15 Pet Snakes That Are Active During the Day (And Some Wild Ones Too!)

snakes that aren't nocturnal

No doubt one of the many reasons you wanted to get a pet snake was to watch it hunt, roam about its territory, and observe all the quirky things it likes to do. Unless you’re a night owl yourself though, you may be disappointed to find out that there are a lot of popular pet snake species that are nocturnal and end up spending all day hiding.

Are there any pet snakes that are active during the day? In other words, which snakes aren’t nocturnal?

Plenty of snake species are considered diurnal, or active in the daytime, including those that make great pets such as king snakes, corn snakes, rat snakes, and more. These reptiles will actively hunt and interact with you during daylight hours and snooze once the sun goes down.

Let’s take a look at fifteen awesome pet snakes that will entertain you during waking hours so you don’t have to stay up past sunset just to see what kind of mischief your reptilian buddy likes to get up to!

#1. King Snakes

In the wild, king snakes are typically diurnal during the cooler seasons of spring and fall, shifting to nocturnally active during the hot summer months. If you want your king snake to be out and about during the day, make sure to keep its enclosure low in humidity and temperature. You’ll know that its tank is too hot if it starts hiding during the day and roaming around at night.

Overall, there is a lot to see from young king snakes especially, who love to climb around logs and small branches. Adults become less active as they get older but will still grace you with their presence during the daylight hours.

#2. Milk Snakes

In addition to being daytime snakes, milk snakes are also one of the most docile and playful species of pet snake. They can typically tolerate being handled much more than other species and are overall very friendly towards their owners if they are treated well.

As long as you give a milk snake the time of day, it will give you all day to play and enjoy its company before the sun goes down.

#3. Rat Snakes

Just like milk snakes, rat snakes are easygoing pets that love to interact with their humans and are active during the day. Rat snakes also come in a wide variety of subspecies so there is almost an endless list to choose from when it comes to color variations, sizes, and other preferences.

Along with being diurnal, rat snakes are great beginner pet snakes that are fun to watch and handle at any hour of the day.

#4. Corn Snakes

Corn snakes are one of the most popular daytime snakes that are kept as pets. Like rat snakes and milk snakes, they are not very aggressive and enjoy interacting with their human owners. However, don’t expect a corn snake to just stay still.

If you wanted an interesting snake to observe during the day, a corn snake will not disappoint. These little reptiles are constantly on the move and love to climb, so there is always a source of entertainment, no matter what time of day, to be had from your corn snake.

#5. Carpet Pythons

Carpet pythons require a little more care and attention as pets than some other species, but you’ll be happy to note that they like to roam around and show off during the daytime. Most people love these snakes because of their gorgeous coloring but be aware that they can be a bit more prone to escaping than more docile snakes.

Whether active or just basking around in the light of their heat lamp, carpet pythons will happily display themselves during daylight hours as opposed to other snakes who may be prone to hiding.

#6. Green Tree Pythons

Green tree pythons are more active overall when they are younger. You will find that juvenile green tree pythons will actively climb trees in their enclosures and roam around looking for food when the sun’s out and snoozing during the nighttime.

As adults, green tree pythons are less inclined to move around. However, they still enjoy being out in the open during the day. You’ll often find them on display coiled up and draping over a tree branch for everyone to see.

#7. Carpondro Pythons

Carpondro pythons are the hybrid offspring of carpet pythons and green tree pythons. Since both of the parent species are known to be diurnal, it’s no surprise that their children also enjoy moving around during the day.

It’s a good thing that carpondro pythons like to show off in the light of the sun because the incredible markings on this hybrid snake are worth showing off!

#8. Woma Pythons

Of all the python species that make good pets, woma pythons are one of the most active and the most tolerant when it comes to handling. They love to climb and are very docile. While most of them are nocturnal, some woma pythons would rather roam around and interact during the day rather than at night.

If you want a diurnal woma python, check with the breeder or pet store you get your snake from to make sure its circadian rhythm matches up with yours.

#9. Garter Snakes

Garter snakes are one of the best pet snakes because they are small, active, nonvenomous, and best of all, diurnal. These little critters will not miss an opportunity to bask in the sunlight and hunt for prey during the day.

