Buying Snake – What To Consider

Excitedly, my neighbor Herbert intercepts me at the apartment door. He tells me hectically that his snake was no longer in the terrarium when he returned from work. He had it only for 3 days and now it is already gone! In the whole apartment untraceable. What should he do now? The 1.50 meter long python Robert, called Bobby, probably didn’t feel like the terrarium anymore. So that it does not happen to you as it happened to my neighbor and Bobby, I have compiled tips for the purchase of snakes and a species-appropriate attitude. In addition, you will learn what advice I give for escaped snakes and whether we were able to find Bobby again.

Buying A Snake

Before you look around on the snake market, you should be aware of which snake suits you. Therefore, thoroughly study the needs of the snake species. There are thousands of different species, each with different husbandry requirements. Snakes come from a wide variety of habitats – from the polar desert to the rainforest. Due to their origin, not only climatic conditions in the terrarium differ, but also feeding and behavioral habits. These then also have an effect on the choice and equipment of the terrarium. Therefore, first ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much space do I have to house a snake?
  • What do I need for a species-appropriate husbandry?
  • Are there any special regulations for keeping the snake?
  • Do I have enough knowledge to guarantee a good keeping?
  • How much money do I want to spend – keeping and running costs?
  • Which snake is the right one?

Generally, non-toxic and non-hazardous snakes can be kept without permits. Also, the landlord does not have to be asked. The animals fall under the category of small animals and thus have the same status as hamsters, rabbits and co.

With poisonous and strangler snakes the situation is different. You cannot own any of these snakes without a permit. And you should not! Especially for the beginning of snake keeping it is strongly recommended not to buy a dangerous species. If you already have experience and can prove it, you can dare to keep strangler and poisonous snakes. Snakes are usually solitary animals. If you still want to keep 2, it should be a pair. However, you must then expect offspring.

Recommendation: Adders can be useful for beginners in the snake world. They are more robust and forgive beginner mistakes (like mistakes with heating, lighting or humidity). Corn snakes, ground snakes, chain snakes or for example the Indian ornamental snake can be considered. Mostly they have a colorful scale dress, a peaceful nature and can even reach lengths up to 150cm. Not recommended on the other hand are king pythons, which are often bought. However, these are much more sensitive. They react rather to attitude mistakes. Thus, suddenly exotic food requests or complete food refusal can unsettle the owner.

Marketplace For Snakes

A legitimate fear when purchasing a snake is acquiring an “illegal” animal. That is, animals that do not come from an approved breeding. In most cases, this is smuggled goods. If you have a suspicion that it is a dubious sale, do not buy this snake. Report your concerns immediately to the police or regional animal welfare organizations.

It is recommended to buy from reputable private breeders. Check the Internet for listings in your area. If the website seems serious and offers you information about origin, age and species make an appointment on site and look at the conditions.

Breeders come together at reptile fairs and terrarium shows. Here a lively exchange about sales and keeping recommendations takes place. Mostly you can buy terrariums and accessories at the same time. The world’s largest fair takes place four times a year in Hamm, North Rhine-Westphalia. If you buy your snake here, it is usually safe to get an animal from a good breeding. In addition, there are many tips and information about snakes and reptiles for free. A trustworthy breeder has appropriate proof that the snake was born in his offspring. So always ask for this certification.

Avoid pet shops and animal departments. Here the danger is too big that the animals are ill. Also, you usually do not know where the animals come from. Internet trade should also be viewed skeptically. Especially with very cheap offers it is worth to look twice, to ask and to check the statements. If you buy a smuggled wild animal, the buyer can be prosecuted just like the seller. Recommendation: Take the way to the Terraristika in Hamm! There you will get the best advice. There are veterinarians on site who can take a look at the snake if you are not sure if it is healthy. If you have doubts, you can simply change the stand, the selection is huge.

When Buying The Snake

Diseases of snakes are often not directly visible. Nevertheless, you can make a superficial check during the purchase. If the terrarium looks dirty and unkempt, turn around immediately and do not buy the animal. As with any living creature, a clean, hygienic environment is important to protect against disease.

Give yourself enough time! Observe the snake. Healthy snakes are alert and occasionally tongue. If the creepy crawler is lying around floppy or even stretched out, she is not in the best of health. Look at the mouth. Is it slimy? Even then I advise against buying. If the eyes appear cloudy or swollen, something is also wrong with the animal. A mite infestation manifests itself with small white spots on the skin or on the eyes. You can also check this as a layman.

The snake makes a good impression when you take it out of the terrarium and it tries to bite you. This means it is lively and active. An animal lying powerless is probably sick or weakened. Choking snakes (like pythons and boas) tend to wrap themselves around your arm.

Species Appropriate Husbandry In The Terrarium

The key to species-appropriate husbandry is knowing the origin of the snake. Through geographic and climatic facts, you can create the snake a reflection of its natural environment. In general, you can decide between the classic glass terrarium and the wooden terrarium. Both variants have their advantages and disadvantages.

Glass terrariums are more suitable for tropical snakes. They need high humidity. Glass is resistant to moisture and easy to clean. Besides, you can watch your pet all the time. On the other hand, glass is a heat conductor. The heat of the terrarium is emitted to the outside. Therefore you will have higher energy costs. Also, some snakes can’t stand to be seen all the time and tend to hide.

A wooden terrarium stores heat. This makes it perfect for animals that come from a warm and dry climate. The goal of a terrarium is to be a natural replica of the original habitat. Here, wood as a natural material lends itself better. However, this is not suitable for tropical snakes. Due to their warm and humid habitat, mold can form. This can be fatal for snakes.


