Pet Care Guides Reptile

House Snake


Arabia & Central Eastern Africa


Forest and Woodland

Average Size

Males 3', Females 5' and over


Average 15-20 years


When deciding to feed your snake, keep the food item on the smaller side so the snake does not have trouble digesting the food. If a snake eats something that is too large they may regurgitate, which will cause the snake not to want to eat in the future. If you feed your snake thawed frozen food, it is critical to make sure the food is completely thawed. Remember the snake is cold blooded and if you feed the snake a partially frozen food item and the snake swallows it the snake will go into shock and die from the temperature change. Thawing in warm water for at least 30 minutes is recommended.

House snakes, native to Arabia and Africa, are brown nocturnal snakes that don't grow much longer than 3 feet. As hatchlings, they learn to accept pinky mice. By the time a house snake is full grown, it can eat adult mice, frogs, lizards, birds and eggs. Make sure to stun these animals, because if your snake is not hungry the mouse may attempt to kill the snake.


This snake needs at least a 20 gallon tank, as an adult, with a tropical setting. Cage clips are a must because snakes are escape artists. We recommend Jungle Mix as the bedding. House snakes need a hide rock and a water bowl, both large enough that they can fit in. In the wild these snakes spend their entire lives curling around trees so make sure to provide driftwood and artificial plants to their home. The more your aquarium looks like a forest, the better your snake will like it. It is recommended to keep these snakes separated except if you plan to breed them.

Heating & Lighting Requirements

House snakes need a daytime temperature of about 80 - 85°F, and approximately 75° at night so they can properly digest their food. Without this warmth, the snake may become sick or start regurgitating its food. The snake also needs a 5.0% fluorescent bulb to simulate daylight, but this does not create heat and cannot replace the heat bulbs. The fluorescent bulbs should be kept on during the day along with the incandescent heat bulb. These fluorescent bulbs need to be replaced every six months.

Each type of animal has its own comfort zone and this zone is the temperature range the animal needs to survive and remain healthy. Know what the temperature is by using a thermometer. You will want one side of the tank to be the heated side and one side to be the cooler side so the animal can decide. Overheating can cause death. Keeping an animal too cool will cause trouble digesting food, weaken the immune system and will cause difficulty moving.


Most house snakes are docile and can be handled. Anytime the snake is fed however, it should not be handled for 24 hours or so. Too much handling can cause the snake to regurgitate if it was just fed. Please wash hands before and after handling.


Check once a month for mites. They will appear as black dots under the scales, usually at the snake's neck. You should attempt to remove the parasites by a treatment recommended by your vet. One suggestion is to bathe the snake and totally clean the cage, then spray the snake with JurassiMite. Feel free to ask for a "How-To" sheet on mites.

If your snake is having problems shedding, bathe him in warm water with Shed-Ease.

We strive to help our customers keep their animals healthy. We recommend purchasing a book about your pet and having your pet get normal vet checkups. If you notice any signs of illness in your pet it is important to get treatment immediately as most animals are good at hiding their illness until it is in an advanced stage.

Helpful Hints

When you first take your snake home do not attempt to handle him until he has eaten for you at least twice. Handling causes stress which can add to the time it takes for the snake to acclimate to its new home. Once you do begin handling, it is important not to overstimulate the animal.

To determine the sex of a house snake you must wait until they sexually mature, around 18 - 24 months. At this point, the safest way is to look at the tail. A male's tail is long and slender, slowly tapering off after the anus. A female's tail isn't as symmetrical and becomes smaller right after the anus, making her tail look almost lumpy.

If you have any problems or questions, feel free to contact the Reptile Room at 717-299-5691 ext. 1240 or email