakes are a type of rat snakes which are known for their docile nature. While not known for being cuddly, rat snakes like this are easy to handle.

Corn snakes in particular are popular for their coloration, which resembles maize, an ancient form of corn found in the early Americas. 

While they are beginner-friendly and easy to handle, corn snakes are also known for being escape artists. As a result, it’s important to ensure you have the proper setup to secure your corn snake in its enclosure. This usually involves a lid with locking capabilities, especially since corn snakes also like to climb. 

Juvenile corn snakes, like many other pets, can begin their life with you in a ten-gallon tank. However, as they grow, their tank will need to grow as well.

Most corn snakes reach their adult size within two to three years.

It is also important to avoid pine and cedar substrate, as these materials may irritate your corn snake’s skin. 

Corn Snake Care Sheet

Average lifespan20 years
Average size4-6 feet
Minimum adult enclosure size20 gallons
DietFrozen/thawed rodents
Overall care difficultyNovice


Ball pythons, rosy boas and corn snakes are the top 3 beginner friendly snakes to start with as pets.

These 3 snakes are the easiest to care for and they stay relatively small. All three have similar diets of frozen/thawed rodents and all 3 are typically docile.

No matter which pet snake you end up getting, whether they are on this list or not, you will have the best time caring for them. They are each fun to hold and observe so pick the one that best resonates with your personality.