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Posted by glenn bartley on January 19, 2003 at 12:00:30:
In Reply to: Re: two small questions posted by Chance on January 18, 2003 at 21:57:24:
Green Snakes (Smooth Green Snakes or Rough Green Snakes both native to the USA) are, in my opinion, only fair to good snakes for a beginner. There are other snakes I would classify as very good to excellent. Please tell us something more about why you are looking for the smallest beginners snakes as opposed to looking for the best beginner's snakes?
The really small snakes are usually insect or bug eaters. These snakes are not usually considered among the best choices for beginners in the herp hobby. The best snakes are usually found among the rodent eaters. Rodent eaters are usually not among the smallest snakes, although some can remain quite small such as Sand Boas. Sand Boas are not often recommended as being amongst the best beginner's snakes. The trick of it is to find a snake within an acceptable size range for you, that eats rodents, and is one of the very good to excellent snakes for a beginner to start with. If you are willing to go with a snake that probably will not grow to over four feet and be suitable for life in a ten gallon aquarium sized enclosure, then some suggestions would be:
African House Snake
Western Terrestrial Garter Snake
If on the other hand, you are willing to give it a bit more effort then a Sand Boa may be the snake for you. Their heating requirements are a bit more stringent than the others.
You could also go with a Rubber Boa, which needs it cooler than most other snakes. The problem with these is they can stress you out when they decide to go on a hunger strike which they sometimes do. It is usually nothing harmful, so long as they were healthy to begin with, but it can cause quite a bit of stress to the uninitiated snake keeper. These snakes would only rate a fair to good for a new keeper with no experience.
If size is not so important of an issue, there are many other snakes that would usually grow to between 5 and 6 feet and which could easily be maintained for life in a 20 gallon sized enclosure. If you want to know about them, let us know.