How Much Do Snakes Cost To Bring Home?

Snakes make fantastic exotic pets. They are beautiful, elegant, and have a little danger about them. They can also have surprisingly big personalities. But how much does it cost to buy a snake? And how much should you expect to spend on setting up a habitat for your reptilian friend and care for them over the years? Many snakes can live up to 30 years in captivity!

Spoiler alert! Expect to pay between $50-$350 for the snake itself, another $300-$500 to set up your terrarium, and $100-$200 per year on food and upkeep. Exact costs depend greatly on the choices that you make.

Read on for a detailed review of how much you can expect to spend when bringing home a pet snake. We’ll go through the cost of snakes depending on their species, the cost of setting up their terrarium, and what to expect to pay for food and medical care.

Snake Adoption Costs

How much a snake costs depends on the species that you choose, and there can also be a pretty big difference in cost within species depending on their morph and how popular they are. Supply and demand where you live is also a factor in cost, and remember that if you buy online, you can expect to pay a reasonable amount for special shipping, starting from $50.

For the snake itself, expect to pay between $50-$350 depending on your choices. Find more detailed prices for different species below.

Ball Python

Ball pythons are probably the most popular pet snake species because they are relatively easy to look after. Growing to between three and five feet in length, and living for as long as 35 years, they are docile snakes that don’t mind being handled as long as they become accustomed to it from a young age. They’re called ball pythons because they will curl into a tight ball when they feel threatened.

A standard ball python without any special markings is affordable and easy to find. You can expect to pay between $30-$50 for a basic young python. But if you want a special morph, you can pay much more, even as much as $5,000 for an exotic morph. 

Popular pastel morphs might cost $75-$100, albinos can cost $300-$400, axanthic can cost $350-$400, while a blue-eyed leucistic, or BEL, might cost $400-$800.

Burmese Python

  • Average Cost: $400-$1,600
  • Size: 15-20 feet
  • Diet: small mammals and birds
  • Tank Conditions: 80-86 degrees Fahrenheit basking, 60% humidity

Burmese pythons are popular among exotic pet owners who want large snakes. They tend to grow to between 15 and 50 feet long! This means they eat relatively big prey and might need small mammals. This means that feeding these docile but active serpents can be pricey.

Buying Burmese pythons can be expensive as well. At the more affordable end of the spectrum, prices start at around $400. But, due to supply scarcity, they can sometimes cost $1,000-$1,500.

How long do pythons live in captivity?

Green Tree Python

  • Average Cost: $300-$600
  • Size: 5 feet
  • Diet: small mammals and reptiles
  • Tank Conditions: 86-88 degrees Fahrenheit basking, 40-70% humidity

Green tree pythons make excellent pets if you want something exotic to look at in their enclosure. They are a vibrant green color, often with yellow or blue dots. They’re also climbers and like to wrap themselves among branches and hang.

These beautiful  reptiles are relatively expensive as far as snakes go, and you can expect to pay between $300-$900 depending on supply and demand in your area. While they are on the small side, maxing out at around five feet, they are quite sensitive and it’s important to maintain proper tank conditions.

Kenyan Sand Boa

  • Average Cost: $50-$100
  • Size: 1.5 feet
  • Diet: small rodents and reptiles
  • Tank Conditions: 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit basking, 30-40% humidity

Kenyan sand boas are small and docile snakes that usually only grow to about a foot and a half long. They tend to like to bury themselves in hot sand and just leave their head poking out and visible.

These snakes have beautiful yellow and brown patterning, but they are still a relatively affordable species. You can expect to pay between $50-$100 for a young snake.

Red-Tail Boa

  • Average Cost: $100-$500
  • Size: 10-15 feet
  • Diet: mice, rats, and rabbits
  • Tank Conditions: 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit basking, 40-60% humidity

The red tail boa is a more expensive constrictor, and you can pay anywhere from $100-$500 for a juvenile depending on supply and demand in your area. They are also much larger snakes, measuring 10-15 feet. This means they need a larger enclosure, and they also need larger prey. Adults will eat large rats and rabbits.

