Cooperative Extension Service

I Found It: Can I Keep It? NC Snakes As Pets

Currently, North Carolina allows the collection of its native snakes, as long as they are not collected from the seashore, natural heritage protected areas, wildlife refuges, wildlife management areas, as well as state or federal parks (including the Blue Ridge Parkway). In addition, you must obtain permission from the land owner before collecting snakes from private lands. Snakes found in the road or in your yard may be collected. If you do not live in North Carolina, please check your local and state wildlife regulations before keeping a captured snake as a pet.

Personally, I prefer to purchase captive-bred animals from reputable breeders. Wild snakes may be slow to adapt and feed in captivity. They may be infested with ticks or mites or internal parasites. Captive-bred corn snakes are calm, easily obtainable, and come in a tremendous range of colors and patterns.

But if you want the thrill of keeping a snake you found yourself, Corn snakes are found anywhere rodents are plentiful. These snakes are the most easily kept native snake. They are calm and most individuals quickly become used to handling, and they feed on young rodents which are easily obtained. Not only that, each one is unique and most are quite attractive to look at.

The Eastern Hognose snake is plentiful throughout North Carolina and can be found crawling around in areas with loamy soils. This fascinating snake has numerous threat displays which are all bluff; it almost never bites. If you decide to try keeping one, be prepared to capture a lot of toads and frogs! This may be a problem for you in the wintertime, when amphibians are hibernating. Read more about the Hognose snake and see it here.

Garter snakes come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. These small snakes quickly become tame in captivity and are sometimes kept as pets. They feed on insects and small fish. Garter snakes are not an easy snake to keep, however, and I recommend you read this link containing further garter snake information before deciding to commit yourself to the responsibility of properly caring for and feeding this snake.

Okay, so you got permission from your neighboring farmer and you want to go find that gorgeous corn snake you saw last week. Here's how to go about it: