Can You Have a Garter Snake as a Pet? Find out Here!

Are you wondering if you can have a Garter Snake as a pet? I’ll tell you the truth!

I grew up in a family that loves snakes. We’ve had almost every species that you can keep as a pet! Do you want to know the truth about Garter Snakes? Let me put it this way – they’re harmless.

If you’ve never had a snake before, the Garter Snake might be perfect for you. In this article, I’ll tell you more about them, list everything you’ll need to be ready for one, and give you tips to look after your pet snake best if you decide to purchase one. 

Can You Have A Garter Snake As A Pet? The Simple Answer!

Yes, you can.

A Garter Snake will make an excellent pet if you’re a novice snake owner. These are my top reason why:

  1. Garter Snakes won’t easily bite, so you can handle them stress-free.
  2. Garter Snakes are small and straightforward to look after.
  3. Garter Snakes have few habitat requirements, and what they have, is inexpensive.
  4. Garter Snakes are easy to find, and purchasing one won’t break the bank. 
  5. Garter Snakes come in many colors and morphs for you to choose from. 

The Disadvantages Of A Garter Snake

With the good comes the bad, and while the pros outweigh the cons, it’s still important for you to know about them. Before you buy a Garter Snake to keep as your pet, keep this in mind:

  • Some Garter Snakes are mildly venomous, and while the chances are slim that they’ll bite, you can experience swelling and some pain if they do.
  • Most Garter Snakes available to purchase are wild-caught and difficult to tame. You need to ensure that the one you buy is bred in captivity. 
  • Garter Snakes quickly feel threatened, and when they do, they’ll expel a foul-smelling scent.

Everything You’ll Need For A Happy Garter Snake.

If you don’t plan on keeping your new pet snake happy, you shouldn’t get one. Garter Snakes are low maintenance, but they still need the right environment to feel loved. 


The most popular choice to house a Garter Snake is a 15-gallon aquarium. If this isn’t an option, you can keep your pet snake in a plastic container. 

Whichever enclosure you choose, it shouldn’t be too large. Your Garter might find it challenging to find their food if it is. 


You should add some habitat-like decoration to make your Garter Snake feel more at home. This can be hiding places like logs and rocks and a branch to slither upon.

Garter snakes also love lakes, streams, and rivers, and you should try to include a water source in their enclosure. Not only will your pet snake drink from the water bowl, but it’ll also cool off in it. 


Several substrates work well for Garter Snakes, so you can choose whichever you think is best. Your options include newspaper, soil, cypress mulch, peat moss, and coco fiber.


A Garter Snake only needs indirect natural light. If you plan on putting your pet snake on display, you might want to add high-quality lighting. 


The ideal temperature for your Garter Snake will depend on the region it’s from. Typically, 70°F works great, with a basking spot heated to 85­°F – 90°F. 


Carter Snakes flourish on small, live fish, frogs, slugs, and worms. You’ll need to feed yours at least three times a week.

What can I feed my pet garter snake Read more about How Big Do Tomato Frogs Get? Here’s Clarity!

Do Garter Snakes Hibernate?

In nature, Garter Snakes hibernate through the colder months. But those in captivity do not need to!

If you keep your enclosure warm enough during the winter, your pet snake won’t hibernate. 

Garter Snakes And Small Children

Garter Snakes are incredibly active and alert. Because of this, they make excellent display pets. Their energy is their need to interact, and garter Snakes are very sociable. 

You should interact and play with your Garter Snake as much as possible, especially in the first few months of purchasing it. Making it used to be handled is very important if children are living in your home or you’re planning to have some.

Garter Snakes make excellent family pets, and if raised correctly, they pose no risk to children except salmonella, which other reptiles carry too.

Tips To Create A Strong Bond

Here are some simple things you can do to create a great relationship between you and your pet snake:

  • Handle your snake gently and often.
  • Feed your snake as much as needed!
  • Ensure that your snake has a clean, well-maintained enclosure at all times.
  • Learn your snake’s signs and let it be when irritated, angry, or tired.
  • Have conversations with your pet snake as a friend!
  • Don’t let strangers do anything with your snake that you wouldn’t – building trust is essential. 

To Sum It Up

Garter Snakes are an excellent choice for a first-time pet snake owner. They don’t cost much, are easy to feed, and can be handled when tamed. 

If you have everything in place for your pet snake before it arrives, the transition to you will be smoother. Like any other pet, snakes also need attention and love.

I hope this article helps you make a decision! If you end up buying a Garter Snake, come back here and let us know how it’s going. You can also ask any questions you have right now in the comments. 

How much does a Garter Snake cost?

You can expect to pay between $20 and $50 for a Garter Snake.

Do Garter Snakes like to be handled?

Garter Snakes are considered social, and especially when they've been captive-bred, they're easy to handle.

How do you keep a pet Garter Snake?

You can keep a Garter Snake in a small enclosure with a hiding place and a water source.

What can I feed my pet Garter Snake?

You can feed your Garter Snake various foods like mice, chicken, eggs, and even fish-flavored cat food!

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