As for good beginner snakes, one that isn't mentioned much and I don't know why, Mexican Black Kingsnake. Mine's been a real doll. In fact, I might say he is a bit too easy if you want to learn how to deal with harder snakes. Mine has never tried biting or musking, only tried to slither away when he was little. He can be passed around between people and usually stays calm, only jerking a little bit when surprised.