Snake lifespan explained: how long do snakes live?

close up of red snake coiled up
On average, snakes live for two to ten years in the wild and twenty to thirty years in perfect conditions or captivity. Many factors affect a snake’s longevity.

Any snake enthusiast will have once asked themselves, “How long do snakes live?” While the reptile has garnered a bad reputation when living in your backyard, snakes are still a popular pet in many homes.

However, how long do snakes live, both domesticated and in the wild, and what is their average lifecycle like?

This guide will look at the life of different snake species and how their species influence their overall lifespan. Let’s dive in!

How long do snakes live on average?

There are over four thousand species of snakes found all around the globe. Some species can live longer while others shorter.

On average, snakes live for two to ten years in the wild and twenty to thirty years in perfect conditions or captivity. Many factors affect a snake’s longevity.

grey snake partially coiled amongst dirt and clovers

Factors affecting a snake’s longevity

There are many factors affecting a snake’s lifespan, which is why it’s challenging to give a precise average lifespan for snakes.

Whether it’s a wild snake or a pet snake, the following factors affect their lifespan:

Health conditions

Just like any other animal, good health is crucial for longevity. Snakes with weak immunity don’t live long.

Besides, wild snakes are more prone to different factors that can affect their health. These include fungal infections, viruses, ectoparasites, endoparasites, and other diseases.


Let’s face it! Stress is a killer; like other animals, snakes also undergo stress and are more likely to die younger.

Wild snakes are constantly being hunted when they shed, temperature drops and when sick.

Feeding regularity

Every snake needs to eat to survive, and if there’s food scarcity, the lifespan will be impacted.

Unlike domestic pets, wild snakes lack enough food due to competition from other predators, drought, famine, and low temperatures.

Snake Type

Every snake species has a different lifespan. For instance, a species such as a ball python or reticulated python live much longer than kingsnakes or Corn snakes.

Quality of natural enclosure/habitat

When a snake lives in a habitat that meets all the requirements, such as ample humidity, temperatures, substrate, and so on, it will live longer.

Snakes in the wild face adverse environments such as cold weather and lack of substrate, shortening their lifespan.

black shiny snake head on brown leaves

What type of snakes live the shortest?

The most common pet snake with the shortest lifespan is the Redbelly snake. These snakes are among the most populous in America and Canada. They are typically captured and kept as pets for short periods.

Commonly, Redbellies are not found in general pet retailer shops. This is primarily because they’re limited in various colors, patterns, and morphs and lack all that great of pets.

Mostly, they’re tiny, brownish, and have a red belly hence their name. They are primarily under sixteen inches and only live for around three to four years in captivity.

What type of snakes live the longest?

The ball python species is the type of snake that has lived the longest, with many in captivity reaching the age of twenty-five to thirty years with the proper care.

From the records, there was a 42-year-old albino ball python named “Gerry.” Gerry was the oldest snake pet that died at 42 years old.

However, not many snakes will live to see the four-decade lifespan due to many factors, as mentioned above.

Lifespans of different snake species

With the many different species of snakes out there, you could wonder how this impacts their different lifespans. Below are some of the common snakes and their longevity.

  • Ball Python: 30 years in captivity and 5-10 years in the wild.
  • Boa constrictor: 20 years in the wild and over 40 years in captivity.
  • Rattlesnake: 5 to 10 years in the wild and around 20 years in captivity.
  • Garter snake: 2 to 4 years in the wild and can double this period in captivity.
  • Rat snake: 10 to 20 years, both in captivity and in the wild.
  • Hognose snake: 20 years in captivity and have a lifespan of around five years in the wild.
  • Corn snake: 12 to 18 years in captivity and close to seven years in the wild.
turquoise snake coiled up on a tree branch

Average snake life cycle

Most snakes are born from the same typical life cycle. However, some species, such as the amazon anaconda, give birth to live young ones instead of laying eggs. In this section, we’ll look at the average life cycle of snakes that lay eggs.


Most snakes reach sexual maturity from two to five years, and females lay five to twenty eggs every season. The breeding season depends on the individual species and weather conditions.

Depending on the snake species, the eggs can take a week to several months to hatch. This is when most young snakes are hunted and eaten by predators because they’re defenseless.

Juvenile snakes

Juvenile snakes, also known as snakelets, are carnivores and can consume live prey immediately after hatching.

They take care of themselves, hunting, shedding their skin, and molting several times as they develop and change. Snakelets last in the juvenile stage for around a year to five years.

Adult snakes

Snakes that have attained sexual maturity are adults. This takes anywhere from two to five years and depends on the species and the care, whether in the wild or captivity.

Their longevity depends on the previously mentioned factors, especially if living in captivity or the wild.


Joseph Wales is a professional SEO content writer specializing in pest control, varmint removal, pets, and everything in nature. When not publishing, he’s busy teaching college and university students how to write admission essays and structure their academic papers. Writing has always been his passion, and he spends most of his time outdoors with his two lovely daughters in his spare time. He is also a skilled farmer, always traveling to his rural home to check on the livestock and corn field when he has the time. Armed with hands-on experience, Joseph uses his SEO writing skills to communicate accurate and engaging information that will also be valuable and educational, adding to the value of his readers.

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