Snakes have a bad reputation. They trigger a revulsion in many people because of their slithery, tongue-darting ways. And, of course, the bad P-R from that Garden of Eden incident just won't go away. Still, a few of the more than 2,500 species of snakes make good pets. Corn snakes and kingsnakes are the most popular varieties. They're easily domesticated and, once they realize you aren't going to hurt them, will decide that you're a nice, warm place to curl up and sleep. Be sure to get your snake from a breeder. Snakes captured in the wild frequently suffer from internal parasites. You should also be aware that keeping a pet snake is an expensive and time-consuming process. Being cold-blooded, they're highly sensitive to temperature and humidity. A large aquarium kept at 80 degrees is ideal for most species. The water and bedding needs to be changed regularly, and some snakes won't eat anything except live prey. Finally, before you get that really cool-looking snake, remember that you're making a long-term commitment to its care. Once the 'cool' factor wears off, many people neglect pet snakes. Experts estimate that up to 90 percent of these animals die during their first year in captivity.
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