Can Watersnakes Be Kept as Pets?

watersnake close up

Have you looked at some of the beauties that are water snakes and wondered aloud if they would make great pets?

You have! Well!! We heard you, and that is why we thought we need to come with this blog post where we tell our esteemed readers that there are no greater pets than water snakes!

Are we kidding! No!! Here are at least five good reasons why you may consider a water snake over anything that you have fancied so long.

  • Water snakes need to be fed a fewer number of times compared to other land reptiles
  • They need a relatively smaller enclosure to house them
  • They are a cakewalk to maintain
  • They will not escape in the blink of an eye
  • They are very safe; even around young children

There you are! All the good reasons why you should be calling a water snake as your pet. Now that you seem to be half let us quickly through the care instructions of a water snake to further establish our claim.

No venom – only sting!

Water snakes do not have any venom in them. However, that does not mean that they will not strike. They like handling, but they can attack or strike when they are nervous or anxious.

Just do not confuse these with ocean snakes – which is very venomous!

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Handling them for a few minutes daily will help them adjust to the human touch. Soon enough, you will find them acclimatized to having humans around them.

They are also said to become more docile with time in captivity. Captive-bred water snakes will be your best bet since they are used to it since the time of their hatching.

They will also carry lesser parasites in them. Opt for a verified and trustworthy reptile store if you are shopping online, or you could even approach your neighborhood pet store for great recommendations.

watersnake in water

It is unlikely that they will snap at your fingers while you offer them food

Why! Because unlike other snakes, a water snake is triggered with the smell of food than the motion of it! Rest assured that it will not try to grab it unless it is starving, which is very unlikely.

Heating bills will be their lowest because water snakes do not need a basking site like all the others. You could give the lighting also a go by if you will keep the enclosure near a good source of natural light.

Heating the enclosure is the barest minimum that will be required because most of the water snakes that are pet material come from the warm waters in America.

Housing the Watersnake

Most water snakes grow up to be in the range of 5 feet, give or take one foot. That is precisely why you must house them in an aquarium that is 30 gallons in capacity or more. You could accommodate a couple of them in so much!

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A dry basking site is a must because even if they are known as water snakes, they do need to spend quality time each day out of water; otherwise, a dangerous scale rotting condition can claim their life. The most non-expensive way is to create an enclosure and a pedestal with rubber so that they can come out of the water and bask.

water snake


A 60 wattage bulb will sufficiently warm up one corner of the aquarium for it to come and bask. We detest warm stones; it can scald their skins. One corner of the aquarium will need to be furnished with some foliage and stones to be able to afford some hiding place and respite.


Nothing expensive, please!

Snakes, especially the water variety, are messy. They can create so much mess that anything other than newspapers for substrates can be a costly affair. Try to clean the aquarium once a week and change the water at least once in two days.

Watersnake prefer live fish

An exclusive fish diet can cause thiamine deficiency, and it is strongly recommended that you give it live food as much as possible. Their diet is vast with fishes, frogs, and smaller amphibians too. They can be fed minnows and feeder goldfishes.

The correct approach to feeding them is to slide the fishes in the plastic dish. Allow them to catch it and devour. Dead or pre-killed and thawed food can be offered but keep it to the minimum best.

Gravid females need to be taken extra care with food being doubled. Young water snakes also eat a lot more frequently. The urge to eat often dies down as they grow older.

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A Pinky mouse is an excellent addition to their nutritional chart, but if they do not seem to be game for it, trick them by rubbing the scent of a fish on it, and they will gulp it down in no time.

The choice is so big

As per conservative estimates, there are around 200 and counting species of water snakes. Most of the snakes make great pets.

A lot of people who live near the coast may mistake a sea snake to be a water snake. This can cost a lot of trouble. Sea snakes are incredibly venomous. However, you will need to worry about it if you are catching it from the wild.

Here is a list of all the characteristics that will help you distinguish a water snake from the dangerous sea snake.

  • They have a narrower head
  • Colors will range from brown to olive, and gray to red with blackish-brown blotches
  • Their skin is not smooth but rough to touch
  • Pupils are exceptionally rounder

Handling the Watersnake is a cakewalk once they get used to their keepers

Most of the water snakes that are adopted as pets will hiss and threaten to bite. With careful and regular handling, they will accept defeat and become docile for the rest of their lifetime. It is safe to have little children around them as they have no form of poison in them.

We rest our case here. Good luck to you! We earnestly hope you choose a water snake!