I actually posted an almost-identical thread in the Hog Island thread over in the Boas Forum, but I am concerned it will not get looked at due to there being no activity in that forum since Dec 2014! So, I'm posting it here as well. I also think it is just as applicable as a General Snake post, and hope that you all will have some good suggestions and advice. Lastly, I'll say that I am completely open to any species &/or reptile. I'm looking to get a snake as my first reptile. I am torn between the Hog Island Boa and a Ball Python, and I'd like to get some input from Hog owners. Things I'm looking for in a snake: - Temperament. I have 3 young children (7, 6, & 3). I know snakes have individual personalities, but I would like a species that is generally known for having a good temperament. I also know there are other factors that influence this, such as the health of the animal, handling frequency & proper handling techniques, environment, stress, shed state, etc. I am looking for a snake species that would typically not be stressed out in a loud & active environment. - Size. I want a species that will not get any larger than 6 or 7 feet in length. Conversely, I am looking for something larger than 4 feet in length. Girth isn't that big of a deal to me, but one of the reasons I don't like Colubrids is because they are typically too skinny for my taste. From my research, Pythons & Boas seem to have several options that are ideal in size. - Curiosity. One of the biggest reasons I'm leaning towards Boas is because of their inquisitiveness. They come across as very curious, and seem to like exploring their environment and interacting, if you will, while being handled. What I don't want is an animal that will tend to be inactive while being held. I don't mind one that will chill, but I'm hesitant going with a Ball because of the "pet rock" reputation. - Speed. I know that any snake could probably take off quickly if it wants to, or is provoked. What I don't want is a hyper snake. Again, this is another of the reasons I don't like Colubrids. They seem to be extremely active while being handled. I don't want to have to constantly be maneuvering my hands in order to keep the snake in place. - Hardiness. So this may be the real item here. I've never cared for a reptile before, long-term. Like many of you, I grew up catching lizards, frogs, & snakes from my yard & the creek I grew up by. Long-term management of temperature, humidity, and the environment (controlling disease, parasites, etc.) will be new to me. I keep my house cool (night/day temps of 63/68 in the Winter & 66/72 in the Summer). Will this be an issue? I live in a high-altitude desert environment (SLC, UT). Will I have to take extra measures to control humidity? Having a species that is hardy, generally healthy, and can be forgiving of slight inconsistencies in their environment that may be caused by locality & my inexperience is very important to me. I'm not looking for a "set it & forget it" species, but I do want to make sure the species I choose is ideal for me, right now, and will allow me to learn without causing harm, serious illness, or even death to the animal. So, there you have it. My top 5 things I'm looking for in a snake. Is the Hog Island Boa the right choice for me? I've read that this is an "intermediate" species to own. Why is that? What differentiates a snake species from a "beginner," "intermediate," and even "expert" owner status? Should I stick with the typical Ball Python and get a Hog Island once I'm no longer a newb? Is a snake the right reptile to start with, or should I consider a lizard of some kind? I should note that I am 100% perfectly comfortable around non-venomous snakes. Furthermore, my Uncle, and roommate for several years (he's 9 months younger than me), owned a Columbian Red Tail Boa, raising her from 1 month in age until she died a couple years ago. Medusa was freakin' awesome! I loved how she'd chill on my shoulders behind my neck while I played XBox. I handled her quite a bit and lived with her until she was about 6-7 feet in length, before I got married & moved out. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my long-winded post, and for your expertise & advice. I am looking forward to hearing from you all!