So what are some of the best snakes we can buy for the beginner? Well, this guy here is a king snake. He's docile, he's beautiful, and relatively easy to take care of. King snakes are related to milk snakes, corn snakes, and rat snakes, and the corn snakes have beautiful morphs, beautiful different colors. King snakes have beautiful different colors and they all are relatively docile. They're all in the constrictor family. They are all carnivorous. They all require the basic temperament for handling, as long as you're nice and calm these guys are very, very calm.
So they do well with the beginner. Their terrarium and their setup is very easy. Normally, probably an easy way of figuring out, "Okay, I've got a snake, what is the space that I need?" Well, if you take the length of your snake in feet, the length of the terrarium and the width of the terrarium should be a little bit longer than the length of the snake, and there's your minimal. So there's a good way of figuring out exactly how much we need, okay?
Now when you get the terrarium the first thing that you need to plan on for all of this class, your corn snakes, the rat snakes, the king snakes, the milk snakes is we need to set up a temperature gradient. It's very, very important. All snakes are ectotherms. They're cold-blooded, so they need their environment to help them heat up. So we want to set up an area on one side of the terrarium that is high 80's, maybe low 90's for these guys, but high 80's does well. And then at the other side of the terrarium, a cooler area that is high 70's, low 80's.
Now the way you can do that is they make heating tape that you can put underneath your terrarium and it keeps a basic temperature, and you can use different lighting or heat sources on one side. It is very, very important that when you set up the terrarium for taking care of these guys that you have thermometers in there and remember your snake is living down at the bottom. So the thermometer needs to be down here where the snake is not up at the top of your terrarium, because the temperature gradient isn't up here. They're not up there. So you get your thermometer and you put it down here where the heating area is and down on the other side so you can tell this side is high 80's. This side is high 70's, low 80's.
And then they're very easy to feed, they readily take mice. When they're younger you'll do pinkies, and when they're older you use larger mice, and the way to figure that out is, remember that you always check the widest area of the snake's body. The bait should never be wider than that. These guys are friendly, docile. Their area is very easy to develop. Now they can get larger. This guy here may get up to five to seven feet. And all of that class will live anywhere from 10 to 25 years. Most of the time it's in the teens to low 20's, so be ready to enjoy these guys for a long time when you start with them.