They are not shy at all when it comes to grabbing a bite in the middle of the day. They may curl up undercover for a bit of a nap, but they won’t stay still for too long. You will definitely not want for entertainment with a garter snake.

#10. Hognose Snakes

Hognose snakes not only have cute faces, but they enjoy being up with the sun. While these snakes make great pets, they are also very territorial and will not be caught snoozing on the job. When they aren’t hunting, you can observe hognose snakes patrolling their territory making sure that no one is encroaching on their home.

Sometimes you will also find hognose snakes burrowing in the sand, but don’t be fooled. They aren’t trying to escape from you; this is simply another tactic for catching any intruders unawares. Either way, you’ll get a great front seat for your hognose snake’s natural activities without needing to set your alarm for the middle of the night.

#11. Gopher Snakes

Gopher snakes are great beginner snakes to own as a pet. They are similar to rattlesnakes in that they will shake their tails if they feel threatened, but they aren’t venomous like rattlesnakes and are much more docile.

Better yet, they like to be awake during the day if they are in a cooler environment or during cooler seasons like spring and fall. If the temperature heats up too much, like in the summertime, they will switch from being diurnal to nocturnal. As long as your snake’s enclosure isn’t overheated, you should be able to enjoy your gopher snake during waking hours.

#12. Eastern Indigo Snakes

Eastern indigo snakes are a fascinating species that will eat almost any type of animal you put in front of it from frogs to birds to small mammals to other snakes. It’s very entertaining to watch them hunt and the best part of all is that they are active during the day.

While some snakes refuse to come out of hiding during the daylight hours even for food, Eastern indigo snakes will jump at the chance to hunt their prey in the full light of day.

#13. Rough Green Snakes

If you are looking for a beautiful snake that climbs trees, blends in with its surroundings, and does all this during the day, the rough green snake is for you. If you put some low-hanging branches and logs for your snake to slither up, you can watch it roam around in the full light of the sun.

When you go to bed, your rough green snake will turn in as well and greet you in the morning when the sun rises.

#14. Fox Snakes

Fox snakes are another species that remain active during the day as long as the temperature is suitable. If it becomes too hot or too cold, they will switch to a nocturnal pattern. While fox snakes will naturally change their circadian rhythm in the wild with the progression of the seasons, you can ensure your fox snake stays diurnal by keeping an optimal temperature in its enclosure.

#15. False Water Cobras

If you’re looking for an unusual snake to keep as a pet and you have the room, false water cobras are definitely a go-to choice. These snakes reach a considerably large size, so you’ll need a roomy enclosure. However, you’ll be rewarded for your decision since false water cobras are diurnal and love to climb, swim, and burrow.

If you give your snake a complex environment to explore, you can watch him all day long instead of having to wait for the sun to go down.

Wild Snakes That Are Diurnal

Snake species that make good pets aren’t the only ones that can be diurnal. Many wild snakes also remain active during the day and sleep at night. These types of snakes rely on their eyesight to hunt and many of them are venomous.

Rattlesnakes, black mambas, brown snakes, king cobras, and Darevsky’s viper are among those who prefer the daytime rather than night to roam around and hunt.

Watch as these bikers encounter a rattlesnake just hanging out in the middle of a trail during the full light of day:

It’s important to note that these are all dangerous species, and you should be on the lookout for them if you are in an area where they live, especially during the day.


Although many common pet snakes like ball pythons and boas are nocturnal creatures, there are more than a few snake species that sleep at night just like you. And if snakes aren’t your thing, there are more than a few other reptiles that are active during the day.

These diurnal species include king snakes, milk snakes, several python species, and more. The advantages of owning a daytime active snake are endless since you get to witness their hunting behavior, interact with them, and enjoy the full benefits of being a snake owner.

Keep in mind though that pet snakes aren’t the only kinds of snakes that are active when the sun is up. Many venomous snakes also prefer the light of day because they rely on their eyesight and the poison in their fangs to help them efficiently capture food.

No matter what kind of snake you are looking for, you can find a plethora of options if you want a reptilian buddy who matches your sleep cycle.