Snakes, such as the ball python and corn snake, are docile and low-maintenance pets. However, parents shy away from letting their children have one as many moms and dads are afraid of snakes. Humans are taught to be fearful of snakes, and don’t believe that their children will care for them properly. They don’t want to be left with the responsibility when you inevitably lose interest.
Start by learning about the snake’s relaxed temperament, upkeep, food, handling, light, heat, and humidity requirements. You’ll then be able to answer your parent’s questions and demonstrate that you’re genuinely committed to having a new pet.
Be prepared to openly discuss the cost of buying a snake and the ongoing expenses, such as maintaining its food supply and veterinary treatment (when needed.) You’ll want to show your parents that you’ve considered everything and have a way to pay for everything.
How to Convince Your Parents to Get a Snake
Snakes are cool, and many of them have beautiful color morphs, but this isn’t going to help your case. Find out how to care for a snake and approach your parents calmly and diplomatically, paying close attention to their genuine concerns.
By understanding what’s keeping your parents from letting you have a snake, you may be able to convince them to let you get one.
1) Know What You’re Talking About
Be prepared by understanding the snake’s requirements and determining whether your preferred snake species of choice will do better than others. Instead of relying solely on your pet store cashier to lend you some information about snakes, consider seeking out to or getting involved with your local herper club.
The goal is to know as much as you can about the species you have an interest in so that your family and friends can come to you for the right answers. In addition to joining a local club and doing some thorough reading on snakes from your local library and the internet, you also want to get some hands-on experience to fall back on. Try handling snakes by volunteering to care for someone’s pet snake at a local university or zoo.
What Questions Will Mom or Dad Ask About Snakes?
- How long will the snake live and how big will it get?
- What does it eat and where are you going to source its food and store it? Keeping frozen mice in the family freezer can be a deal-breaker, so you might have to invest in a used mini-fridge.
- What size of an enclosure is needed?
- Will it need any special heating and lighting?
- Does it need a humidifier and humidity meter?
- How are you going to clean up its leavings and how often do you have to do it?
- How often do you need to do a thorough cleaning of the cage?
- How much will the snake, its enclosure, and food cost?
Be ready to answer these questions. Your parents may have some further questions and concerns, so be sure to answer them honestly and to deal with any objections
Avoid pestering or getting impatient as a “yes, you can have a pet snake” from them may not come immediately.
2) Talk About Why Snakes Make Better Pets
Making someone like snakes isn’t easy, but the following examples may change your parents’ minds:
Don’t Make Your Room Stink
Snakes are low-maintenance especially when it comes to hygiene as they defecate once every two weeks and urinate once a week.
Their poop and pee are easy to spot clean as you need to scoop out the soiled bedding and replace it.
Some snakes will musk (release a foul-smelling liquid) if they become afraid. Garter snakes are more likely to ‘musk’ than most pet snakes.
Don’t Bite Very Often
Beginner snakes, such as ball pythons and corn snakes, are known for their docile nature. They won’t bite humans unless your hands have caught the scent of a mouse or you’ve scared them in some way.
Their bites aren’t painful, and may only cause a slight wound. This can be easily treated by washing the area and applying an antibiotic ointment.
Aren’t a Big Commitment
Snakes can lower their metabolism. Therefore, unlike mammals, most snakes need to be fed only once a week. Older specimens can go without food for even longer.
After setting the humidity, temperature, and lighting inside your pet snake’s enclosure, there isn’t much you need to do to keep your herp happy apart from the occasional spot cleanup and daily water change.
Don’t Need Much Attention
Snakes don’t have to be socialized often or given much attention. They don’t need to be played with or fed every day. You can handle them a few times a week, provided that they haven’t just eaten and aren’t shedding their skin.
Don’t Make Any Noise
Most caged animals tend to run around and create noise in the night while you’re trying to sleep. Although some snakes are nocturnal, they are very quiet during the night.
You won’t hear one playing around with a water bottle or nibbling on food, as a snake only drinks water from a dish and is given food 1-2 times a week.
3) Continue Sharing What You Learn
If you don’t get a ‘yes’ right away, try sharing any interesting facts about corn snakes you come across with your parents every now and then.
This will allow the subject of snakes to remain in the back of your parents’ minds, without it feeling like you’re nagging. It will also show that you have a deep interest in snakes and will not get bored with your new pet.
However, if your parents remain resistant, try staying away from the topic for a few days. When you’re ready to talk about it again, consider changing the argument.
You may have informed your parents about why snakes are interesting and how you can take care of them, but you might not have mentioned how easy they are to maintain compared to dogs and cats.
Throw in some scientific research. For example, the journal Current Opinion in Psychiatry, discusses how companion animals can improve physical and psychological health.
4) Address Their Concerns
Find out why you’re parents are hesitating to let you keep a snake and address their issues directly. Some common concerns among parents with keeping pet snakes include:
The number one reason people dislike snakes or are afraid of them is that they don’t know much about them.
Explain to your parents that snakes aren’t poisonous, scary creatures, but are smooth and elegant animals that mostly keep to themselves. Most captive-bred snakes are used to handling and won’t show any aggression towards their owners once they realize that you’re not a threat.
They Seem Expensive
There is an initial investment required as you’ll need an adequately-sized enclosure that’s suitable for your snake species, a heat lamp, heat bulb, a temperature and humidity gauge, bedding, hides, water dish, and food.
However, once you’ve purchased these items, your only expenses are going to be a weekly food supply and an occasional bulb change.
Find out how much everything will cost and see if you can have a source of income that will allow you to buy mice every 7 to 10 days.
Our House Isn’t An Ideal Environment for a Snake
Once you have a snake enclosure set up, you can easily change the temperature, light and humidity settings of your snake’s environment.
Your snake is going to remain in its enclosure, so there’s no need for your home to have special temperature settings to accommodate it.
It May Not be Compatible with Your Other Pet(s)
If you have a dog, chances are it won’t bother your snake. Cats are curious, but you can easily create a safe environment for your snake by including a secured cage top. Keep the door closed to the toom that contains your snake’s enclosures.
They Mary Carry Diseases
According to the Lancet, snakes may carry salmonella and E. coli which can cause diseases in humans.
However, you can easily prevent any issues by wearing rubber gloves and goggles while cleaning the enclosure and always washing your hands after handling the snake or touching any of its cage components.
5) Show Them That You’re Responsible
Doing your chores on time, getting your homework done, and doing anything extra to get on your parents’ good side is an excellent way to show that you’re mature and responsible enough to take care of a pet snake.
Parents typically worry about grades, so try getting your grades up so that this concern doesn’t even pop up when you bring up getting a snake.
Make your bed every day and keep your room tidy. If you aren’t able to maintain your bedroom, your parents may worry that you won’t clean your snake’s cage when needed.
6) Adopt a Friend’s Snake
Maybe you can convince your parents into letting you adopt or foster a snake for some time from a snake owner you know?
This will be an opportunity for your parents to understand that snakes are calm and low-maintenance pets. It will also show them that you can handle taking care of one.
7) Be Open to Making a Compromise
Maybe your parents are adamant about not getting the snake species you’re interested in because it is too big or expensive.
Snakes vary in size and price points so be sure to offer a more reasonable alternative. Avoid asking for one of the more exotic color morphs.
Here are some of the friendliest pet snakes for families. Don’t select anything too exotic. Just get a small, friendly constrictor snake.