How Big Are Baby Snakes?

What is the size difference between a baby snake and an adult snake?

If you’re raising a baby snake, what should you keep in mind?

You might be thinking of adding a young snake to your reptilian family. 

Or maybe you have a pregnant snake and are wondering what size babies to expect. 

No matter what the reason, you have asked the question:

How big are baby snakes?

The length and weight of a newborn snake depend on which one of three thousand species the snake is. The snakes commonly owned as pets tend to be in one of three families: Boidae, Pythonidae, and Colubridae. Generally, the bigger a hatchling is, the bigger the adult snake will be once it has grown up.

how big are baby snakes

What Do Experts Call Baby Snakes?

You might see newborn snakes referred to by multiple different names in your research. 

Hatchling is standard, as most snakes hatch from eggs. 

Neonate is another common name for a newborn snake. 

The hatchling or neonate stage is the first stage in a snake’s development. 

After a year, you might see a snake referred to as a yearling or a juvenile. 

A snake usually reaches adulthood, or sexual maturity, between two and three years of age. 

A female snake will be ready to breed at around three years old.

How Big Are Baby Snakes When They Are Born?

Even within each of these three snake families, there are variations in hatchling size by snake species. 

We have included handy tables with some commonly owned pet snake species and their hatchling lengths and weights.

Boidae

Boidae is commonly known as boas or boids. 

You find boid species through Latin and South America in the wild. 

It’s not uncommon to find them across Africa, Europe, Asia, and around some Pacific Islands.

SpeciesNeonate LengthNeonate Weight
Emerald Tree Boa12-24” inches (61 cm)20-50 grams
Red Tail (Common) Boa14-22” inches (56 cm)50-60 grams
Kenyan Sand Boa6-8” inches (20 cm)9-15 grams

The table above lists three commonly owned species from the Boidae family in descending order by hatchling length.

Boid babies come in a range of sizes, from the large emerald tree and red tail to smaller species like the Kenyan sand boa and the rosy boa. 

Boas are viviparous, meaning they give birth to live young rather than laying eggs

This does not necessarily mean small litter size, however. 

The common boa can give birth to up to sixty baby boas at once, with an average litter of twenty-five. 

An emerald tree boa, meanwhile, has a smaller litter size at five to twelve. 

Litter size also depends on what age the mother is and how many breeding seasons she has had.

Which Boa Grows Up To Be The Largest? 

The boa constrictor imperator, native to Central and South America, grows to between 6-9′ feet (2.4 m) long if female and between 5-8′ feet (2.4 m) if male. 

An adult female boa imperator weighs between twenty-two and thirty-three pounds.

Meanwhile, a Kenyan sand boa usually does not get longer than 2′ feet (0.61 m) long, weighing only about seventy to one hundred grams as an adult. 

As is suggested by its name, the Kenyan sand boa lives in the wild in drier areas of Eastern Africa.

Pythonidae

Members of the family Pythonidae are commonly referred to as pythons. 

There are forty species in the family Pythonidae spread across Africa, Asia, and Australia.

SpeciesHatchling LengthHatchling Weight
Reticulated Python24-30” inches (76 cm)110-170 grams
Burmese Python19-31” inches (79 cm)Average 113 grams
Green Tree Python11-14” inches (36 cm)8-10 grams
Ball Python10-16” inches (41 cm)50-100 grams
Blood Python8-10” inches (25 cm)Average 99 grams

Five of the commonly owned pet python species listed in the table above are in descending order from the longest to shortest hatchling range.

Unlike boas, pythons are oviparous, meaning they lay and hatch from eggs. 

Python young usually hatch from their eggs after a few months outside of their mothers’ bodies. 

Clutches tend to be small, with the ball python laying six to twelve eggs, and the green tree python laying an average of twenty at a time. 

However, the reticulated python, the largest in this family, lays up to eighty eggs at once.

Reticulated pythons, native to Southern and Southeast Asia, are among the world’s largest snakes. 

