If you’re a minor living at your parents’ house, you’ll need your parents’ permission to get a pet. Although some parents are altogether against the idea of having a pet snake in the house, others may be convinced to try letting you have a snake with a little coaxing. Before giving up for good and accepting the fact that they will not let you get a snake, there are a few things you might first like to try to get them to come around.
Before I start, please note that you should always be sure to be incredibly sensitive to your parents’ feelings. The more sensitive you are to their feelings, the more likely they are to give you the pet, as you will have addressed all the issues they bring up. Also, don’t beg, plead, or whine, as this will give your parents the impression that you’re not mature enough to have a snake. Finally, know when to call it quits. Don’t try pushing your parents into something they obviously really do not want to do, or else your chance at a new pet snake, or any pet for that matter, may be gone.
The fist step you should take toward helping your parents become more accepting of a snake as a pet is asking them what they specifically dislike about the idea. Make sure you’re prepared for this step so that if they say, for example, that they’re worried about having to take care of the pet for you, you can tell them that you know exactly how to take care of a pet snake (then recite how), and that you will be taking care of it yourself.
You should at this point explain to your parents all the positive aspects of having a pet snake: they’re easy to take care of, they’re really affordable, they don’t smell, etc. If your parents ask you a question you can’t answer, look up the answer on the internet and come back to them with the answer later.
Remember that snakes usually frighten people because others are afraid of them biting, strangling, or killing them. Make sure to tell your parents that these concerns are not a problem with a ball python. Ball pythons rarely ever bite, are very docile and non-aggressive creatures, and could not possibly strangle or kill a full sized human (although they should be kept away from the touch of babies, not because they can strangle them, but because they may carry salmonella, which is very dangerous to a baby, but not so much to a teen or adult). They do not get very big, and cannot escape from their enclosures if they are kept in a proper tank built for snakes and the lid is kept closed.
Make absolutely sure at this stage that you’ve clearly explained to your parents that you would be solely responsible for the pet: would feed it, clean up after it, and make sure the heat and humidity was perfect for it.
Ensure them that you would be the one handling the rats to feed your snake, as this is undoubtedly one of the problems they dread having to deal with. Also explain away any other worries your parents might have.
The second step you should take is to drop by a pet store with your parents, if they’ll agree to doing so. In front of them, hold a few different pets; maybe a gecko, a lizard, whatever reptile the store may have.
While holding each of the pets, ask your parents to pet the animals if they are willing. Finally, ask to hold the ball python. Watch your parents’ reaction to the snake. If they look disgusted, say something like, “You know, they look slimy because they’re so shiny, but they’re really very soft. You don’t expect them to be, though.” Explain that it’s only physically possible for a ball python to bite a person if their head is faced toward them, then rotate the ball pythons body so that it’s head is facing you.
Finally, ask your parents if they’d like to touch the belly of the ball python (get them to touch near the end of the snake). If they are willing to do this, they’re much more likely to let you have a pet snake, as snakes are much less scary to people who have touched and held them.
If there’s a chair in the pet store, ask your parents to sit down one at a time, then ask them if they’ll let you put the ball python in their lap. If they do, once you’ve placed the ball python in their lap, ask them to put their arms on both sides of the ball python. With some time, your parents may be willing to finally hold a ball python. If your parents hold the ball python, it likely means that they’re not afraid of the snake anymore.
Until they agree to let you have a pet, continue to try educating them about snakes in general, and ball pythons in specific. This process may take a very short time to make work, it may take a year, or it may never work at all. Yet if it is ever going to work, you’ll need to take small steps toward your goal and never try to push your parents. Otherwise, they may just tell you to forget about it and you may lose all chance of having your pet.
If your parents are very against snakes and just will not change their mind about them, it might be a good idea to try asking for another reptile, like a lizard or a gecko. They’re much more likely to accept one of those options for pets. But definitely do try the method of convincing your parents outlined above first if you’d like to have pet snake.
Jan Griffiths says
Excellent advice!!! I was a fortunate kid, I guess. I lived in suburban Michigan growing up, and always had some sort of reptile pet, either a painted turtle, skink, or water or garter snake. My parents actually liked my reptile friends. I got a boa constrictor at the age of ten, and had her for over fifteen years. She came with us when we moved to Arizona, which is where I still reside, and am now a Ball Python breeder. I have 5 Ball Pythons–4 girls, one boy.
Elise Xavier says
That’s awesome! 🙂
Jan Griffiths says
BTW, Havana is a lovely girl!!!
Elise Xavier says
I think so, too! 🙂
what should i start off with?