Ask an expert

24 Nov 2004

Snakes and rats
I am wanting to buy my 10 year old son a snake, one that is harmless and does not grow to big. My problem is I have a fear of rats. Trust me when I tell you just the thought makes me girdy. So can someone suggested a snake that does not have to eat rats (???) andwhat else can it be fed?

Answer 343 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear Lee

Firstly I would stress that one needs a permit from nature conservation to keep all indigenous animals, including snakes such as brown house snakes. These rules do vary from province to province, thus I would find out what the regulations are in your area before acquiring such a snake, seeing as fines of R20 000 or more may be levied. Another snake that stays fairly small, is not too difficult to keep and that one does not need a permit for is the American corn snake. These are harmless, usually quite friendly if handled often, and come in beautiful colours. One can feed other small rodents, such as large mice, rather than rats. A snake that prefers reptile prey is the king snake. However, most reptile enthusiasts end up feeding rodents even to these snakes (and it can be quite difficult to convert them) due to price and the fact that finding enough reptile prey to keep your snake healthy can become a problem.
Good luck

Dr Willemien van Wyk
Bird and exotic animal veterinarian
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
34% - 9260 votes
66% - 17836 votes