Puppies and kittens probably have a distinct advantage over reptiles when it comes to being cuddly and cute, but not everybody is up for demands of one of these pets. Plus, some people run into serious problems with allergies to pet dander that can make having a dog or a cat impossible. However, if the kids are clamoring for a pet and you don't think a goldfish will do, you might consider adopting a little snake. Not sure that a snake is a good idea? Here are five good reasons that a snake makes a great family pet.
1. You don't have to walk a snake.
You have absolutely no need to worry about needing to take your snake for a walk in order for it to go to the bathroom or get sufficient exercise on a daily basis. That also means that you don't have to worry about collars, leashes, pet jackets, or those weird shoes that they now have for dogs when it rains.
2. Snakes are hypoallergenic and keep their shedding to themselves.
Snakes do shed their skin on occasion, but you can bet that it'll happen in the tank and not on your couch or your favorite black sweater. That's a definite advantage over having a cat or a dog around.
3. Snakes won't irritate the neighbors.
Dogs are notorious for barking when doorbells ring, the mailman comes, or a stray leaf blows down the sidewalk. That can end up causing some friction with the neighbors, especially if you live in an apartment or condo where the walls are a little thin. Even cats can get into moods where they'll start yowling loudly for no discernible reason. You can pretty much count on your snake being the least communicative member of your family.
4. You don't need to arrange for pet care to go on vacation.
A lot of people forget that a dog or a cat can tie them down because they can't be left alone for a week at a time without care. Some people are able to slip away for a weekend if they have a cat by leaving extra food and water out, but dogs don't like to be left alone for the duration of a grocery store trip—let alone overnight. Of the three, snakes are the only ones that don't require a pet sitter if you want to take a few days to go exploring with the kids.
5. Snakes are really inexpensive to keep.
According to the ASPCA, the average first-year cost of owning a dog is about $1,270, once you add up one-time expenses like spaying or neutering and normal monthly costs like food and toys. If you choose a cat, the expenses are only slightly less, coming in at about $1,070. This doesn't include the cost of the actual puppy or kitten itself—while you can probably find someone to give you a kitten for free, puppies can be quite pricey if you're particular about a specific breed.
Compared to that, snakes are much more budget friendly. The cage and setup for your snake will usually run you around $100-$125, and feeding for the entire year should be less than $200. You also don't have to worry about taking your snake to the vet for any immunizations or rabies vaccinations, which will also save you money.
If you think that a snake would make a fascinating member of your family and fit into your lifestyle better than a cat or a dog, talk to an expert about what ownership entails. They can also help you pick out the right type of snake for beginners—corn snakes tend to be the most popular among new owners, but there are other options you can consider.