People often ask me for recommendations on what makes a great pet, particularly for families with children. And boy are they surprised when my first suggestion is a snake! A snake?? Yes, they can actually make wonderful pets, especially for younger children. The specific species is important, however, since you don't want to get your 10 year-old a Spitting Cobra. But if you pick the right type, they can be an easy, friendly, and interesting addition to your household.
My personal favorite is the Ball Python; I have over a dozen of them, after all! While their scientific name is Python Regius (Royal Python), they are commonly known as Ball Pythons because of their tendency to curl into a ball when threatened. With a defense mechanism like that, how can you justify being scared of them? They generally have very docile temperaments, easily becoming tolerant of regular handling, and are very low-maintenance in terms of their care.
So if you're thinking of adding a less-typical pet to your family, consider a Ball Python... other beginner snakes would include the Corn Snake, Rat Snake, Spotted or Children's Pythons, Western Hognose, Garter Snake, and Kingsnake, among others. See the resources below for more information, and be sure to check our branch schedules for upcoming reptile shows presented by Brian Gundy of For Goodness Snakes.