Reptile Loving Mamas ... What Age Should I Let My Son Get a Corn Snake?

Updated on August 17, 2012
J.K. asks from Davis, CA
10 answers

We love animals at our house and have a variety. My kids both have been asking for a reptile for about a year and I've told my son he has to wait until he's a little older. Now he's turning 7 and I'm looking for advice on whether this would be a good age. We have a friend who will give us her snake and it's complete set-up. I think a corn snake is a good choice for a first reptile, but I'm not sure he's ready.

ETA: I have no misconceptions that I would have to provide care for the snake. We decided on a corn snake because they don't get really huge like boas and pythons and I can handle feeding mice to a snake, but don't think I could handle feeding rats or bunnies.I wanted something that the kids could hold, but was also low maintenance, because we already have 2 cats, two guinea pigs, 3 fish tanks, and a bull frog. My biggest question is whether he's really still too young to handle a snake (from people with have younger kids). I've had lots of pets before, and I like snakes, but I've never had one as a pet.

Thanks for the answers so far... keep 'em coming!

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answers from Minneapolis on

For a snake, 7 is fine. Even my focus deprived son has kept his snake alive for 3 years now. Snakes are sooooo low maintenance. Perfect pet for a busy family!

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answers from San Francisco on

My youngest is 7, and still requires quite a bit of help in caring for our cats (that is one of her chores). She is pretty eager to feed them, but has to be reminded to give them fresh water every day, and as far as the grooming? Forget it! She loses interest by the time it's time to chase them down and brush them. Now, snakes don't require grooming, of course, but you do have to keep their terrarium clean...

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answers from Redding on

7 is young, you will still be responsible.
My 8 yr old had a boa and when he took the aquarium outside to clean he forgot and left it out there and the snake died when the sun hit it for too long.
Basically at 7 years of age, MOM is still gonna be the responsible person for the pet.
I still feel bad to this day that I let our snake die, a couple of mice died, a lizard or two croaked, a parakeet bought the farm, a tarantula went to meet his maker, etc....
So, basically YOU are responsible for the pet.

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answers from Grand Forks on

Will he be expected to do all of the care himself, or how much will you be helping him? My 10 year old son feeds the fish twice a day and the cats once a day, but my husband cleans the aquarium and I clean the cat litter boxes. I got a hamster when I was 10, but got tired of cleaning the cage after about 3 months, so I had to give it away.

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answers from Dallas on

We got a corn snake for my oldest daughter when she was 7, my husband helped her with the cleaning and feeding and it has been great. very low maintenance pet; my daughter is almost 11 and for about a year she has been doing the feedings and cleaning by herself.
We really haven't had a problem with the snake at all, now she wants us to get a cat for her. I'm sure she will take good care of it since she is used to care for an animal.

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answers from Dallas on

I think that is a little young unless you are willing to do some of the care. My 18 year-old son has had a ball python for about 4 years. He is basically 100 % responsible for it's care. Make sure you speak with a reptile expert to get all the details. They are definitely less work than most other pets. But they do have to have water to drink and to crawl through. We did not realize that and had to give the snake a bath once to help him shed. The eyes scale over when they need to shed and they cannot see to eat.
The problem now is my son is leaving tomorrow for college and has not found a new home for the snake. I don't mind him being here, but I am NOT going to feed him a rat!

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answers from Tampa on

My son has had a ball python for 2 years, he's 6. He cleans the poo out and the last few months he's even been tossing the live mice in. He loves his Tizzie ;) he's asking for a turtle for Christmas. What made you decide on a corn snake
Added: yes you can play with snakes! My son holds his all the time, the only time he knows not to mess with Tizzie is for about a day after it eats cause u can cause them to regurgitate their good.


My son has had a ball python for 2 years, he's 6. He cleans the poo out and the last few months he's even been tossing the live mice in. He loves his Tizzie ;) he's asking for a turtle for Christmas. What made you decide on a corn snake

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

Hi J.,

We don't have a snake but we do have a bearded dragon :)

My son is 8.5 and does a pretty good job at taking care of Apollo. We occasionally have to remind him to feed him (he needs fed in the am and pm and live crickets, meal worms, fresh veggies and fresh water daily). He also has heat lamps that need to be switched every morning and night. They are high maintenance pets in those terms. When we first got Apollo our son couldn't get enough of him but after 8 months the novelty has worn off a bit and we do have to remind him to get Apollo out and hold him. Beardies love attention! Anyway...yes, a lot of the responsibility will fall on you at least in terms or reminding your son daily what needs to be done. He is old enough to handle the tasks, IMO, with some help and guidance.



answers from San Francisco on

My son was about 12 when he got his first corn snake. He had saved Birthday money and paid for most of it and the required supplies himself. He was also fully responsible for taking care of his new pet. "Snuggles" spent lots of time draped around his neck. Now at 38, my son has "Rosey", who also receives lots of great care and attention. "Snuggles" died of old age, not neglect. It's important to remember that snakes are living creatures and though low maintenance, require a certain amount of care to survive (feeding every 1-4 weeks, heat lamp, water). Also, though unlikely in most instances, corn snakes can and do bite if provoked, like in teasing. Seven seems to me to be a bit too young to take on the added responsibility of another pet, unless your family has decided to add to your menagerie and you are aware you will most likely be the one taking care of the snake. At the very least, you'll need to keep an eye on the new pet to make certain it's being care for. Children are fickle. Your son may want a snake today and next year it will be something else because he's bored with the snake. You should also be aware, that while corn snakes stay relatively small, they still grow to 8-10 feet, as did ours. If the snake is small the mice will be baby mice, but once said snake grows, you'll need to purchase larger mice. They're not as big as rats, however, they are large mice and really quite cute. My son has always been ok with feeding his snakes. His Dad and I couldn't watch once the mice got larger as Snuggles grew.



answers from Baton Rouge on

Reptiles can be high maintenance because of their need for temperature regulation and live food, and they're not exactly pets that you can play with a lot.
I don't know your son, but at 7, I know my daughter would not have been ready for the responsibility for a reptile, and I certainly did not have the time to properly care for one. .

Next question: Does Your Child Have a Pet Snake? I Want to Hear from You! :)