Ringneck Snake as a Pet

Last week we added a new pet to our household, a ringneck snake or Diadophis punctatus. I just happened to find this little guy on the sidewalk outside my office. I thought it was a worm at first but then I realized it was a snake. I knew if he stayed there he would get stomped. I scooped him up in a paper cup and, on the way home, I bought a small terrarium and some small crickets for him.

Here’s a picture of one from a government agricultural extension site (not mine since my digital camera isn’t working)

Ringneck Snake

Mine is about the same size though.

He seems to be doing fine so far. My wife isn’t thrilled about having a snake in the house though. What’s she going to say when I tell her that he can get up to about 2 1/2 feet long. Yikes! And so we begin our adventure with a pet ringneck snake.

Do you have a snake or other reptile as a pet? Have you thought about purchasing or capturing something like this or some other variety of small household snakes? What do you think of keeping small pet snakes? I would appreciate any helpful suggestions about keeping them as pets.

UPDATE: 2/3/2008

‘Ringie’ died recently. We’re not sure what happened to him but it looked like he developed a tumor or something. We may get another small pet snake at some point since he was a rather interesting pet.


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Comment by Judy Online
2008-07-08 09:23:01

Condolences for your loss of Ringie the pet ringnecked snake; far be it from me to discourage you from getting another snake.

But while I know there are people who just love having snakes as pets, I’m sorry — I think those people are absolutely nuts!

I know it’s irrational, I know that I should get over it, but I just find snakes absolutely horrid. My grandson has spent a long time trying to persuade me that I’m wrong, and that really snakes are interesting and calm pets, nothing like my preconceptions. But I’m an old old lady (well, not that old, but I’m getting on a bit), and I’m not about to start dealing with that particular phobia now.

Comment by Tersia Baskins
2008-07-29 19:23:20

Hi, Our 12″ Brown Snake died today after observing him for about 9 months. But we lost one and gained one. We found a 3″ baby snake in our neighbor’s yard and put him in the 10gal terraruim the other snake was in. After cleaning the tank out ofcourse. Anyway I was looking up what this snake is and it looks a lot like the one you have in this picture except that it is lighter brown. I homeschool my children so to say the least we have our own little zoo here. We have a Cricket Frog, A box turtle, an Anole, A Gecko, two gerbils, two parakeets, 5 cats one dog and a ton of guppy fish that breed worse than rabbits. Thank you for your site and I hope to find more info on our snake.

Thanks, Tersia

Comment by jfc
2008-07-29 19:41:10

Hi Tersia,

We don’t have as many pets as you do although we have 5 indoor cats and a blue and gold macaw. We also have some outdoor cats that we feed and need to take in to be fixed. We haven’t tried to get another snake or reptile again. My wife doesn’t like them although my son wanted to buy one about a month ago.

If your snake has that distinctive yellow ring around its neck it’s probably a ringneck snake. There are some regional and sub-species color variations ranging from a jet black to a brownish black to a gray. Check your state’s agricultural extension office website and they’ll probably have some info on the snake you found.

Comment by Tersia
2008-08-01 20:01:12

Thanks for the info. As we are in need of many crickets I read up on breading with them and found out quite a bit of info. I had a mom cricket lay eggs about 2 1/2 weeks ago and they started hatching yesterday so we have a lot of baby crickets to feed out 3″ snake. Petsmart said to isolate him with his food in a small container to make sure he eats. I hope he does. So far no luck. Do you remember what he liked to eat at such a small stage?? I would appreciate any advice. We are trying to find small bugs.

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Comment by jfc
2008-08-01 20:54:56

Hi Tersia,

We fed him small crickets from PetSmart. The one near where I work usually had some very small ones that the snake would eat. The guy who worked in that department said they had a lot of demand for them, mostly for lizards, so they stocked them regularly.

Comment by paul marum
2008-09-16 19:26:52

I used to live in florida and have had a lot of ringneck snakes as pets that i have cought in the wild all of them died as well so i looked into it and read in a book that ringnecks can not digest crickets they need to eat worms just something to look into for your next snake.

Comment by jfc
2008-09-17 07:42:18

Thanks for the tip Paul.

The reptile guy at PetSmart recommended the crickets but I guess that shows that they don’t know that much about ringneck snakes.

Comment by Gail Flowers
2008-10-11 16:00:34

I found 3 baby snakes in the basement of my church…..all 3 had this yellow ring around its neck……then there was this skin….about 6 feet long……the babies was about 6 inches long….could anyone tell me what kind of snake those are? Please email me….

Comment by jfc
2008-10-11 16:53:24

Hi Gail,

If they look like the snake in the photo it’s probably a ringtail snake, at least if you live in the US. The skin may be from another species of snake though since ringtails only get to about 3 feet. If you have a local agricultural extension office or animal control, private or government, they might be able to ID it from the skin.

Comment by myrab51
2009-08-07 20:36:47

I know this is a little after the fact, but I wanted to mention it for anyone else that passes through. You have to be very careful picking up snakes and keeping them as pets. Some varieties of ringnecks were listed as an endangered species for a while. I’m not sure if they still are, or if they were bumped up to species of concern. Either way, you may want to check into it before deciding to keep anything. You can get into way more trouble than it is worth by keeping the wrong animal.

Comment by Green Iguana Care
2009-09-20 21:33:14

Wow. How cool to find such a tiny pet snake. I’ve never kept a snake as a pet myself…only lizards. I guess I’m scared he may escape from his enclosure somehow and get loose in the house.

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