These snakes live for around 30 years in captivity and actually never stop growing. Adopting a red tail boa is a very big commitment.

King Snake

  • Average Cost: $50-$100
  • Size: 5-7 feet
  • Diet: small mammals, other snakes, lizards, frogs, salamanders, birds, large invertebrates, eggs
  • Tank Conditions: 85-88 degrees Fahrenheit basking, 35-60% humidity

King snakes get their name because they have a tendency to eat other snakes, making them the king of the reptile jungle. You should never keep a king snake in an enclosure with another snake. They tend to eat large prey, including birds, large invertebrates, and salamanders. This means they can be expensive to feed.

These snakes grow to between five and seven feet in length and can cost $50-$100 depending on where you are. They are known for their stunning red, black, and white markings.

Milk Snake

  • Average Cost: $100-$200
  • Size: 1-5 feet
  • Diet: small mammals, other snakes, birds, eggs
  • Tank Conditions: 88-92 degrees Fahrenheit basking, 40-60% humidity

Milk snakes look a lot like the venomous coral snake as both are red, yellow and black. But while coral snakes will have red next to yellow, the non-venomous milk snake has red next to black. Their stunning coloring makes them popular pets.

Milk snakes can vary significantly in size, so their needs in terms of terrarium and feeding can be unpredictable. They are more expensive than more common pet snakes, and you can expect to pay $100-$200 for a juvenile.

Black Rat Snake

  • Average Cost: $20-$50
  • Size: 3-5 feet
  • Diet: rodents but also frogs, lizards, birds, and eggs
  • Tank Conditions: 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit basking, 50-70% humidity

Black rat snakes aren’t as exotic looking as many other pet snakes, which is probably why they are so affordable. They might only cost $20-$50,but they are fun and active snakes that like to slither and climb. They also sometimes curl up and vibrate like a rattlesnake.

As the name suggests, these serpents mostly eat rats, but they will also eat frogs, lizards, small birds, and their eggs. They are modest in size at just three to five feet.

Corn Snake

  • Average Cost: $50-$150
  • Size: 2-6 feet
  • Diet: mice, rats, and quals
  • Tank Conditions: 88-92 degrees Fahrenheit basking, 30-40% humidity

Corn snakes are another popular pet breed, and they grow to between three and five feet. They are relatively easy to care for and mostly just eat rodents. However, they are escape artists so it’s important to ensure their tank is secure.

These docile snakes can be very affordable, and the most common morphs might cost just $30-$50. But more desirable specimens can cost $70-$100.

Are corn snakes good pets?

Snake Care Costs

Setting up a proper habitat for your new snake will be one of the biggest expenses when you bring your new pet home. Expect to pay between $300-$500 for everything you need to get started.


One of the biggest initial costs is the tank that will form your snake’s habitat. A good-quality glass terrarium will probably start from $200.

While different snakes have different needs depending on how active they are, as a general rule, you need at least 10 gallons of tank per foot of snake. So a five-foot snake needs a tank that is at least 50 gallons, and a 15-foot snake will need a 150-gallon terrarium.

It’s generally not advisable to keep more than one snake in a terrarium as they can be antisocial and it can result in violent, or even cannibalistic, behavior. But if you do keep more than one snake in a tank, you should have the appropriate gallon space for each. So, if you have two snakes that are each three feet long, you need 60 gallons of tank or more.

ReptiZoo makes some of the most popular tanks on the market, such as this 67-gallon terrarium. One of the great features about this tank is that it opens from the side as well as the front. This matters, since reaching in via the top of your snake’s tank can cause them stress, as most of their predators will attack from above.

OIIBO also makes excellent and affordable tanks, like this 50-gallon terrarium. This tank is popular because it’s clear on all sides, so you can see your snake clearly if you aren’t keeping your tank against the wall. For snakes that like to climb, this 43-gallon professional glass terrarium is a nice choice.

