If you’re thinking about getting a new pet reptile, you’ll want to consider all of your options. While many people adopt lizards or turtles as their first pet reptiles, others choose snakes.
Snakes are a popular pet choice for many people because they don’t necessarily require daily care. As far as pets go, snakes are pretty low maintenance. Even the largest snakes only need to eat about once a week.
So, what are the largest snakes you can keep as pets?
Green anacondas, reticulated pythons, and Burmese pythons are some of the largest snakes you can keep as pets. Some of these snakes can grow to lengths of over 20 feet! Other extra-large pet snake species include red-tailed boas, coastal carpet pythons, and Dumeril’s boa.
In this article, we’ll go into detail about some of these large pet snakes and how they’re kept. First, let’s talk about some of the logistics of keeping an extra-large snake around.
Are Large Snakes Harder To Care For?
In theory, large snakes aren’t much different to care for than small snakes. In fact, many small snakes need to be fed and cleaned more often than larger snakes! And because large snakes tend to eat large prey, you only need to feed them about once every 1 to 2 weeks. Large snakes are hardy and can do very well in captivity.
Of course, there are some serious considerations to make if you’re thinking about adopting a large snake. Here are some of the things that make caring for a large snake more difficult than caring for a typical pet.
Larger snakes live longer than many pets do.
It’s typical for many large snake species, like anacondas, to live well into their 20s in captivity. That means that adopting a large snake is a serious time commitment. These large reptiles will depend on you for decades and finding another person to adopt them if you can no longer care for them can be incredibly difficult.
If you’re looking for a pet with a shorter time commitment, check out our list of reptiles with the shortest lifespans.
You’ll Need Space
It goes without saying that large snakes need plenty of room.
In a perfect world, your snake should be able to stretch out either horizontally or vertically across their enclosure. That means that one side of the enclosure should be as long as your snake.
In many cases, this isn’t realistic or even needed. More general standards of care suggest a snake’s enclosure should measure at least 2/3 of the length of a snake’s body. Even if you follow this less generous standard, you’ll still need a giant enclosure to keep your pet snake happy. Snake enthusiasts who end up adopting large species usually dedicate an entire room to them.
It Might Not Be Legal
The transportation of some large species of snake is banned in the US.
Before adopting, one of these giant reptiles, you’ll want to check into your country’s or state’s laws. Many states have banned the passage of large constrictor species as they pose a threat to local wildlife. While having these snakes as pets is still legal, it might be difficult to keep your snake with you if you’re moving in the future.
Adopting one of the largest species of snakes is no small task. If you choose to become a large snake parent make sure you do plenty of research beforehand. Now, let’s talk about just how big some of these snakes can get.
What Is The Biggest Snake In The World?
Titanoboa cerrejonensis an extinct snake species that was once the largest in the world.
Though the snake was never observed during life, fossils have been found that suggest the snake grew to a length of 43 to 47 feet long! Not much is known for sure about the snake but it’s believed that it was a pescatarian that specialized in eating fish.
Currently, the record holder for the largest living snake is the green anaconda, which we’ll talk more about below.
10 Largest Snakes You Can Keep As Pets
You can’t and wouldn’t want to keep a 40-foot-long snake as a pet. But, some of the snakes on our list below come in a close second to size when compared to titanoboa cerrejonensis. Here are some of the largest snakes that are commonly kept as pets.
1. Green Anaconda
Green anacondas are the largest snakes in the world and can reach a length of up to 30 feet!
These snakes are by no means small and can also weigh up to 550 pounds. They’re incredibly strong, and for many reasons shouldn’t be kept by novices. Within the species, females tend to be much larger than males. In captivity, a male might be a smarter pet choice simply based on size restrictions.
Green anacondas are a beautiful dark olive color that helps them camouflage in the wild. Captive raised green anacondas can be docile, but need an expert keeper to be happy and healthy.
Since these snakes are aquatic in nature, there is a question as to whether water should be provided for them in captivity. In a perfect world, a green anaconda enclosure would probably have an aquatic feature. That pool or pond would need to be quite large to fit an anaconda!