After a year, they reach almost 10′ feet (3 m) in length. As adults, they could be 30′ feet (9.1 m) long.

The shortest python hatchling in this table, the blood python, will grow up to 5-8′ feet (2.4 m) long in adulthood. 

Blood pythons, also called short-tailed pythons, live in the wild in the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, and other nearby small islands. 

They are very muscular and could weigh in at fifty pounds.

Colubridae

The snake family Colubridae is the largest of the scientific families. 

Over two thousand species exist within this family. 

Colubrid snakes are found on every continent on the planet except Antarctica. 

SpeciesHatchling LengthHatchling Weight
Corn Snake10-15” inches (38 cm)6-8 grams
King Snake8-11” inches (28 cm)9-14 grams
Milk Snake5-10” inches (25 cm)4-8 grams
Garter Snake6-9” inches (23 cm)1.5-4 grams
Hognose Snake5-9” inches (23 cm)Less than or equal to 8 grams

This table shows a varied selection of snakes from the family Colubridae, often kept as pets. 

They are organized from the longest to shortest by hatchling length.

Colubrid hatchlings tend to be on the smaller side, especially when compared to pythons and boas. 

This means they also tend to be smaller and faster as adults. 

Most Colubridae lay eggs, except multiple species of garter snakes. 

Garter snakes give birth to live young, sometimes up to eighty at once. 

Hognose snakes can lay clutches of up to forty eggs at a time. 

Most colubrids will lay clutches of up to thirty eggs.

Corn snakes and king snakes tend to grow the biggest in the Colubridae family. 

Corn snake yearlings can measure 22-40″ inches (102 cm) long, and adults have a body length from 2-6′ feet (1.8 m), weighing about two pounds. 

In the wild, we find corn snakes in the eastern United States, particularly in Florida.

Adult garter snakes only reach a maximum length of about 22″ inches (56 cm) in their lifetimes, with an average body mass of only a hundred and fifty grams. 

Like corn snakes, garter snakes are also New World snakes, with multiple species spread from Canada down to Costa Rica.

What Do Baby Snakes Look Like?

Besides their size, baby snakes look, for the most part, like their adult counterparts. 

Certain factors may differ from neonate stage to adulthood, including coloration, scale patterning, and head shape. 

For example, green tree pythons, native to New Guinea, Indonesia, and Australia, tend to be bright green with ridges of white or yellow scales down their backs and bellies as adults. 

However, neonate green tree pythons come in various colors, including red, maroon, and bright yellow. 

How Do I Take Care Of A Baby Snake?

If your snakes are gravid or pregnant, you will want to make sure you are prepared for the birth. 

Once the babies are born, it is best to separate them from the mother. In the wild, baby snakes are usually independent as soon as they are born. 

Moreover, if they are left too close to the mother after being born, you run the mother snake’s risk of eating her young. 

One thing to keep in mind is if you are taking care of a just-born snake, they might not be interested in eating right away. 

They usually have enough nourishment in their bodies to last them at least a few days. Force-feeding them will only cause them stress. 

Newborn snakes should only be fed or offered pinkies, or newborn mice. 

Cut them into pieces if necessary. 

Just like their adult counterparts, baby snakes want places in their habitats in which to hide. 

Security and safety may be a more important priority than food for a few days. 

They will also need a heat source, like this one, which goes under an enclosure. 

A small water dish should be sufficient for drinking and soaking.

Newborn snakes do not need separation from each other immediately. 

They should be given enough space to themselves once they start to grow, eat, and shed their skins.

Conclusion

We hope you have enjoyed learning about how big baby snakes get.

A baby snake’s size depends on which family and species it belongs to. 

While neonate snakes from the families Boidae and Pythonidae get rather large, hatchlings from the family Colubridae tend to be on the smaller side. 

Hatchlings look and behave much like their adult counterparts, just in miniature. 

There may be some exciting color and pattern differences, like in green tree python neonates. 

A big hatchling will most likely grow into a big adult snake, so we recommend taking potential adult snake size for the species into consideration before buying or rescuing a hatchling.

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