What is a good "starter" python for my son?

Dear VPI,

My son wants a python.

I want one that stays small. Is the spotted python a good choice?

Please Help!!!!! Linda   


Dear Linda,

The very best first python is probably a ball python. They are the calmest of all the pythons, they are small, rarely growing to more than 3 1/2 or 4 feet in length, good feeders, just great snakes. There's also a great book recently published called Ball Pythons: The History, Natural History, Care and Breeding that provides all the information one need to keep them. The book is for sale in the VPI Store (www.vpi.com/store).

I do like for a person to have the best possible first python experience, and ball pythons are perfect for that. 

Spotted pythons also are great, docile little snakes. We no longer work with the species, but several years ago we hatched over two hundred each year. They are hardy snakes and good feeders. One of my spotted pythons that I hatched in 1979 lived to be 28 years old.

They are kingsnake-sized pythons, attaining about the same length as a ball python, but with a more slender build.

Spotted pythons are also excellent choices for a first python.  

The only disadvantages of a spotted python (why I would rate them #2 next to a ball python for a beginner) is that they are an overall smaller snake and for me they are not as (hmmm, what's the word?) "fun" to hold.

Very young spotted pythons will sometimes nip and bite, but they're so small that this is not a problem-adults are always (in my experience) docile, calm and collected.  DGB