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  1. #1
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    Corn snake or Ball python

    Sorry I didn't know where to put this, but my question is, for a beginner snake owner which is the best snake to get, corn snake or ball python? I've been looking into both but I also want to hear from experienced owners, what are the perks and downsides of each?

  2. #2
    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    Depends on your expectations

    They move differently, husbandry differs, one is more tolerant and forgiven to husbandry mistakes etc.
    Deborah Stewart

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  4. #3
    Registered User Luvyna's Avatar
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    Corn snakes:
    + Are native to North America so they require lower humidity levels and ambient temperatures and thus hardy and can be more forgiving with husbandry mistakes
    + Are generally great eaters if healthy and never go on feeding strikes
    + Are diurnal so you may see them roaming around the enclosure more during the day
    - Are faster and more active than BPs so they may be slightly harder to hold and can escape easily (their higher activity levels can also be a positive though if you want a snake that moves around a lot when handling)

    Ball pythons:
    + Are slow-moving snakes that are very easy to hold and are "lap snakes" that will sit and watch TV with you
    + Are hardy and easy to care for IF you set up their enclosure properly and make sure the humidity, temperatures, hides...etc are set up properly
    - Can go on feeding strikes for months which can be worrying and stressful
    - Are nocturnal and will not be seen during the day if they are healthy and not stressed
    - Are native to Africa so they need higher humdity and temperatures than corn snakes, and if you get this wrong, this can lead to feeding strikes and bad sheds.

    If you like both equally, I'd say get a corn snake, but if you prefer one over the other, get that one. Just make sure you do your research and set up the enclosure properly, and both of these snakes can be hardy, docile pets for beginners

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  6. #4
    BPnet Veteran Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Beginning snake owners come in all ages...are we talking about a kid or an adult? It matters because while any kind of snake requires secure caging, young corn snakes
    can skip town thru the tiniest of gaps, & also they're much quicker in motion, so being harder to handle, a younger person is far more likely to drop them, which can even
    be fatal but is NEVER good for the snake. To be honest, I don't recommend pet snakes for young kids, especially not if they're the sole caretaker. Care & feeding of a corn
    snake is MUCH easier, while ball pythons can drive most adults crazy with their feeding idiosyncrasies, not to mention the cost of food you end up wasting when your BP
    refuses...so if the beginning owner is younger & trying to pay for everything out of their allowance, that's a real downside. Corn snakes, if not over-handled, are usually
    very good eaters even as hatchlings, & reliable eaters when older.

    Personally I'd vote for a corn snake: even though BPs are usually docile & stay a nice size, corn snakes are docile too, need far less heat or special humidity and they eat
    reliably. BUT, for a first time owner, it would be best NOT to get a hatchling...maybe get one that's 6 mos. or better yet, a yearling. Mostly because nearly every first
    time snake owner can't resist handling their new snake, & hatchling corn snakes are not made for handling...they take patience because they're so tiny, so they're best for
    a patient adult owner. And keep in mind that while hatchling BPs are bigger & easier to hold, you can easily put them off feeding too.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  8. #5
    Registered User Reptile$ 4 Life's Avatar
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    Re: Corn snake or Ball python

    In my opinion both make great starter pets. I got my bp around 7 years ago, and looking back a corn probably would have been a better fit for me husbandry wise. If you do your research and get the proper equipment both will flourish.

    Corn Snake
    Pros-
    -More forgiving care requirements
    -Great feeders
    -Come in a variety of morphs
    -More active than a bp
    -Easy to find and purchase

    Cons-
    -Fairly quick and they don't really sit still (Although if you are like me this would probably be a pro)
    -Smaller so they are more prone to handling injuries
    -Babies can over heat in your hands

    Ball Python
    Pros-
    -Slower snake (Honestly in the day they are kind like pet rocks, but mine is fairly active at night)
    -Thicker so you are less likely to injure it while handling
    -Come in a variety of morphs
    -Easy to find and purchase
    -Husbandry is fairly easy to get correct with the proper research and equipment

    Cons-
    -They can be very picky eaters
    -Husbandry is less forgiving
    -They go on food strikes (If you are prepared for it then it is not really a con, but a lot of first time bp owners panic when their bp is not eating)

    I also agree with Bogert that a juvenile corn snake would probably be the best option. No matter what make sure you do plenty of research on the species you decide to purchase.
    Last edited by Reptile$ 4 Life; 05-21-2020 at 12:46 PM.
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  10. #6
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    I asked a similar question on these forums back in January. We ultimately decided on a Corn snake and we're very happy with our decision. Since it was intended as the first snake for my 7 yo son, I was initially concerned about the listed con of "small corns move very fast". Thus far, that hasn't been a problem as we've keep handling to a very controlled and supervised environment. Handling sessions have actually taught my children to be calm and controlled. I'd definitely take that trade off for all of the feeding issues I read about with the BPs.

    The decision was so close that I actually expected that I'd get a BP for myself after getting the Corn for my son. However, the Corn made me realize how much I missed having a snake, but instead of going a BP, I'm going to get a boa.

    I guess another negative for either could be that everyone in your house might end up wanting one. Now my 5 yo wants one in her room too...
    Last edited by Nick_MD; 05-21-2020 at 04:11 PM.

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  12. #7
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    My two cents:

    They're both very easy to keep. IF YOU'RE PREPARED. As long as you do proper research, learn from reliable sources and cross reference information you should be fine either way.


    If you're prepared and go in knowing about a BPs feeding habits you won't stress or panic if a few weeks go by without the snake eating. It happens.
    However, I've never had any problems at all with BPs eating. The two I have now eat year round and very rarely refuse a meal.

    So it basically comes down to what YOU want in a snake. If you want a heavier bodied, slow moving snake that will just chill with you a BP is probably for you.

    If you're looking for a more adventurous, active animal a corn may be better for you.

    Bottom line, put in the due diligence to learn about the animals and how to keep them in captivity. If you know about the animals caring for them is much easier.

    From there, it's up to you. Only you know what you want out of your new pet.
    ...life is beautiful...

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  14. #8
    BPnet Veteran RickyNY's Avatar
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    Ball Python:

    Corn snake:

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    Morelia Mafia For Life

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  16. #9
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    I have both corns and bp. Bp was my first snake. I also keep kingsnakes. The previous posts provided good advice. This is what I notice between the two, based on my experience. Please note that snakes are individuals and will have their own personality.

    Corn and king snakes are cute, curious and would observe their surrounding as well as explore anything new you put in there. Example, I started experimenting using coco husk substrate over aspen for my 2 kingsnakes. Nibbler immediately started sleeping and move around on it. Soba started burrowing, something I had never see him do with aspen. The corns will be using coco husk too, so I'm excited to see their reactions. On the contrary, my woma python and Children did not care for the new change. They are active during the day and fun to watch and feed. And while they move faster than a bp, it is not so fast compared to a racer. You can manage it and some corns are very laidback. Babies are squirmy but that goes away in a few weeks of growing and settling down.

    What the others say about ball pythons is true. If you have anxiety, I don't recommend this as your first snake. If you cannot feed live rats or mice, don't get a bp. You have to be open minded about that. Some corns may need to eat live to get started, but that is rare.

    There are other great first pet snakes besides corns and ball pythons. Kings are great, as previously mentioned, babies may be sassy at first. Woma pythons are awesome: hardy, easy to keep and great eaters.
    Last edited by Cheesenugget; 05-21-2020 at 05:01 PM.

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  18. #10
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    Get both!

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