The Cost Of Owning A Pet Snake

Snakes Jun 14, 2021
Written by | Updated Oct 11, 2021
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The Cost Of Owning A Pet Snake

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Dogs and cats are great but if you’re looking for a nontraditional pet, a reptile is a great option. Snakes make particularly interesting pets because they have a unique appearance and they are quite fascinating. Plus, there are many different types to choose from.

When it comes to the cost of owning a snake, there are three primary factors to consider: the cost to purchase the snake, the cost to buy and setup its habitat, and the cost to feed it.

Keeping a pet snake is not a short-term commitment. The average snake lives 15 to 30 years in captivity, so you should be prepared to house and feed your snake for at least that long. Before you make the commitment, consider the upfront and annual costs to make sure you can cover them.

Also Read: 257 Cool Pet Snake Names

Here’s what you need to know about how much it costs to keep a pet snake.

Bringing Home A New Snake – One-Time Costs

Pet snakes are not the easiest pets to keep. They have specific requirements which means you’ll have to do a good deal of research before you bring one home.

Not only do you need to decide what type of pet snake you want, but you need to determine its needs and how best to meet them in a captive environment. Depending which species you choose, you may need hundreds of dollars’ worth of equipment in addition to the enclosure itself.

Snake Cost by Species

Species Average Cost (Low) Average Cost (High)
Corn Snake $30 $50
Rosy Boa $75 $125
California King Snake $50 $100
Gopher Snake $30 $100
Ball Python $50 $200

Though there are many pet snake species to consider, the ball python is one of the most popular. We’ll factor in costs for pet snakes in general, but most of our estimates here are for the ball python.

Here’s what you need to know about one-time costs for pet snakes:

Buying A Snake

The first thing you need to decide before purchasing a pet snake is which species you want. Once you know what type of snake you want, you’ll be able to do more specific research about the preferred habitat, diet, and care requirements.

Here are some of the most popular pet snake species:

  • Corn snake
  • Rosy boa
  • California king snake
  • Gopher snake
  • Ball python

The cost to purchase a pet snake varies greatly depending on the species and the morph.

Generally speaking, pet snakes cost as little as $30 for common choices like corn snakes and gopher snakes but can easily cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Selective breeding is extremely common in reptiles like snakes and some of the rarer color morphs fetch premium prices.

When it comes to finding pet snakes, you have several options.

Many pet stores sell common pet snakes like ball pythons, rosy boas, and corn snakes. If you’re looking for a specific color morph or another species, however, you may need to go through a breeder. Reptile shows are also a great place to find pet snakes.

Another option is to check with your local animal shelter or look for reptile rescues in your area.

The cost to adopt a pet snake varies but you can expect to pay $50 to $100. The good thing about adopting is that you may also get the enclosure the animal was surrendered in.

Supplies And Setup

Snake Supplies and Setup

Cost Type Average Cost (Low) Average Cost (High)
Cage $50 $300
Cage Supplies $100 $300
Initial Food and Substrate $20 $40
Spay/Neuter Cost N/A N/A
Initial Vet Visit $45 $75
Total = $215 to $715 (without spay/neuter surgery)

The most significant cost of keeping a pet snake is setting up the enclosure.

Different snake species have different requirements, so the cost to purchase and equip a snake enclosure varies greatly. Some species come from arid environments while others come from the rainforest.

These factors impact the snake’s requirements for heating and humidity.

In terms of purchasing a snake tank, a simple glass aquarium will cost you $75 to $100, depending on the size. If you really want what’s best for your snake, however, you should consider a terrarium.

A terrarium is a closed environment typically used to house reptiles. Unlike a typical glass aquarium, however, it often has ventilation and doors you can open for feeding and cleaning.

Terrariums come in a variety of sizes and shapes so you can choose the one that best suits your snakes needs.

A large terrarium will cost you somewhere in the range of $150 to $300.

In addition to your terrarium, you’ll need to equip your snake tank to maintain the ideal temperature and humidity level.

You’ll need a combination of heating mats, heat lamps, and UV lighting as well as some kind of humidifier for your snake tank. You may also need additional supplies like a water bowl, thermostat, and tank decorations.

Another thing to consider for your snake tank is the substrate. The right snake tank substrate will not only give your snake a soft surface to move around in, but it also helps retain heat and humidity.

On top of your cage supplies and initial food and substrate, you should factor in the cost for your first vet visit. Expect to pay $45 to $75 to see an exotics vet. If your snake requires laboratory tests or some kind of treatment, the cost could be upwards of $100.