Realistically, green anacondas can only be kept by professional reptile keepers.
2. Yellow Anaconda
Yellow anacondas are much smaller than green anacondas but are still one of the largest pet snakes.
Female yellow anacondas can reportedly grow up to a length of 13 feet. Males are much smaller, and usually only grow to a length of about 5 to 7 feet as adults. Even though these snakes are much smaller than green anacondas, they’re still prohibited in many states. In Florida, for example, these snakes are considered highly invasive and are illegal to keep without a permit.
In captivity, yellow anacondas are known for their wild temperaments. These snakes are difficult to raise and tame and can be dangerous to owners. Just like any other snake, yellow anacondas, still need a hiding place in a thermal ingredient in their enclosure. Adopting one of these huge reptiles is a serious commitment, and should only be undertaken by the most experienced of keepers.
3. Reticulated Python
Reticulated pythons are a popular pet species of large snake.
In the wild, these pythons can be found dispersed throughout southern and southeast Asia. They have a beautiful sheen to their scales and a distinctive black line running down the middle of their skulls. Generally, reticulated pythons reach an adult length of about 13 to 16 feet. However, there are some examples of individuals over 20 feet long!
Just like yellow anacondas, reticulated pythons can be aggressive and difficult to handle in captivity. With their sheer size, they actually can coil around a human and suffocate them. Currently, these snakes are illegal to keep in many states without a permit. Reticulated pythons can be found both in the trees and on the ground in the wild. That means that these snakes are one of the reptiles that need a tall enclosure for climbing.
4. Burmese Python
Burmese pythons are another large snake that you can keep as a pet.
Burmese pythons are huge and can grow to a length of around 16 feet in captivity. The females of the species are slightly larger than the males. The smallest individuals of this species of snake are still a minimum of 8 feet long. Just like reticulated pythons, Burmese pythons can be found scattered throughout south and southeastern Asia.
As pets, Burmese pythons are probably the most popular large snake. That’s because they have a relatively calm temperament and can be handled. Juvenile Burmese pythons can be trained to be calm pets who tolerate handling. That being said, large snakes are still some of the hardest reptiles to keep in general.
5. Boa Constrictor (Red-Tailed Boa)
Boa constrictors or red-tailed boas are another one of the largest pet snakes.
If we’re talking about size, there is an obvious divide between males and females of the species. Females often reach an adult weight of 22 to 33 pounds in an adult length of 7 to 10 feet. Despite this average, females are often known to grow longer than 14 feet in captivity. Males are much smaller, only reaching an adult length of 6 to 8 feet in captivity, and weigh significantly less than females do.
Boa constrictors can be one of the most calm large snake species around people. They can become tame and relaxed through good handling. These snakes are also pretty low maintenance and thrive in a wide variety of climates. In the wild, boa constrictors are found dispersed throughout tropical jungles and desert-like climates. Compared to many other large snake species, boa constrictors are a more doable pet.
6. African Rock Python
African rock pythons are one of the largest constrictors people keep as pets.
African rock pythons are native to sub-Saharan Africa. Even though the snake is non-venomous, it is widely feared due to its large size and ferocious bite. Most of these pythons grow to about 10 to 16 feet long as adults. The oldest recorded individual of the species lived at the San Diego Zoo, and grew to be almost 28 years old!
African rock pythons aren’t a great pet for most people. Just like the reticulated python, African rock pythons can be quite aggressive toward humans. Their first defensive behavior is to lash out and bite when threatened. They need tons of space in their enclosures and eat large prey items for food.
7. Coastal Carpet Python
The coastal carpet python is another large snake that can be found along the coast of Australia and New Zealand.
In captivity, carpet pythons, usually grow to be around 7 to 9 feet in length. Compared to some of the larger snakes on our list today, that’s not too big! In some cases, individuals may grow up to 14 feet in length. These olive-colored snakes can weigh around 25 pounds as adults.