As with any animal kept in a cage, size plays an enormous role. Therefore, it is always true that the bigger the better. No snake will be happy in housing that is too small. The Federal Association for Professional Nature and Species Conservation has made the following calculation:

Reptiles under 150cm = Terrarium minimum dimensions of 75 x 50 x 75 cm (LBH)

Reptiles over 150cm = Terrarium minimum dimensions of 100 x 50 x 75 cm (LBH)

Technical Equipment

Snakes cannot generate their own body heat. They are dependent on external influences. Therefore, the temperature in the terrarium must not fall below 20 degrees. Exceptions are snake species that keep a hibernation. So you equip the terrarium with light and heat sources. Also a floor heating can be combined to it. It is important not to equip the entire terrarium with heat. Let the animal choose between different temperatures. Thermometers and hygrometers will let you know if temperature and humidity are sufficient. Be sure to provide good ventilation.


If you don’t want to go hunting for your snake like my neighbor, make sure there is enough security in the terrarium. There should be no gaps, crevices or other weak points. Also the sliding door should be secured sufficiently (by locks). Otherwise the snake can simply push open the gate to freedom into the home.


Sufficient height is important for snakes that like to climb. Large terrariums can be nicely furnished with plants, stones, climbing branches and roots. They offer not only occupation, but also shedding aids. Water basins for bathing and drinking can also be placed inside. Thus, each snake has its own needs that you should meet. Regardless of their species, each reptile needs a dark retreat. Here it can feel safe and unobserved. Pieces of tree bark, flower pots or caves of all kinds come into question for this.

The Poisonous Snake – Dangerous Animals In Germany

Schlange Python[/caption ] Schlange

The keeping of dangerous and poisonous animals is not uniformly regulated in Germany. However, in principle, it is not prohibited. Hesse and Bavaria have laws that restrict and partially prohibit the keeping. In most of Germany, however, anyone can keep poisonous snakes or poisonous animals in the home. Currently, only animals that are on the species protection list are subject to registration.

To get a practical insight into the handling of poisonous snakes, I recommend meetings with poisonous snake keepers. They usually have several years of experience and can give you practical information. Venomous animals are not without problems and should not be underestimated. In general it is important that keeping poisonous snakes does not pose a danger to other people. Especially when living together with children, extreme caution is required, because they can not properly assess dangers.

How Do I Find My Escaped Snake?

Not only Herbert asked me this question. In forums you often read the desperate search for tips how to find the escaped snake again. First you examine the terrarium and make sure how the animal could escape. Most often, leaky terrariums or doors left open are the reasons for the disappearance of the protégé. Particularly active snakes can also push open the terrarium door themselves if they have not been secured with a lock. Bobby also belongs to this variety.

Not only did Herbert set up the terrarium in the living room and not in a separate room, but he also did not lock it. If the terraristic super disaster has happened, the first thing to do is: Don’t panic and stay calm! First of all, close all windows and doors.

The second step: Search the terrarium properly. Sometimes the snake hides or buries itself so deep in the tank that it seems to be undetectable at first. Hollow plants or tree bark can be the ideal hiding place.

Should you nevertheless stand in front of the empty terrarium follow step 3: Read the tracks! Put on the imaginary scout cap and search the nearer surroundings. Quite often the animal is lying behind the tank against the wall. Snakes would not crawl directly through the open space. If this place is also empty look if you find traces in the dust.

If this way also disappoints, take off the scout cap and put on the FBI vest. Now you have to search the whole room! Start at the terrarium. From there, walk the walls and especially the baseboards. Look behind the books on the shelves, in sofa nooks and flower pots. Shoes, bags and dark places can be the perfect retreat here. Put yourself in the animal’s place. Snake-compatible places tend to be cramped, not too cool, and undisturbed. Air out the snake’s room only under supervision. In the event of an outbreak, your neighbors would certainly not be amused to meet the animal at the dinner table. In addition, the police, fire department and possibly local media will be notified and you may be subject to heavy fines.

After about two hours of searching, we had made our way to Herbert’s office. Like Sherlock and Watson, we finally found a very relaxed snake amidst the tangle of cables! Almost amused by our spectacle, Bobby hissed to us with pleasure as we put him back into the terrarium. All’s well that ends well!

Read also articles about the Boa Constrictor Imperator and the King Python!

Related articles

Schildkröten Haltung – was muss beachtet werden?

Wie ernährt sich eine Schildkröte? Wo sollte man eine ... read more
reading time: 8 minutes calls 2673

These are the tips you should follow when keeping a corn snake

What should be considered when keeping corn snakes? Are ... read more
reading time: 6 minutes calls 2823

Die Haltung von Wasserschildkröten – das solltest Du dabei beachten

Wasserschildkröten sind sehr spannende und interessante Tiere. Auch für ... read more
reading time: 7 minutes calls 3157

Königspython Haltung: Artgerechte Pflege im Terrarium

Die Königspython Haltung im Terrarium wird als für Anfänger ... read more
reading time: 8 minutes calls 2773

Landschildkröten Haltung – alles, was du wissen musst

Was ist bei der Haltung von Landschildkröten zu beachten? ... read more
reading time: 7 minutes calls 2529

Chamäleon Haltung: Eine Anleitung für Anfänger

Wenn du an ein Chamäleon Haltung denkst, hast du ... read more
reading time: 6 minutes calls 2497

3 thoughts on “Buying Snake – What To Consider”

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert.

Don't miss anything anymore!

Would you like to be regularly informed about news? Then sign up for our newsletter easily and free of charge!