Do Colleges Allow Snakes? Read This First!

Do you have a pet snake at home and you are wondering if you can bring it to your dorm room? You will be surprised at how common this issue this, and I’m here to just give you the simplest answer.

After checking the pet policies of more than 1,000 schools, I’ve found the answers you are looking for.

So, do colleges allow snakes? Most Colleges do not allow snakes as pets in dorms, and less than 4% of all colleges allow pets at all. All colleges will allow for service animals, but snakes don’t qualify as service animals. Colleges allow for reptiles if their tanks are less than 25 gallons and are nonvenomous.

In this article, I’m going to cover the requirements of having a pet in your dorm, why almost all colleges prohibit snakes, which colleges are most likely to allow snakes, and what other options you have.

What Pets Do Colleges allow?

snake from close to answer do colleges allow snakes

Out of the 1,000+ colleges in the US, only three dozen of them will allow dogs and cats, and an even smaller number of them will allow fish, amphibians, lizards, and small caged animals.

The most common pets that colleges do allow are fish. If you do have a pet, the number one thing to be aware of is your college’s policy on keeping animals in dorms and how big or small they can be. Most schools state that no animals should exceed 25 pounds when fully grown. It may seem like a large size, but many dogs do exceed this weight.

The most important thing to do is check with your school before doing anything, and that way you can be sure not to do something against the rules if they do prohibit snakes as a pet.

Colleges allow emotional support animals and service Dogs

As a general rule, colleges are required by law to allow emotional support animals and service dogs on campus and in residence buildings, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA)

Both private and public institutions are required to oblige by these acts. Now, let’s go over the requirements for each of these acts.

The Requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

According to the ADA, service animals are allowed on college campuses and in residence buildings (dormitories); however, emotional support animals are not allowed as they are not considered service animals. An example of service animals is dogs that have been trained to help people with disabilities.

If it’s not clear what service the animal provides, then the college has the right to question if the animal is really a service animal and what services it provides. However, the college does not have the right to question the nature of the disability the owner has or request proof like documentation or a demonstration of that disability.

The owner will not need to register the service animal with the college or pay any fees to keep it on campus.

If the service animal is untrained or has behavior problems, the college has the right to request its removal from being on campus. However, there must be proof of the animal’s behavior in order to request its removal; the request cannot be based on future or past conduct,

The Requirements for the Fair Housing Act (FHA)

According to the FHA, both service animals and emotional support animals are allowed on college campuses and in residence buildings (dormitories).

Emotional support animals are animals who provide comfort to people with specific psychological or physiological ailments. For example, an emotional support animal can help its owner manage anxiety episodes. They are not the same as service animals, as they are not specifically trained to provide a service related to a disability.

If the owner’s psychological or physiological condition is not obvious, the college has the right to request documentation of it, such as a medical certificate or a social worker’s letter; however, this only applies to non-service animals.

The owner will not need to register the service animal with the college or pay any fees to keep it on campus.

Pet Policies for Most Colleges

Most colleges have their own policies that apply to pets that are not classified as emotional support animals or service animals. Let’s take a quick look at some of these policies:

  • The pet owner must register the pet with the colleg’s housing office
  • The pet owner must get permission from roommates or live in a single room without roommates.
  • The pet owner must pay a fee or a “pet deposit”
  • The pet must be trained, vaccinated, and sterilized (if the pet is a dog or a cat)
  • The pet cannot belong to a poisionus species.
  • The size of the pet’s habitat will be limited, depending on the residence of the owner.

What should you do if your college doesn’t allow for snakes?

Chances are, the college you want or have gotten accepted into will not allow for pet snakes, so what to do?

If your college doesn’t allow for pet snakes, the only option you have left is to rent an apartment with friends (or alone) outside of campus where you are allowed to keep a pet snake.

Of course, there are going to be laws regarding keeping your pet snake in apartments, and you can learn more about the laws and regulations of keeping pet snakes in apartments here.

What Colleges Allow Pets?

This table summarizes all colleges that allow pets like dogs and cats. Both private and public colleges are represented, including Ivy League schools as well as other selective institutions.

On finals week, some of these colleges bring puppies and kittens on campus in order to help students relieve stress and tension. The MIT Puppy Lab, for example, has dogs on campus in April and May. The University of Minnesota’s Pet Away Worry and Stress (PAWS) program allows cats, dogs, and other therapeutic animals to visit campus.

What colleges allow snakes and reptiles?

During my research, I have found only 1 college that will allow for snakes: the Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, and they restrict it to only animals that fit in a tank under 10 gallons in size.

Are snakes allowed in college dorms?

No, snakes are not allowed in college dorms.


While most colleges do not allow for dogs and cats, there are a number of schools that do. If you’re looking for a school where you can bring your furry friend with you, do some research on the pet policies of different schools. If your college doesn’t allow for pet snakes, the only option you have left is to rent an apartment with friends (or alone) outside of campus where you are allowed to keep a pet snake.

Although I really shouldn’t have to say it, I do; please don’t make your decision on which college to go to based on whether they allow your pet or not.

Related Questions

Can you bring a pet to college?

The answer to this question depends on the school. Some schools allow a limited number of pets, while others do not allow any animals on campus.

What colleges allow reptiles?

There are a few colleges that allow for reptiles on campus, but the majority do not. Humboldt State University is one of the few schools that allow snakes and other reptiles on campus.

Helpful Resources

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

 Fair Housing Act (FHA)

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