Coastal carpet pythons are popular, pets, especially in Australia. Because of their size, it’s still recommended that you have ample reptile-keeping experience before, taking on a coastal carpet python. But, these large snakes are hearty and have common temperaments. They do well in captivity and are non-venomous
8. Blood Python
Another large snake that can be kept as a pet is the blood python.
Blood pythons have a much more manageable size than many of the other snakes on our list today. Female blood pythons have an average length of 4 to 6 feet while males have an average length of 3 to 5 feet. Occasionally, a snake may grow to be 8 feet or longer, but that’s considered rare. These snakes are heavy and stout.
Blood pythons raised in captivity do very well as pets. They are relatively easy to handle and keep. Blood pythons have a wide variety of markings that range from yellow to red to tan and can have dorsal striping along their bodies. Even though these snakes still aren’t beginner-friendly, they’re one of the easier large snakes to take care of.
9. Dumeril’s Boa
Dumeril’s boa is a large snake native to Madagascar that can be kept as a pet.
This boa is very similar in size to the blood python above. Adult Dumeril’s boas are usually 4 to 6 feet long but can reach a length of up to 7 feet. These boas aren’t very stocky, and usually only weigh up to 20 pounds.
This snake is terrestrial and its scales show beautiful patterns that help it blend in with fallen leaves on the jungle floor. To house this large boa you’ll need a lot of horizontal space. Dumeril’s boas grow quickly and will need to be housed in full-sized enclosures for most of their lives.
10. Corn Snake
For some people, corn snakes might not be considered a large snake. However, these snakes can grow to be up to 6 feet long as adults. That means you need a 6-foot-long minimum enclosure to house one individual. In my opinion, that’s big!
On average corn snakes, usually end up being anywhere between 2 to 6 feet long as adults. Unless you know, your snake’s parentage, there’s really no way to guarantee how long they will be. It’s safer to consider a corn snake, a large species, and be over-prepared rather than be under-prepared.
As you probably know, corn snakes make great pets. They’re known for being super calm during handling and even for showing signs of affection to their human owners.
Frequently Asked Questions
The largest pet snakes range anywhere from 6 feet to 30 feet in length. Although we’ve gone into details about each of these snakes, you might still have questions. We’ll answer a few of the most frequently asked questions on the topic of large snakes below.
What Is The Biggest Size A Snake Can Get?
As we mentioned above, the biggest snake in existence is the green anaconda. Green anacondas can reach lengths of up to 30 feet and can weigh up to 550 pounds. Try to envision just how big 30 feet is. That’s like 5 to 6 full-grown adults all laying down next to each other in a row. Hopefully, you don’t end up with a pet snake this big because you just won’t have room for it.
What Pet Snakes Don’t Grow Big?
If the lengths of the largest pet snakes concern you, don’t worry. There are plenty of pet snakes that don’t grow to be too big!
Ring-necked snakes, western hognose snakes, and many kingsnakes stay small for their entire lives and can be easily housed. Some pet snakes, like the smooth green snake, are so small that they’re actually difficult to keep as pets! You can read more about pet snakes that stay small in our article here.
What Is The Hardest Pet To Take Care Of?
From our list of large snakes today the green anaconda would probably be the most difficult one to take care of. This mostly comes down to size restrictions because you would need an entire room to house one. In general, chameleons can be some of the more difficult reptiles to take care of. Chameleons are incredibly sensitive to their environments and don’t thrive in captivity.
Among the largest snakes you can keep as pets there’s so much variety!
Large snakes range from the 30-foot-long, aggressive, aquatic green anaconda all the way to the 8-foot-long and docile boa constrictor. One thing all large pet snakes have in common is their high level of difficulty in keeping. Not only do these snakes need an expert keeper with plenty of room to grow, but they also live incredibly long lives and may even be illegal to keep in your area.
Before you even think about adopting one of these giant reptiles it’s important to do your research. A large snake is a full-time 30-year commitment that will definitely make your life more difficult. But, if you’re willing to put in the resources, it’s possible that owning one of these large snakes could be just what you were looking for!