A snake can make a good emotional support animal, under the right circumstances. Everything depends on the type of snake involved and the potential owner’s personality. Numerous species of snake exist but, of course, not all make good pets (an emotional support black mamba is never a good idea!). But a relaxed and docile ball python or corn snake can make a suitable ESA.
Many people are terrified of snakes. A fear of these reptiles seems to be hardwired into the human psyche. But while many people find snakes frightening and disturbing, some people find them fascinating and wonderful. People who choose to own a pet snake are certainly in a minority. But when the right snake and the right owner come together, a beautiful and rewarding bond can occur.
You might have a lot of questions about ESA snake ownership. Can snakes be emotional support animals? Do snakes make good ESAs? Are snakes good companions? What are the pros and cons of having an emotional support snake? Let’s find out…
ESA Snake Pros
Here are some of the main pros of owning an emotional support snake.
Can Help With Depression And Anxiety
Emotional support snakes can help with depression and anxiety by offering companionship and forcing their owner to concentrate on something other than themselves. Caring for a snake is a big responsibility; it’s a pet that is completely dependent on its owner. This responsibility can alleviate depression by giving the person a sense of purpose and occupation. The companionship that an ESA snake provides is good for reducing feelings of anxiety and stress.
Do Not Require Much Exercise
An ESA snake will get all the exercise it needs climbing inside its terrarium. Many snakes will enjoy coming out of their terrarium a few times a week. If you can provide a small tree in your home, your ESA snake may enjoy climbing on it. Some larger snakes enjoy swimming, so you can provide a kiddie pool or bath. But in general, an ESA snake does not need to be exercised. This makes it an ideal emotional support animal for a person who has low mobility and can’t get outdoors.
Generally, ESA snakes are low-maintenance pets. They only need to be fed about once per week (for larger, older snakes) or every few days (for smaller, younger snakes). They do not require strenuous exercise, and they like to be left alone most of the time.
Peaceful and Quiet
Many emotional support pets are noisy and high-energy. Many ESA dog breeds, for example, love attention, are very excitable, and make quite a racket. But snakes are silent. This means no disgruntled neighbors, no being woken in the middle of the night, and no barking in the background during Zoom meetings. ESA snakes are very peaceful pets.
A lot of common dog and cat species will activate human allergies with their fur and dander. You will have no such issues with an ESA snake, which has scales that won’t irritate you. Snakes shed their skin, but this does not activate human allergies, so you’ll be guaranteed that your pet snake won’t make you sneeze.
ESA Snake Cons
Snake ownership is not the easiest option for those seeking an ESA. Here are some elements to consider before committing to owning an emotional support snake.
Many People Are Frightened Of Them
Bear in mind that your ESA snake may end up giving your friends and family nightmares! Many people find snakes terrifying, so owning an ESA snake may keep some people away. Even if it’s in its terrarium, just having a snake around may mean that some friends or family won’t be comfortable visiting your home.
Snakes eat their prey whole. Most snakes eat mice and rats, so you will need to keep dead mice or rats in your fridge and feed them to your snake once or twice a week. This can make people pretty squeamish, so if you don’t have the stomach for this kind of feeding, an ESA snake might not be for you.
Not Especially Social
ESA snakes are much less social than more typical ESA species such as dogs, cats or pot-bellied pigs. An ESA snake will mostly want to be left alone. This can be very attractive for certain types of people, but if you are looking for constant companionship and cuddles, an ESA snake is not your best option.
Can’t Take An Emotional Support Snake On A Plane
Most airlines only allow ESA dogs to travel in the cabin along with their owner. So if you want an emotional support pet that can accompany you on a plane, an ESA snake is not a good option.
ESA Snake Ownership Will Not Keep You Fit
A major benefit of ESA ownership is that you get more exercise. If you own an emotional support dog, you will need to walk it every day. But ESA snakes have very little need for exercise, so owning an emotional snake will not really help you to get fit.
What Type Of Person Would Benefit From An ESA Snake?
Some personality traits that might mean you would benefit from owning an ESA snake are:
- You enjoy looking at beautiful things
- You are fascinated by exotic creatures
- You appreciate peace and quiet
- You are not especially tactile
- You are introverted
What Type Of Living Situation Might Suit A Snake ESA?
ESA snakes can fit in well in most types of living situations. A snake terrarium can fit in almost any home, even a small urban apartment. An important thing to consider when deciding if an ESA snake would be suited to your home is whether the people you live with will be OK with living with a snake. If so, go ahead with picking out your new scaled companion!