Snakes Harmful and HarmlessTM


To Keep A Snake

(Order Squamata)
All vertebrate fauna and some invertebrate fauna have protection under the new Biodiversity Wildlife Conservation Regulations, 2018. However, killing a snake of the family Elapidae (venomous land and sea snakes) is authorised (and does not require a licence) if it poses, or is reasonably perceived to pose, an immediate threat to - (a) public health or safety; or (b) stock or domesticated animals; or (c) animals on display or held in captivity or confinement (Regulation 48 Dangerous Snakes).

Generally snakes pose little threat - they cannot eat you therefore they don't want to bite you! A snakebite may occur around buildings and play areas if one accidentally touches a snake. The majority of snakebites occur as a result of treading on them.

In WA since 2003 we have been allowed to keep reptiles and frogs so the following notes have been put together with this in mind. For treatment and advice on medication for injured reptiles contact your local veterinary centre.

1. Pythons are inactive beasts that require far less room than mammals and birds. An area of 60 x 100 centimetres per metre length of snake is ample. Aquariums with secure pegboard lids make ideal cages. On the floor, for hygiene, use newspaper or coarse gravel rather than fine gravel or sand. A non-spillable earthenware container for water; a bird nest box to provide a hide so the snake can seek concealment and a climbing branch are all that is required.

Supplementary heating is recommended during cooler months. For this a heat lamp of low wattage (25-40w) can be used. With higher wattage globes it is preferable that the snake can not contact it. Electric blankets make ideal heat pads. This is placed beneath the aquarium so that it only heats half of the floor area, allowing the snake to shuttle through different temperature zones.

2. Snakes are ectotherms (cold-blooded animals) that require much less food than comparable sized endotherms (mammals & birds). Dead mice or day-old chickens, preferably after freezing, offered after snake defecates (approx. every 2 or 3 weeks). Remember! It is not uncommon for an adult python to go several months without a feed.

3. Continual handling will stress the snake and put it off its food, eventually causing its death.

4. External parasites such as ticks can be killed with Binkill (trademark) garbage can pest control strips.


Only expose snake to pest strip for no more than 2 hours per day for 3 consecutive days. Repeat exposure cycle again 7-10 days later.

5. Treat any open wounds with topical antibiotics.

Back to BB's homepage