Hides are an essential part of any good snake enclosure. In fact, many owners have two; one on the cool side and one in their snake’s basking area. Because they’re so crucial for your snake’s health and wellbeing, it’s vital that you select the best hide for your pet snake.
Exo Terra is widely regarded as the leading manufacturer of snake and reptile hides. They make top-quality hides that resemble rocks, skulls, logs, etc. They are affordable, sturdy, and easy to clean.
However, many other brands make good snake hides. In our analysis, we’ve looked at some Exo Terra products and those of other manufacturers. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking for cheap snake hides or big snake hides.
Why do Snakes Need Hides?
Snakes aren’t social creatures. Apart from some notable exceptions like garter snakes, almost every snake will spend each day and night alone, will hunt alone, and will hibernate alone.
If they do come across another snake hunting in the same area as they are, they won’t team up, but they might try to fight one another off. The only exception is during mating season, when males and females need to spend time together.
Because they like to spend time alone, snakes need a place to hide. If they don’t have one, snakes will become visibly stressed. That’s because they feel vulnerable in large, open spaces, where predators might be able to find them.
Hides also serve another purpose in raising captive snakes. Most owners offer two hides for their snake. One will be in or near their basking spot, and is a place that they can warm up.
The other will be on the other side of the enclosure, and will be where they can cool down. And if it’s almost time for them to shed, you can turn the cooler hide into a moist hide, filled with damp tissues that will help make their skin easier to peel away.
What Are the Best Snake Hides?
Most people pick up a hide from the pet store or breeder that they get their snake from. If that’s what you did, you probably didn’t have much choice.
But now that you’re getting into caring for your pet and creating a great setup for them, it’s time to pick a better hide. One that stops your snake from feeling stressed, and that looks good in their cage.
But where should you start? Online retailers have hundreds of different kinds of hide, from the cheapest and most basic to expensive but amazing ones. In our list below, we’ve found what we believe are the best hides for pet snakes that you can buy online.
1) Pangea Reptile Hide Box
Pangea reptile hide box is a plain, black plastic tub with a small hole in the front that the snake can get through. Regarding style, it leaves a lot to be desired, but if you want something functional rather than something flashy, then this box is for you.
It comes in five different sizes (mini, small, medium, large and extra large). As such there’s a size available for most common pet snakes (ball pythons, corn snakes, milk snakes, kingsnakes, garter snakes, etc.).
The size is medium, which is 10” wide by 7” deep by 2.25” tall. That isn’t very tall, but it’s completely flat on the top meaning that it’s the same height all around, so it’s big enough for most snakes.
If you need a large snake hide box, the extra large size in Pangea’s range is 4.5” tall, 11 inches deep and 16.25 inches wide.
It’s reasonably priced, too. The biggest one of the set that you can buy isn’t even double the price of the medium, which is fair, because the hide itself is quite simple. So, all they need to make the bigger one is a little more plastic.
The best thing about the Pangea reptile hide box is the reviews. The vast majority are from happy customers. Most say that their snake is happy with it, and feels comfortable and safe inside.
The only drawback is that it’s quite light, so that if the snake is big enough, it can slightly lift the box when it’s sat inside. To fix that, you can pop something slightly heavy on top of it.
Pangea’s reptile hides are very comfortable for a snake. They don’t have any rough edges, either on the inside or at the entrance.
In fact, the entrance is smoothed and rounded to stop your snake catching themselves on it. And the fact that it’s black both inside and out means that it’s particularly dark inside.
But as a note, you should get a tape measure out to figure out exactly how big the hide is rather than just picking a size. Lots of reviews say that the box is bigger than they expected.
2) Exo Terra Primate Skull Hideaway
The Exo Terra primate skull hide is the opposite of the Pangea. It’s an incredibly realistic looking skull, minus the lower jaw. The texture of it doesn’t look like plastic at all.
It looks like a skull that, to be blunt, has been pulled from the ground after a hundred years. The two eyeholes serve as openings at the front for the snake to crawl into, while there’s a big hole at the back, as if the person died from a hit to the head.
It’s about six inches tall and six inches wide, so it’s not quite as deep and wide as the Pangea (although it is taller). It doesn’t come in many sizes, but it’s still big enough for most snakes. According to reviews, it’s just about big enough for an adult corn snake to fit inside.
Again, the reviews of this hide are exceptional. Most of them focus on the fact that it looks pretty cool, especially compared to a plain black box. If you’re trying to set a mood inside your snake’s enclosure, then this is perfect. However, there are a couple of drawbacks:
- Because it has eyes and nose holes, as well as a hole towards the back of the skull, some light does get into the hide. If your snake wants somewhere particularly dark, this might make it too bright in there for them.
- These holes can have sharp edges due to the nature of the manufacturing process. As such, there are a few reviews that recommend sanding them down before you let your snake inside. This, is enough to fix the problem completely. Others say that there weren’t any sharp edges at all, so ‘your mileage may vary.’
Exo Terra also makes a few more hides in a similar style. They make one that looks like a crocodile skull, and even one that looks like a T-Rex skull.
Most people think they look very realistic, not cartoon-like or plastic-y, which is excellent. And they’re all about the same price as the Pangea hide, too, so they’re cheap enough for anyone to buy.
3) Exo Terra Reptile Cave
You’ve probably spotted a pattern, and there’s a good reason for that. Exo Terra makes a huge range of products for reptiles and snakes, almost all of which have great reviews.
