Snakes can live a very long time. Some snakes live to be 10, 20, or even 30 years old.
No matter how much you like your snake, your life circumstances can change over the lifetime of your snake.
You can find a life partner who doesn’t share your appreciation for your snake. You may have to move to a new home that isn’t suitable for your snake.
Or you could just go off to college or join the military.
Many captive snakes do just fine in heated homes and cozy enclosures, but wouldn’t last more than a few weeks in the wild.
You should never release a pet snake into the wild.
There may be a lot of people who would accept your snake if you gave it to them cost-free, but you might not be sure of their commitment to providing the food, shelter, and protection your snake needs.
And euthanizing your snake is, well, just unthinkable.
That’s why it’s usually a good idea to sell your snake when you have to let it go.
Where Can I Sell My Pet Snake?
You can reach potential buyers of your snake on Craigslist, Angie’s List, and Gumtree.
You can also post an ad on community notice boards in local grocery stores and shops. You will need to take up to 10 words to explain why you are selling your snake.
You need to be very specific about what kind of snake you are selling, how long it is, its diet, its health issues (if any), its breeding potential, and what it eats (insects, mice, Reptilinks, and so on). And you will need to state your price.
Selling snakes online can be tricky.
Just about any posting online will attract people who want to take advantage of you.
They may ask you to deliver your snake before they pay for it. They may want to see your snake in your home at odd hours, and they may have motives other than just buying a snake.
They may pressure you to just give away your snake for free.
But in this article, we will tell you how to avoid problem buyers and how to find the best new home for your snake.
First, Be Sure About Why You Want to Sell Your Snake
There are many good reasons for selling your snake. There is no reason to feel guilty about this.
It’s often best not just for you but also for your snake to find it a new home. Here are some common reasons:
- You didn’t realize how big your snake would get. It’s never a good idea to keep a snake that is more than eight feet long if you don’t have someone to help you in case there are problems when it gets out of its enclosure. This also means that you shouldn’t leave your 15-foot Python with your Grandma when you go to college. Or maybe you just don’t have the physical strength to take care of your snake for some reason. Sometimes big snakes just have to be put in new homes.
- You don’t know how to care for your snake. You know your snake isn’t doing well, but you are not sure why. Or your snake needs temperature and humidity that just aren’t possible in your home. Or you are concerned about what will happen to your snake if the power goes out for days or weeks in winter weather. Not knowing how to take care of your snake, so it is happy and healthy is a good reason for selling your snake.
- Your snake just doesn’t like you. No matter what you do, your snake hisses and strikes at you. Maybe your snake was attacked by another pet when it was a hatchling, and it reacts to the scent of the same kind of pet on your clothes. Or maybe there is some kind of chemical in the air of your home that irritates your snake. Or you are scared of your snake, and it detects your hesitancy. You might be fine keeping a pet snake, but not this one.
- You don’t have the money to take care of your snake. If money is tight, you can get a little cash by selling your snake and its terrarium, plus any equipment you use with it. Stop the strain on your budget, and let your snake enjoy a new home.
It’s normal to feel bad about selling your snake.
But you should overcome that guilt and do what’s right for your snake, gaining a little cash in the process.
Some More Tips About Selling Your Snake
There are three initials to avoid when you are advertising your snake:
O.B.O. Or best offer.
If you indicate that you are willing to take less than your asking prices before the buyer even looks at your snake, it’s only natural to wonder what is wrong with your snake.
Prospective buyers might wonder just how desperate you are to sell your snake, and whether they can pressure you to sell your snake for less, or get you to give them your equipment for free.
Be honest about why you want to sell your snake.
This doesn’t mean you have to give a detailed explanation of all your reasons for selling your snake in your ad.
You can lose potential buyers with TMI, too much information. You just need to be honest in your interactions with your buyer as they have questions.
It’s only fair to disclose a health problem if the reason you are selling your snake is that you can’t keep up with your vet bills.
This will make it harder to find a buyer, but you will not have put those problems off on someone who isn’t equipped to take care of them, either. In this case, you might really want to consider gifting your sick snake to a reptile shelter.
The kinds of reasons that make the most sense to buyers are “I’m getting married and my husband to be is afraid of snakes,” or “Grandpa is moving to the old folks home, and they won’t let him take his four Reticulated Pythons with him.”
Buyers will appreciate honest information about how you just didn’t realize how hard it would be to take care of a big snake.
They will want your snake because keeping it shows they have the strength to handle it.
Pick a fair price and stick to it. This can mean telling some potential buyers.
There is no reason you should advertise your snake on just one website.
You shouldn’t be thinking in terms of posting an ad on just Craigslist or just Angie’s List or just Gumtree. You should be writing an ad for Craigslist and Angie’s List and Gumtree.
The more places your advertisement, the faster you will sell your snake, and the more likely you are to get your asking price with ease.
But what’s a fair price for your snake?
How to Decide How Much to Ask for Your Snake
A fair price for your snake depends on what kind of snake it is. Some species are far more expensive than others. Here are some examples.
Ball Pythons are popular pets. They are still a manageable size when they are fully mature.
They defend themselves by rolling into a tight ball, so tight you could roll them (no free shots!) across a basketball court. They are easy to care for.
It’s possible to find a Ball Python for as little as $30. (All prices in this article are listed in US dollars.)
If a Ball Python is a proven breeder, then you should expect to pay at least $100. But some Ball Python morphs are worth much, much more.
- The albino (orange) morph sells for $200 on average, up to $2500.
- The axanthic (black and white) morph sells for $300 on average, up to $1500.
- The banana (yellow) morph sells for $300 on average, up to $1500.
- Piebald Ball Pythons (a mix of white and other colors) average $500 in price, but sometimes sell for as much as $5000.
