10 Great First Pets

Smaller Snakes
Smaller snakes are usually fine as first pets.
Smaller snakes are usually fine as first pets.

Don't freak out! Like rats, snakes are often misunderstood. Stay away from larger snake varieties -- and, of course, anything poisonous -- and you'll find that snakes can actually be pretty cool pets for kids. The most popular variety is the corn snake, which is nonvenomous and will only grow to about 4 or 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) in length. If you adopt a young corn snake, it'll become accustomed to you very quickly, happily curling up in your hands for warmth. Your pet snake will need an aquarium (make sure there are no weak spots, to prevent escape), fresh water and a heat source. And, of course, they have to eat -- which is where some people get tripped up. Snakes are carnivores, consuming a rodent about once a week. Most captive-bred snakes are fine with pre-killed prey, which can be easily procured at a pet store. If that aspect of snake ownership isn't a problem, then the snake can offer your child many happy years of reptilian fun.

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