The Exo Terra reptile cave is similar to the Pangea, in that it’s deep and wide, but not too tall. It comes in small, medium and large sizes, each of which looks a little different.
Instead of being styled as a basic black plastic box, it’s made to look like a rock with a hole in it. It’s a light brown color and is textured to look more like a rock.
It has a small opening at the front for the snake to get in, although the entrance doesn’t have rounded edges like the Pangea. Aside from that, there isn’t much else to say. It’s a very simple hide.
Under certain lighting, it’s more reflective than a real rock, so you can tell that it’s made from plastic. But even so, the fact that it looks like a rock at all makes it fit in well in a natural-looking enclosure.
In terms of how much the snakes like it, the reviews suggest that they do. Other say that it’s particularly sturdy, too, for a hide which is good.
The biggest drawback is again that it’s not very tall. For a larger snake, they might get inside only to find that they’re lifting it a little with their body, just like the Pangea. The issue is that light can get in from underneath and make the hide a little less pleasant for the snake.
Compounding this problem is that it’s only three inches tall at its tallest point. Most of the hide is much shorter than that. Even so, there are plenty of reviews that say it’s their snake’s favorite hide.
4) Zilla Décor Rock Lair (Size Medium)
Zilla isn’t as well-known as Exo Terra, but their rock lair snake hide is great. It looks a lot more realistic than Exo Terra’s.
It’s a more convincing color, gray but with patches of brown and painted-on moss. It’s also a much more convincing texture, because it isn’t as smooth and as shiny. It looks just like a rock.
It’s a multi-layer snake hide, too, just like a hide in the wild would be. The snake has to crawl up a small incline, that looks like a tiny natural staircase.
The entrance is covered. It’s not just a big hole that looks like a mousehole in a baseboard! Inside, the hide slopes off to the left, which is where the main hiding place is.
That’s why we think that this hide wins hands-down in terms of closeness to the real thing. It’s also easy to clean and maintain. The top of it lifts clean off, so that you can reach inside and change the substrate in there, or clean up your snake’s poo.
The only drawback is that the inside is a little small for an adult snake. You can buy Zilla’s products in different sizes, of course, but they’re mostly used by people that own lizards.
They’re also more expensive than the other hides on our list, although still easily affordable for most people. So, overall, we think that Zilla’s snake hide is one of the best you can buy.
5) Zoo Med Reptile Shelter 3 in 1 Cave
Zoo Med’s reptile hide is similar to Zilla’s, except it’s a little cheaper. It’s detailed to look like a rock, and even if it’s not quite as convincing as Zilla’s, it’s convincing enough.
Unlike Zilla’s hide, it has an opening in the top rather than in the side. It’s a darker color too, a dark gray brushed with bronze/brown.
The inside of this hide is smooth plastic. It’s just one small enclosed area rather than anything too complicated. Again, you can remove the top so that you can access the inside if you need to clean it or replace the substrate in there.
It’s about the same size as the Exo Terra skull hide: 5.3 inches tall, 6.2 inches deep and 6.9 inches wide. It’s big enough for a two-foot ball python at least.
One of the good things about this hide is that it makes an excellent moist hide. That’s because the internal space of this hide is smooth plastic, and is quite small.
As such, it’s perfect for your snake to curl up around some damp tissues or substrate before they need to shed.
The reviews for this hide generally indicate that it’s a good one, if not quite as good as some of the others on our list. Some reviews say that it’s good for basking on, too, which is a plus.
The only problem is that they’re advertised as being made of durable resin, but some buyers report that theirs were made of ceramic.
6) Zoo Med Habba Hut, Giant
If you’re after an extra large, all-natural den, then Zoo Med’s Habba Hut is a great choice. It’s not made of resin or plastic, but real wood.
It’s a halved, hollowed-out log complete with bark on the outside. They claim that because it’s made of natural materials, your snake is likely to prefer it to others on our list, although how true that is isn’t clear.
Concerning dimensions, it’s 11 inches deep by 9.5 inches wide, and an impressive 5.5 inches tall. That gives your snake much more room to sit and hide than some of the other hides on our list. You can also get smaller, cheaper versions in the same range if they would fit your snake better.
Why not? It’s natural, so it would look brilliant in a cage that has plenty of ground cover and foliage. And while we can’t say for sure that a snake prefers a natural hide, it certainly would make sense.
The only drawback is that natural wood is more difficult to clean than plastic, resin or ceramic. But if you’re going for a natural-look enclosure, this is your best choice. Aside from that, there are a few reviews that claim the hides aren’t quite as big as the measurements suggest they are.
Which Pet Snake Hide Should I Buy?
The most crucial factors are the style of the enclosure and the suitability of the hide for its purpose.
Each of the hides is more than fit for purpose. We’ve specifically tried to find hides with great online reviews, so that no matter what you pick, you’ll get a solid-enough hide that blocks out as much light as possible on the inside.
That means that the main thing you have to consider is whether the hide fits the style of your snake’s enclosure or not. If you want a basic design, nothing flashy, then the Pangea reptile hide box is perfect for you since it’s plain black plastic.
If you want an enclosure with character, you could pick one of several Exo Terra skull designs. Or, you could pick a hide that looks like a rock if you want the enclosure to look natural.
Either way, you should get more than one hide. For optimum care, your snake should have one small hide on their basking side, and another small hide on the cooler side of their cage.
This helps them regulate their temperature. You can help the hides to blend in by using ground cover, branches and anything else to make it look more natural.
Alternatively, you could pile pebbles or substrate on top of them so that you can’t even see that they’re hides at all.