Boa Constrictors are big, popular snakes. They can grow over 10 feet (3.3 meters) long, females growing longer than males.
Boa Constrictors cost more than most other snakes.
You can expect to pay around $100 for a Boa Constrictor in a pet store. Morphs cost more:
- Anerythristic (scaleless, with darker colors) Boa Constrictors sell for around $500.
- Hypermelanistic Boa Constrictors, which have various patterns in lighter colors, sell for $500 to $1000, depending on their breeding potential.
- IMG Boa Constrictors (darker colors, up to pure black) sell for $500 and up. A pure black Boa Constrictor will usually sell for around $2000.
- Snow Boa Constrictors, which may be yellow or white, sell for around $500, but a pure white Boa Constrictor may sell for as much as $5000.
California Kingsnakes are the most popular pet snake in North America.
They are only about 4 feet (130 cm) long when they are fully mature, but they can live up to 20 years.
They have striped pattern along their bodies, usually in black, brown, white, and yellow. California Kingsnakes are a great starter snake, although the hatchlings are skittish.
Most California Kingsnakes sell for about $70, but some morphs are much more valuable:
- Albino California Kingsnakes, with no color in their scales and red or pink eyes, sell for about $100.
- Lavender California Kingsnakes sell for about $100.
- “High White,” almost exclusively white California Kingsnakes, sell for about $300.
Corn Snakes are native to the southeastern fringe of North America. They are especially common in south Georgia and northern Florida.
They are easy to care for, and a great starter snake.
The market for Corn Snakes is flooded, so they usually sell for $30 to $40. However, some morphs are much more expensive.
- Anerythristic (scaleless) Corn Snakes sell for $500 up to $1000.
- Caramel-colored Corn Snakes sell for about $125.
- Hypomelanistic Corn Snakes (no dark pigmentation, but still have light brown, orange, red, and yellow rings) sell for $150 up to $1000.
- Palmetto Corn Snakes (white with colorful dots along their backs) sell for about $600.
A scaleless albino corn snake may sell for thousands of dollars.
Garter Snakes are easy and fun to keep.
They are very active and enjoy lots of handling. They are common across most of the United States and in a few locations in southern Canada.
Garter Snakes usually sell for about $25. An albino Corn Snake might fetch $50.
Western Hognose Snakes are popular for their upturned, “piggy” noses.
The nose is actually an extension of the muscles of its underbelly, which give it the power to dig through dirt to search for insects and small rodents to eat.
These popular snakes are easy to find in pet stores for just $20 to $30. However, an albino Western Hognose Snake, which has a creamy orange color, may sell for about $200, and an axanthic (black and white) Western Hognose Snake may sell for $400.
Chances are that you spent hundreds of dollars on terrariums and equipment for your snake.
Maybe you spent just $75 on a plastic enclosure for your snake.
Or you gave your snake a cozy wooden vivarium that cost you about $200. Or you spent $300 on a glass enclosure that gave you maximum opportunities for viewing your snake.
You may have spent hundreds of dollars on snake hides (hiding places), basking lamps, heating rocks, heating pads, heat lamps, ceramic heaters, and lighting.
If they are still in good condition, a good rule of thumb is to ask for half as much as you paid for them.
You may make more money selling them separately than you will get for selling all of your equipment with your snake.
However, it may be easier to find a buyer if you sell snakes and equipment together.
Give the Buyer All the Information They Need to Give Your Snake a Good New Home
Once you sell your snake, the snake is their problem. But it’s only common courtesy to provide your buyer with basic information about your snake, such as:
- The temperature and humidity snakes of your snake’s species need.
- A record of the last two or three dates your snake has shed, so they will know when to expect your snake to shed again.
- Information about the food your snake usually eats, likes to eat, and won’t eat at all.
- Your snake’s medical history, including any problem sheds and any problems with parasites.
- Whether your snake likes handling, and whether it is prone to escaping its enclosure.
Giving your buyer as much information as possible ensures that your snake will have a comfortable new home.
How to Ship a Snake to an Online Buyer
If you are selling a rare morph, you will probably be asked for photos and your snake’s breeding information.
But you probably won’t ever see your buyer in person.
You will be asked to ship your snake. Shipping a snake may sound cruel or uncomfortable for the snake, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
The first thing you will need for shipping your snake is a sturdy box, one that won’t get crushed in transit.
Boxes strong enough for transporting snakes are corrugated. They should have a minimum of 27# bursting strength, or a score of 44 on the edge crushing test.
If the person selling you the box doesn’t know how to confirm this information, buy your box from someone who does.
Usually, post office clerks will know how strong various kinds of boxes are, and will be able to sell you the box you need.
The box will need one or two breathing holes. Line the box with insulating material, and put your snake in a snug but not too tight pouch made of breathable fabric to keep it from stressing out during the trip.
Federal law requires that you clearly label any container you use to ship your snake with:
- A notice of “Harmless Animals Inside.”
- A note that the box contains reptiles.
- A notice of how many animals are inside the box.
- The common name of your snake, for instance, Western Hognose Snake.
- The scientific name of your snake, for example, Heterodon nasicus.
You can find a heating pad that doesn’t need batteries to include in the box to keep your snake warm, but you can’t include a battery-operated heater.
You don’t need to ship your snake with food or water if you are sending them overnight or by second-day air.
Be sure to consider the cost of shipping when you are selling your snake.
Ball Pythons, Corn Snakes, and all the other snakes we have mentioned in this article can be shipped almost anywhere, but wild-caught and endangered species are restricted in many locations.
It is a good idea to check the laws of your snake’s destination online before you sell and ship your snake.
You won’t want it to have to be sent back to you or confiscated at its destination.
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