How Old Can Snakes Get?

Are you a snake owner who’s become quite attached to your snake? 

Do you find yourself thinking about the life of snakes, wondering how long snakes live and can keep us company? 

Owning a snake is fantastic and a fun pastime, but snakes may live a while. 

You need to know what to expect. 

You need to ask: 

How old can snakes get?

The average lifespan of a snake depends on its exact species. In general, snakes in captivity live up to 10 to 30 years, while snakes in the wild live between 7 to 15 years.

Compared to some other domesticated animals, snakes are a more long-term commitment. 

Keep reading if you’re interested in learning more about the lifespan of snakes.

how old can snakes get

How Long Do Snakes Live?

Like mentioned before, a snake’s lifespan depends on its species and has a range. 

Generally, the larger and longer the snake, the longer it can live. 

Of course, this rule also has many exceptions.

If you’d like to know the specifics, below is a table of some of the more common domesticated species, which includes their lifespan range both in captivity and in the wild:

SnakeIn CaptivityIn The Wild
Ball python20-40 years8-20 years
Corn snake15-20 years6-8 years
Kingsnake15-20 years10-12 years
Hognose snake10-18 years7-12 years
Boa constrictor20-30 years10-15 years
Burmese python15-20 years10-15 years
Reticulated python15-20 years9-14 years
Milk snake13-18 years7-10 years
Garter snake6-10 years3-4 years
Reticulated python20-25 years15-20 years

All these snake species live for longer than a decade in captivity, with the ball python able to reach 40. 

This is a critical consideration when you decide to get a snake, as it’s very likely they’ll be sticking around for a while. 

Make sure you’re able to commit to keeping a pet for this long before you buy one.

Why Does Lifespan Differ Between Snakes In Captivity Versus The Wild?

There are several reasons why snakes live longer in captivity than in the wild. 

Many snakes in the wild will succumb to wounds and infections easily if these conditions are left rampant for too long. 

However, in captivity, we’re able to take our snakes to the veterinarian and get them treated if any injuries or infections occur. 

This is especially the case with snakes which choose to prey on rats, as rats are notoriously vicious and can cause injury to a snake’s mouth while they’re being attacked and ingested. 

In addition to potential mouth rot, there are also other types of dangerous infections. 

For example, respiratory infection is no big deal to a snake in captivity, but it could be fatal for a wild snake.

If you have a pet snake that keeps its mouth open this can indicate an infection.

Check out our post on why snakes sit with their mouth open to learn more about the potential problems this could mean for your snake.

Medicinal treatments improve the length and quality of life for many snakes in captivity. 

Additionally, snakes in the wild are prey to various predators unless they’re one of the larger apex predators. 

Even for the big snakes, like pythons, they’re still subject to predation when they’re smaller and younger. 

Staying in captivity protects them from being killed by other animals so they can attain adulthood. 

Lastly, a good owner will make sure their snake is well-fed and given all the proper nutrients necessary for survival. 

Food is provided efficiently and easily for snakes kept in captivity, whereas snakes in the wild need to hunt for sustenance. 

If prospects are bleak or they’re unable to find food, they will die from starvation.

How Can I Make Sure My Snake Lives A Long Life?

The key to prolonging the lifespan of your snake is making sure you keep it happy and healthy. 

You have to make sure its environment and care are optimized. 

This includes housing, climate control, and diet.

First, research what size tank or enclosure is recommended for your species of snake. 

Remember, this will vary depending on your snake’s size and activity level, so it’s important to know what you need for your specific snake. 

The substrate used as bedding should be maintained regularly and kept clean and dry.

Heat and humidity are also essential to keep an eye on. 

Snakes are cold-blooded and require particular external temperatures to regulate their internal temperatures. 

There are specific temperature ranges depending on your snake and the type of environment it naturally exists in. 

The same consideration must be taken with humidity requirements as well. 

After ensuring the physical habitat is suitable for your snake, monitoring the climate conditions is vital.

The next important step is ensuring a proper diet. Snakes eat a carnivorous diet, meaning you need to maintain a good ration of meat. 

For most snakes, this means rodents which you buy fresh or frozen. Know the dietary needs of your snake, and keep a consistent schedule for feeding.

Lastly, make sure you know where a local vet is located who is comfortable caring for reptiles. 

It’s best to tackle issues when they arise rather than let them go unsolved for a long time. 

Good vet care will ensure better health for your snake.

What Is The Oldest Snake In The World?

The Guinness World Record holder for the oldest snake in captivity is a Columbian rainbow boa named Ben, who lived until the age of 42 years old! 

He lived in Valdosta, Georgia, with his owners Dennis and Andrew Hattermann.


It’s crucial to understand how old snakes get before purchasing one as a pet. 

As long as you are caring for your snake correctly and meeting all its needs, it will likely keep you company for at least a decade, if not more. 

Snakes are great pets to keep, so knowing they’ll be by your side for a long time is comforting.

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