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South African Snakes That Make Good Pets

Below is a list of South African snakes which make good pets and which are available as captive bred hatchlings. The listed species are non-venomous.

Brown House Snake

The Brown House Snake is one of the most common snakes in South Africa and can be found throughout the country. Brown House Snakes often live near human settlements. I removed a Brown House Snake from a garage in a well developed suburb in Johannesburg. These snakes are harmless and feed on rodents. Captive bred Brown House snakes make good pets and are kept and bred both inside and outside of South Africa’s borders. Brown House Snakes  remain small usually under 1.5m in length and require a secure cage measuring a min of 75cm x 45 x 45. Juveniles and hatchlings can be kept in plastic terrariums. Use corn cob as a substrate. A hide box is essential to make your Brown House Snake feel secure. Water can be given in a shallow bowl.Provide a heat pad during winter and on very cold summer nights. Brown House snakes can be fed on pre-killed mice. Hatchling Brown House Snakes will eat pinkies once every 5 days, juveniles will eat fuzzies once a week and adults will eat large mice once a week. Brown House snakes make the perfect first snake for a beginner and are the proudly South African version of the American Corn Snake.

Aurora House Snake

The Aurora House Snake is related to the Brown House Snake. This colourful snake is slightly more difficult to keep as lizards form a large part of their diet. Hatchlings and wild caught adult Aurora House Snakes may refuse to eat mice and will need to be fed on skinks and geckos. Only purchase a captive bred Aurora House Snake that the seller can guarantee is eating mice. An Aurora house snake that is feeding on mice,  makes a good pet snake and care is the same as a Brown House Snake.

Egg Eaters

The Rhombic Egg Eater and Southern Brown Egg eater make good pet snakes as long as suitably sized eggs can be found. Egg Eaters feed exclusively on unfertilized birds eggs which are swallowed whole. Hatchlings will need to be fed on finch eggs, juveniles on quail eggs and adults on small hens eggs. Finch eggs are difficult to find and hatchlings will have to be tube fed using a plastic syringe withe beaten hens egg. Quail eggs and hens eggs are not difficult to find. An Egg Eater will need to eat a single egg of the correct size once a week. Adult Egg Eaters can be kept in a cage measuring 75cm x 30cm x 30cm. Hatchlings and juveniles do well in plastic terrariums. Use corn cob as bedding. Cage decorations must include a hide box, plastic plants, logs and a water bowl. Use a head pad during the winter and on cold summer nights.


Depending on which  province you live in permits may be required to keep the above species and any other local South African snakes. To check if you are required to have a permit for your South African snake contact your provisional nature conservation authority.