Snakes can have some of the lowest costs amongst their other cold-blooded brethren. So how expensive is it to own one? While the exact costs associated with snake ownership will vary based on certain factors, the majority of the expenses are upfront and involve the cost of the snake itself as well as the setup. We’ll dive into the two biggest factors that can affect the cost of owning a snake.
Snake breed and morph
Just as certain dog breeds fetch more money (pun intended), different types are snakes are more valuable than others. This can be due to their rarity or simply their availability in the time of the season. However, this doesn’t take into account the specific color and pattern variations within each species.
A rare snake morph of a common breed could be worth tens of thousands of dollars. While collecting cool and uncommon morphs can turn into an expensive hobby the average cost of a snake is likely to fall within $50 to $300.
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Bigger isn’t always better, and in terms of price, it certainly makes things more expensive. The size of the snake correlates to two direct pet costs: the size of the enclosure they’ll need to live in, and the amount of food they’ll eat. For a medium-sized snake (one that’s approximately 2-3 feet in length) a 55-gallon tank will typically suit them just fine. You can expect the average cost of a terrarium to run you around $200.
Bigger snakes require larger prey for sustenance which can quickly increase your average ownership costs (although these costs will still be significantly lower than that of a dog or cat). Most adult snakes only need to eat once every 7 to 10 days, with their meal typically being a single mouse or rat.
These feeder rodents are priced in accordance with their size and average about $2-3 each. It can reasonably be estimated that the average-sized snake will cost around $8 a month to feed. It’s important to size a snake’s prey accordingly. Make sure that their prey is no larger than the widest part of a snake’s body.
Enclosure maintenance and temperature requirements
The second greatest cost associated with snake ownership is that of its enclosure. Aside from the tank itself, snakes require substrate, the material that will line the floor of their habitat. This can range from $5-$10 depending on the material. This is a recurring cost as substrate will need to be changed regularly.
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The other costs associated with temperature are one-time purchases. Heating elements such as lamps or heating pads start at around $20 each, and temperature-monitoring apparatuses can range from $10 to a hundred depending on how high-tech the device is.
It’s common knowledge that reptiles cost considerably less to own than cats or dogs. The greatest expense of owning a snake is the upfront costs of purchasing the animal and its housing. For an inexpensive snake to own, look for ball pythons for sale, one of the most low-maintenance snakes that are perfect for beginners.