Owning a large snake is a uniquely thrilling reptile pet experience and allows you to appreciate these animals in an entirely different way. They are a bit more challenging to keep but are considered to be much more interesting and lively than smaller snakes. If you’ve never cared for a large snake before, the idea of keeping an animal that’s as long as you are tall can seem intimidating. Despite their stature, large snakes can be just as sweet and docile as their smaller brethren. Before we discuss what are some good large pet snakes, let’s clarify what qualifies as a “large” snake in the first place.
What’s Considered A “Large” Snake?
Since there are no formal sizing guides, trying to categorize snakes is largely subjective and can vary from person to person. Pet snake owners, in particular, tend to have an entirely different scope than that of scientists or professional breeders. So instead, it helps to determine this by making comparisons to other snakes. These animals tend to run on the small side; the average size of one is around 3 feet in length. Snakes up to 7 feet long are often considered medium-sized among the pet snake community and those bigger than that can safely be considered large.
However, length isn’t the only aspect that can get a snake species categorized as large or not. A snake’s weight or girth can also get them classified as “large”. Large snakes tend to be heavy-bodied, meaning they have a lot more heft to them. While some of the most popular medium-sized snakes can weigh an average of around 7 pounds, larger snake species can start at the 20-pound mark. If you take both weight and length into consideration, some snake species toe the line and can fall into either camp of either large or medium-sized. Ball pythons are a great example of this as they are considered to be medium-length heavy-bodied snakes.
The Best Large Pet Snakes Species
The majority of the large snake species you will come across will hail from the Boidae (boas) or Pythonidae (python) family. In fact, these two families house all ten of the world’s largest snakes including the biggest and heaviest snake in the world (the anaconda) and the longest snake in the world (the reticulated python).
Naturally, not all of the species within these families are suitable as pets. A snake that’s too big can be unwieldy and make it difficult to properly care for. Further, snakes tend to be more aggressive the larger they get which can make them even more difficult to manage. That’s why the best large pet snakes aren’t simply the biggest ones. The key is to choose a species with a calm, mild temperament and hit the sweet spot of being big but not unmanageable. You can find these and many other large snakes for sale online:
Colombian Red Tail Boa (Boa constrictor imperator)
Also known plainly as “boa constrictor”, this snake is one of the few species whose scientific name is identical to its common name (so don’t get confused when we refer to other boas). They are the most popular type of boa constrictor in the pet trade and are favored for being very docile but lively and entertaining. They have a reputation for being much more curious than your average snake which makes them a lot of fun to watch. The average size of a red-tailed boa is between 5-7 feet, although the females are larger and on average grow up to 10ft. There are several red tail boa morphs to choose from.
The Suriname boa is a rare beauty that is coveted by snake enthusiasts. There is a lot of natural variation in their distinctive color patterns which is one of the reasons why they are so popular. The females are larger than the males and average between 6-8 feet. They are naturally very calm and low maintenance. They do very well with humans and are more social than your average snake.
Carpet Python (Morelia Spilota)
The carpet python is a great intermediary choice as a species that’s right on the cusp of being a medium or large snake. That starts averages around 6.5 but can go up to 13ft. They are known for being lively, active, and curious. They have a reputation for being nippy, however, this is often just when they are younger, a behavior common with juveniles of many other snake species. Contrary to rumors, carpet pythons are very capable of being calm and docile towards their owners.