The terrarium will need a substrate that will have to be replaced regularly. It serves the purpose of catching and minimizing the smell of waste. If you have a snake that likes to burrow, they will also use it for that. The best thing is to research what your snake comes into contact with in the wild, which could be sand, speld wood, moss, or bark. A bag of substrate will probably cost $10-$20, and it needs to be changed every two to three months.

Some people say that you should keep baby snakes in a smaller tank so they don’t feel overwhelmed. This can be problematic because snakes grow quickly and you don’t want to be changing tanks all the time. But small snakes should not feel overwhelmed in a large tank; they are accustomed to living in the great outdoors. The key is not to leave them in a barren tank and fill it with things from their natural habitat.

Snakes of all ages appreciate some good entertainment in their tank. This includes plants, at least one hiding place, and things to climb on.

Heating And Humidity

Your snake’s terrarium needs to be appropriately heated to imitate their natural habitat. It’s important to research what temperatures and humidity levels your species of snake needs.

When it comes to temperatures, your tank will need to be on a gradient. If you have a glass tank, this usually means you only need to heat the hot, basking end of the tank, and the cooler end will naturally be the right temperature. For example, they may need 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit for basking and 80-85 degrees in the cooler end. Overnight, you can switch the heating off as long as temperatures don’t drop below minimum, which might be 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can heat the tank using a variety of different technologies. Heat lamps are the most popular choice because they can also provide UVA and UVB to ensure that your reptile is getting enough vitamin D. Radiant heat plates are also used. But it’s important not to place heat plates anywhere that your snake will be able to rub up against them as it could burn their skin.

Popular reptile lamps include Fluker’s Repta Lamp, which might cost around $15, or this BuddyPuppy Reptile Heat Lamp for about $20. Lamps need to be replaced every six to 12 months.

You will need two different thermometers to keep track of the temperature. First a non-contact infrared thermometer to measure the surface temperature, like this one for Etekcity for under $20. You will also want two digital thermometers to place in the terrarium to measure the temperature in both the basking zone and the cooler zone. This choice from ReptiZoo, for less than $20 per thermometer, is popular and also measures humidity.

As well as monitoring temperature, you need to measure humidity. The standard humidity they need again depends on the species. You also need to increase the humidity when they’re ready to shed to help them get the skin off. This is easily done by misting their tank.

You can just use a handheld spray bottle to mist, or get an automatic mister. A popular choice is this reptile fogger for $25 that measures humidity and automatically mists as needed.

On top of the cost of the equipment of the tank, remember that you might also see a spike in your electricity bill for running the heating.

Snake Feeding Costs

How much it costs to feed your snake depends on what they eat and how often they need to eat. This depends on the species, so do you research. But, in general, expect to spend between $100-$200 a year on feeding.

As a general rule, young snakes need to eat a baby mouse, often called a pinkie, once a week. If you live near a pet store that sells reptiles or exotic pets, they usually breed rodents as feed, which you can buy either live or frozen. You can probably get four frozen pinkies for just $1.

When they are adults, snakes will need a much larger rodent every two weeks. This will probably cost about $5 per rodent at the same pet store. If you are lucky enough to have free-range rodents around your home, fight the urge to try and feed them to your snake. They often have bacteria that are dangerous to your pet.

If your snake needs a more varied diet including frogs, reptiles, baby chickens, eggs, and fish, then the price can go up significantly.

Snake Vet Fees

Snakes don’t need the same kind of veterinary care as cats and dogs. They don’t need annual checkups for routine vaccines. But if something goes wrong, a vet visit will often start from $100 without insurance, and the costs can skyrocket with tests and treatments.

If you choose to, you can cover yourself with pet insurance such as Avian & Exotic Pet Plan from Nationwide, for which you can expect to pay $9-$15 per month.

How long do snakes live as pets?

How Much Do Snakes Cost?

Snakes are relatively affordable pets when compared to dogs and cats. They also produce a lot less mess! But if you’re wondering how much it costs to bring home a snake, remember that it depends on what type of snake you choose and choices you make about their home and food.

But as a general rule, expect to pay $50-$350 for the snake itself, $300-$500 for their terrarium set up, and $100-$200 annually for their food and upkeep.

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