5 Reasons Why Snake Racks Are Better

5 reasons why snake racks are a better way to keep snakes?

First, they‘re less stressful on snakes. They are more convenient and save space. Snake racks offer superior heat and humidity control and are great for breeding and mass production. Finally, the price is reasonable.

Hear me out on this!

This controversy is nothing new to the reptile industry which is unfortunate. Some arguments are legitimate while others are just plain silly. The suitability between snake racks and tanks/cages is one such debate. I believe that snake racks are the best way to go and I’ll give you five reasons why. Feel free to leave comments below because we’re always open to your opinion.

Snake rack tower

1. Less stress on snakes

The number one reason snake racks are better is that of the snake’s well-being. I understand the argument here. Some people think it’s cruel to keep a snake in a plastic tub. Admittedly, their quarters are tighter than an upright fish tank (depending on the size of the tank). Also, people think that a tub placed in a rack reduces the snake’s external stimuli, leaving them bored and lonely. In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Snake racks are one of the best ways to keep snakes – Hear me out on this

Human beings have a tendency to treat animals as if they were human. We treat animals the way we expect to be treated and erroneously think of them as humans too. I’d like for you to mentally step outside yourself as if you’re no longer human. Instead, envision yourself as a snake. Now, think like a snake.

While a human thinks it’s cruel to keep a snake in a tub, the snake is actually much more secure than it would be in a large tank with lots of space. I can prove this by the way a snake feeds. I’ve had plenty of tanks before, especially when I was younger. In my experience, snakes have always fed better when placed in tubs in the rack.

Snakes are wonderful but not social

Snakes are not social animals. They’re not even close to being social. In their natural environment, snakes come out in the open to get warm, find food, or find a mate. After a snake eats, it disappears until the next time it’s hungry. Why would a person think having a snake in a large fish tank would make it happy?

Another point I’m taking into consideration is the size of the tub. It should go without saying that a larger snake needs a larger tub. Such snake racks are also available.

I also understand that some snake keepers only keep one or two specimens so an entire snake rack isn’t feasible or necessary. Or, perhaps you enjoy keeping the snake as a display animal. While these are both reasonable points, don’t be so sure snakes have a miserable life in a rack. Remember to think of it from a snake’s perspective and not a human’s. In reality, your interaction with the snake when handling is more than enough external stimuli.

The Arizona mountain kingsnake in its enclosure

2. Convenience and saving space

From the perspective of the keeper, a snake rack system is extremely convenient and saves space. Once a collection grows to ten or more snakes, a rack is certainly a good investment. For one thing, it saves a lot of space.

Picture ten fish tanks spread all around a room, or on bookshelves. Now imagine a single ten-tub snake rack in the corner of the room. See what I mean? Most snake collections tend to grow over time. It’s an addicting hobby.

The tubs are also easy to clean. I line my tubs with paper towels for several reasons. First, they are absorbent and are easily switched out when removing soiled areas. By layering the paper towels in two, the snake can hide underneath the towels when it chooses. You can also make pockets from the towels for the snake to hide. Paper towels are also sometimes shredded making them somewhat similar to aspen.

Thermostat is vital to temperature control.
A thermostat is a must when using heat tape. DO NOT USE HEAT TAPE WITHOUT A THERMOSTAT!

3. Heat and humidity control

Another great advantage of using tubs in a snake rack is having control over the temperature and humidity of the enclosure. Most racks come with heat tape already in place. Heat tape is a great way to provide a warm spot for a snake with a reduced chance of getting burnt.

To this day, I’ve never heard of a snake being burnt in such a situation. Of course, you will need a thermostat and thermometer to check the amount of heat that’s being released. The snake needs a tub big enough for it to move away from the warm spot when it chooses.

Humidity control and good for geckos too

Humidity rises from moisture in the enclosure. These racks are not just good for snakes. Geckos and their keepers love the convenience a rack system offers. Raise the humidity by misting some paper towels with water while the heat is on. You can also offer a closed shoebox with a hole in the side of it. Place damp paper towels, moss, or vermiculite in the shoebox and you’ll raise the humidity.

Thermostat probe taped to heat tape
Foil tape is used to mount the probe of the thermostat directly onto the heat tape. Make sure you have a thermometer inside the enclosure. Check both the warm and cool spots separately.

4. Breeding snakes in mass production

Snake racks come in different sizes. If you’re breeding snakes or geckos a breeding rack is the best way to go. You’ll have plenty of room and you’ll be able to check the heat and humidity easily.

Hopefully, by the time the snake or gecko outgrows the tub, it’ll already be sold. That’s the basic plan anyway.

In some cases, use multiple Dixie cups placed in a single tub when shooting for a certain temperature and the specimens are small enough.

5. Snake rack price compared to glass enclosures

The price for snake racks is reasonable in my opinion. Glass tanks and other cages are not cheap. Look at it this way – a ten-tub snake rack will be cheaper than ten tanks, lids and tank locks. If you frequent reptile shows, snake racks are usually cheaper because sellers usually have other competition in the room. 

Be certain when buying a new rack that the tubs being used are completely level around the lip. I once bought a rack constructed with tubs that had dips in each lip where the handles originally were. This allowed a smaller specimen to escape. Luckily, I eventually found him unharmed.

Also, when keeping small colubrids like kingsnakes, place a layer or two of cardboard under the tub to prevent escape. The cardboard raises the tub to the ceiling of the enclosure. When the snake grows larger, simply remove the cardboard.

Soldering iron
A soldering iron is bought at a hardware store or online.

For creating air holes in plastic tubs or shoeboxes, use a soldering iron

While I’ve been told there’s enough space for air exchange, I poked a few air holes at the front top of the tub for extra oxygen. Don’t try to do this with scissors or a knife. Use a soldering iron to easily poke holes through the plastic. I usually poke eight to ten holes uniformly at the top of the tub.

I’ve never had an issue with oxygen deprivation but if you raise the tub to the ceiling of the enclosure with cardboard, you’ll need some holes to make up for it. I poke holes in all my tubs whether I use cardboard or not.

Lip of the plastic tub
Avoid tubs with handle lips. A small snake may escape.
Air holes and cardboard | Snake Hacks
Holes and cardboard.


If you have a negative opinion about snake racks, please try to look at it from the snake’s point of view. Tubs in snake racks are a hide-box in themselves but you can still add one if you feel like it. Also, it’s important to get racks which have tubs that are large enough for the snake to ultimately be comfortable in.

Feel free to add your If your opinion on snake racks and reasonable arguments, please feel free to add them to the comment sections below!

5 Reasons Why Snake Racks Are Better

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Lisa McKinney

    Hello, thanks for the information about keeping snakes in a container . I’m wanting to purchase a couple of corn snakes to keep in my garage. I have a bird problem and would much rather have snakes to keep the birds out. I would like for the snakes to have free run of the garage , if that’s possible?? I was wondering if you would have any information that may help me. Thanks

    1. Avatar
      Snake Hacks Site Admin

      Hi Lisa and thanks for visiting Snake Hacks! This is an interesting question. I cannot in good conscience recommend keeping pet corn snakes in the garage roaming freely. I’d be afraid of them getting into a crack or crevice. Also, you have to sustain your corn snakes by feeding them once a week. I’m afraid random birds that might be getting into the garage would not be a longterm source of food. It’s best to keep pet corn snakes in breeding racks or display enclosures always having access to a bowl of fresh water and a warm spot for them to digest their meal and thermoregulate. Thanks again and good luck!

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