Do Colleges Allow Pet Snakes? Navigating Campus Policies

College life is filled with excitement, freedom, and newfound independence. As students embark on their journey, many find themselves seeking the comfort of a beloved companion – even if that companion happens to be a pet snake.

But the question remains: do colleges allow pet snakes into their dormitories and on campus grounds?

Pet snakes are often not allowed in colleges due to safety concerns and potential risks associated with their care and handling. Common permitted pets are fish or small animals like hamsters; however, colleges’ pet policies can vary, and exceptions are made for service animals and emotional support animals.

Keep reading to learn more about whether colleges allow pet snakes and what kind of pets colleges normally allow.

Do Colleges Allow Pet Snakes on Campus?

a photo of a pet snake to show do colleges allow pet snakes

College pet policies are determined by each school’s administration and were influenced by various factors, such as safety concerns, housing regulations, and the campus culture.

While some colleges may permit students to have pet snakes on campus, others may have restrictions or outright bans on certain types of pets, including snakes. Safety considerations are often a primary factor in shaping these policies, as some snake species could pose risks to individuals or the environment.

To know the specific rules regarding pet snakes on a particular college campus, prospective or current students should refer to the school’s official website and housing policies, or contact the college’s housing and residence life office for detailed information. 

Can You Keep A Pet Snake in a College Dorm?

Whether you can keep a pet snake in a college dormitory depends on the specific policies of the college or university you are attending. As mentioned earlier, pet policies vary widely among different institutions.

Some colleges may allow students to have small pets like fish or hamsters in their dorms but may have restrictions or prohibitions on larger pets or exotic animals, including snakes due to safety concerns and the potential impact on other residents are factors that colleges consider when formulating their pet policies.

What to Do If Your College Doesn’t Allow Pet Snakes?

If your college has a policy against pet snakes, you can look into off-campus housing options that allow pet snakes. This way, you can continue caring for your pet while studying.

What Pets Do Colleges Allow on Campus or in Dorms?

The pets that colleges allow on campus or in dorms can vary depending on the specific policies of each institution. However, some common types of pets that are often permitted in college dorms include:

  • Fish: Fish are low-maintenance and do not require much space, making them a popular choice for college students.
  • Small Rodents: Pets like hamsters, guinea pigs, or mice are frequently allowed in dorms due to their compact size and relatively simple care requirements.
  • Birds: Some colleges may permit small birds like parakeets or finches as they can be kept in cages and don’t take up much space.
  • Cats and Dogs: While less common, some colleges may have designated pet-friendly housing options that allow students to keep cats or small dogs with certain restrictions and requirements.

It’s important to note that even if a college allows certain types of pets, there are often rules and regulations in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all residents. 

If you’re interested in having a pet in your dorm, you should check the college’s specific pet policies and follow any guidelines or procedures to keep your pet appropriately and responsibly. 

Do Colleges Allow Service Animals?

Colleges and universities are generally required to allow service animals and may also permit emotional support animals (ESAs) under certain conditions.

Service Animals

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, service animals are allowed in public places, including colleges and universities. 

These animals are specially trained to perform specific tasks that help individuals with disabilities, and they are not considered pets. 

Service animals, such as guide dogs for the blind or hearing dogs for the deaf, are typically allowed to accompany their handlers in all areas of the campus, including classrooms, dorms, and other facilities.

Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)

ESAs, on the other hand, provide emotional support and comfort to individuals with mental health conditions, but they do not undergo specific task training like service animals. 

While ESAs are not granted the same public access rights as service animals under the ADA, they may be allowed in college dorms and certain campus housing under the Fair Housing Act (FHA)

Students with documented emotional or psychological disabilities may request accommodations for an ESA in college housing, and the college may consider the request based on specific criteria and documentation provided.

If you’re seeking to have a service animal or ESA on campus, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the college’s policies and procedures for requesting accommodation. You may need to provide appropriate documentation from a qualified healthcare provider to support their request. 

Pet Policies for Most Colleges

Colleges typically enforce distinct policies for pets that fall outside the scope of service animals or emotional support animals. So, let’s briefly take a look at some of these guidelines:

  • Pet owners are required to formally register their pets through the college’s housing office.
  • Pet owners must secure consent from roommates, or they may opt for solitary accommodation.
  • A fee or “pet deposit” might be necessitated.
  • Dogs and cats must undergo training, vaccination, and sterilization.
  • Ownership of potentially harmful or poisonous species is prohibited.
  • The size of the pet’s habitat will be constrained, depending on the owner’s residence.

What Are Some Pet-Friendly Colleges?

Several colleges in the United States are known for being pet-friendly or having designated pet-friendly housing options. However, please note that pet policies can change over time, and it’s essential to verify the current status with the respective colleges. 

So, here’s a quick list of some of the pet-friendly colleges to consider:

  1. Eckerd College (St. Petersburg, Florida): Known for its Pet-Friendly Housing Community, where students can have cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, and fish.
  2. Stephens College (Columbia, Missouri): Offers pet-friendly residence halls allowing cats, small caged animals, and fish.
  3. Lees-McRae College (Banner Elk, North Carolina): Permits cats, dogs, rabbits, and certain other small pets in designated housing.
  4. University of Northern Colorado (Greeley, Colorado): Offers pet-friendly housing for students with a variety of pets, including cats, dogs, rabbits, and hamsters.
  5. Washington & Jefferson College (Washington, Pennsylvania): Allows small pets, such as cats, dogs, and rabbits, in designated pet-friendly housing.
  6. Stetson University (DeLand, Florida): Provides pet-friendly housing options for cats and small dogs.
  7. University of Idaho (Moscow, Idaho): Offers pet-friendly housing options for students with cats, dogs, and other small animals.
  8. Eckerd College (St. Petersburg, Florida): Known for its Pet-Friendly Housing Community, where students can have cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, and fish.

You can find a table with more college options here, as well as information about each college’s pet policy. 


In conclusion, the question of whether colleges allow pet snakes on campus or in dorms is a complex and nuanced one.

While some colleges may have pet-friendly policies that accommodate certain types of pets, including snakes, it is essential for students to thoroughly research and understand their specific institution’s regulations. 

As the landscape of college pet policies continues to evolve, responsible pet ownership and adherence to rules remain paramount.

Ultimately, by navigating the intricate maze of pet regulations, students can strike a balance between their love for animals and their commitment to a successful college experience

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