Estimated Medical Costs for Snakes

Cost Type Frequency Average Cost
Veterinary Checkup Annual $45 to $75
Dental Cleaning N/A N/A
Vaccinations N/A N/A
Lab Tests and Treatments Occasional $100 and up
Emergency Expenses Occasional $100 and up

Annual Medical Expenses

A pet snake can live anywhere from 15 to 30 years with proper care. Routine veterinary exams and a healthy diet are the best ways to protect your snake’s health.

Here are some of the common health problems known to affect snakes:

  • Parasites
  • Infectious stomatitis
  • Septicemia
  • Shedding problems
  • Skin infections
  • Respiratory disease

As long as your pet snake stays healthy, you should only need an annual vet checkup. You can expect this to cost $45 to $75 and you’ll probably need to do some research to find an exotics vet.

Pet snakes don’t require dental cleanings or vaccinations, but you should be prepared to pay for occasional laboratory testing and other treatments. These costs vary greatly but they can be somewhat expensive – plan for $100 and up.

Many pet owners purchase pet insurance to help mitigate unexpected veterinary costs.

It’s worth considering since taking your snake to the emergency vet can be extremely expensive, but you have to weigh the value of paying a monthly premium against that potential cost. It may be better to simply put what you’d pay in monthly premiums into savings in case of emergency.

Food And Supplies

Before purchasing a pet snake, you need to be sure you can cover recurring monthly costs for food, bedding, and tank maintenance.

Most pet snakes only eat a few times a week and it’s not unusual for certain species like ball pythons to go a month or more without eating. Depending on the size and type of snake you have, you should budget $20 to $40 per month for food.

 Food and Supply Costs for Snakes

Cost Type Frequency Average Cost
Food and Treats Monthly $20 to $40
Bedding Monthly $10
Utilities Monthly $5
Additional Supplies Occasional $5

Because snakes don’t eat as often as other pets, they also tend not to make as much mess. You can generally spot-clean the tank instead of replacing all of the substrate, so you may only be spending about $10 a month on that.

Other costs to consider when keeping a pet snake include monthly utilities and additional supplies.

The cost to keep your snake tank running varies depending how much equipment you use and what type, but it’s pretty safe to budget about $5 per month. Add another $5 per month to factor in the cost for additional supplies like replacement bulbs since you won’t need them every month.

Total Annual Cost Of Owning A Snake

Owning a pet snake is not a minor commitment. Not only can it be expensive to purchase and outfit a snake enclosure, but snakes can live upwards of 15 years. You need to make sure you can cover the cost to feed and house your snake for that long.

Here’s a quick summary of the estimated annual cost for keeping a snake:

  • Purchasing/Adopting = $30 to $200
  • Cage and Setup = $215 to $715
  • Annual Veterinary Costs = $45 to $75 (exam only)
  • Monthly Food and Supplies = $40 to $60

The costs associated with pet snakes vary greatly depending on the species you choose and your tank setup.

Just remember that it benefits your pet snake’s health to choose the highest quality options you can comfortably afford.

FAQ

How much does a snake cost?

The cost to purchase a pet snake varies greatly from one species to another and among different varieties. Smaller snakes like corn snakes typically cost less than $50 while larger snakes like rosy boas and ball pythons cost $50 to $100. If you’re looking for a color morph, however, you may double.

How much does it cost to neuter/spay a snake?

It’s technically possible to spay or neuter a snake, but the procedure is very uncommon. If you want to avoid unwanted breeding, the best solution is to simple keep the sexes separated.

How much does a snake vet checkup cost?

Plan to spend between $45 and $75 for an annual checkup for your snake. Exotics vets tend to charge more than the typical vet for cats and dogs – they may also be more difficult to find. If your snake requires laboratory testing or treatment, you can expect the costs to be higher.

How much does it cost to microchip a snake?

The cost to microchip a pet is usually a one-time fee of $35. This procedure is not recommended for snakes, however, because the microchip is typically embedded under the skin on furry pets.

How much does snake food cost?

Snakes typically don’t eat every day and the amount they eat varies by size and species. Unlike many pets, snakes don’t eat commercial dry food – they typically eat live or frozen (thawed) prey like mice and rats. To feed a medium-sized ball python, you will spend $15 to $30 per month.

How much does a snake cage cost?

The cost of a snake cage varies depending on the size and setup. For the average ball python, a minimum tank size of 40 gallons is recommended. It may only cost $50 to $100 to purchase the tank, but you’ll also need to factor in costs for heating, lighting, humidity, and cage accessories. Budget $150 to $500 for your entire snake setup.

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Kate Barrington is avid pet lover and adoring owner of three cats and one dog, her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care and nutrition. She has been writing about pet care and pet products since 2010
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