If you've been browsing reptiles for sale online and are thinking of buying your first one, you need to be aware that not every species of reptile is a good choice for beginner owners. Snakes are a great choice for beginners. Learning to care for snakes can take some time and practice, and the following are a few species that are better to choose when you're still learning the ropes of feeding, designing a habitat, and handling a snake.
The royal python is a bigger snake, which might initially lead you to assume it's not for beginners. However, these snakes tend to be very mild-mannered, and they are not overly picky about heat, which makes the easier to care for than other large snake species. Your snake will need a very large enclosure that's at least 3 feet long, as the snakes can grow up to 2 feet in length and do need to stretch out sometimes. Royal pythons require a heat lamp to create a basking area around 88 degrees F, but the rest of their tank should not need a heat source, so long as you keep it indoors.
Royal pythons only need to be fed once a week. You can feed them pinky mice when they are small, and gradually increase the size of the mice as the snake grows. Simply provide water in a bowl; the snake will drink as needed.
If you prefer a smaller snake, the western hognose is a good species to consider. It is native to the western U.S., which means it is widely available for sale, and typically for an affordable price. These snakes only grow to about a foot in length. They're quite docile, although they do need a secure cage as they can become escape artists.
Western hognose snakes can get by with just a simple heat pad on one side of their tank, as long as you keep your home around 70 degrees F. They do need ample vegetation and a hiding area in their cage, as they like to hide out of the way. You can feed these snakes frozen and thawed mice, rather than live mice, which simplifies feeding incredibly. They do also enjoy eating small lizards and frogs from time to time.
If you would like to buy a snake, either of these species will be a smart choice for your first time. Visit a pet store near you to learn more.