Do Snakes Feel Sad? Every Snake Owner Should Know This!

Snakes are often portrayed as cold-blooded killers. Snakes are actually one of the most misunderstood animals, and people don’t truly appreciate how useful snakes are, and how magnificent they can be.

In recent years, more and more people started getting pet snakes, and this explosion in popularity has led to people asking all kinds of questions that we know their answers for other pets, but not for snakes.

One of these questions is if they can feel sad. I’ve asked experts and owners and found out the question for you, and here it is;

So, do snakes feel sad? Snakes do not feel sad, a snake’s frontal lobe is not as developed as other animals, which means they can’t feel emotions like we or most other animals can, and this makes sense since Snakes are solitary animals and emotions are not advantageous to them. Snakes can only feel primal, basic emotions. 

This means that snakes can only feel things like fear and anger.In this article, we are going to discuss how do snakes feel emotions, what emotions can they feel, and how do snakes show these emotions, so make sure to keep reading as we explore the fascinating world of your snake’s brain…

Do Snakes Feel Emotion?

sad snake to answer do snakes feel sad

Lizards, turtles, and other reptiles enjoy being handled by humans. They desire more human contact. Specific hormonal secretions are released when we touch them.

As a result, we may connect with other reptiles and snakes in the same manner.

A pet lizard may often seek out human touch from the owner. Reptiles are able to feel anger, agony, and terror.

However, scientists aren’t sure if reptiles can feel love or sadness, and whether they have emotions. More study is done in order to obtain the correct answers.

You must realize that the topic of snakes feeling emotions is a subject that belongs to the realm of Star Trek’s “final frontier.” I’m trying to convey that it’s a field where animal behaviorists and science have only recently begun exploring.

So, while I’m not going to argue with the science, I will add that until recently, people felt that cats were just as stone-cold in terms of emotions as they are in other areas. The Animal-Human Interaction Lab at Oregon State University, on the other hand, quickly corrected them.

We humans enjoy assigning human characteristics to other creatures and rarely misunderstand our pets when they act in ways that are unlike our own personalities.

Dogs are typically so likeable because they exhibit traits such as loyalty, enthusiasm, pleasure, etc. We can sense this quality in dogs when we see them obediently waiting for their owner’s return after a long absence.

Different animals, on the other hand, express different emotions in unique ways. When dogs are pleased, for example, they wag their tails; whereas cats purr when they’re content.

This is why this post will concentrate on the science and what snake owners believe about it, rather than addressing whether or not you should buy a snake in the first place.

Let’s start with the science part;

The science of snake emotions

Here is what the science has proven, and that you probably already know

Snakes are clever, and they seem to know those who interact with or feed them on a regular basis. They’re more receptive or at ease with individuals they’ve come to trust.

Is it possible that snakes could experience affection? The jury is still out on this, but the main thing to remember is that there’s no evidence showing that snakes don’t feel love. Snakes are so different from humans that if they do have any affection, it’s very doubtful it’ll look anything like we expect.

While snakes have long been thought to be solitary and unsocial in the wild, some species, notably garter snakes, are actually able to form strong relationships with other snakes! You may learn more about this research in a National Geographic article here.

Some reptiles, such as lizards, are capable of displaying pleasure when stroked. So it’s unquestionably true that certain species of reptiles enjoy human contact or peer contact. Some even run to their owners’ hands to be handled after a while.

Plus, animals have particular personalities, so the debate is still open until there’s undeniable evidence that snakes aren’t capable of experiencing emotions such as happiness or sadness.

What owners say about their snakes’ emotions

Some snake owners believe that their pets are uninterested and care only about their humans in the sense that they give them food. They’re fine with it since, to them, a gorgeous-looking animal is simply fine whether or not there are any human-animal connections.

Snake parents claim that their pets not only recognize them but are also connected to them in some fundamental way or maybe even affectionate with them.

There’s no method of resolving this issue except by watching and interacting with your own pet snake, which is true. You may also compare the behavior of your snake to how other snake owners describe their animals.

Snake owners’ reactions to their pets’ behaviors may be influenced by how they deal with their snakes and how frequently they interact with them. At the very least, we know that the more snakes are gently socialized, the more docile, energetic, and fearless they become.

While you may not be bosom buddies with your serpent, it’s conceivable that your pet is devoted to you (in a good way, not in a get-in-my-belly manner).

Do Snakes feel sad?

This is a frequently asked question among reptile keepers. We all want our tiny companions to be as satisfied and content as possible.

Given how snakes behave in the wild, hunting, eating, sunbathing, and resting are all typical behaviors. Snakes don’t have a particularly active lifestyle, as eating and relaxing out are what they do best.

Snakes don’t get sad or depressed, unless they’ve seen their snake slither into a corner to shed a tear or two.

The most a snake can experience is annoyance or irritation about regular modifications to its routine or anything remarkable happening right outside of its tank.

Remember, as with most animals, snakes need stimulation. Enrichment allows your legless lizard to feel more in command of its surroundings and will help to reduce stress and associated health issues.

Enrichment might include adding vegetation for cover, branches for climbing and exploring, and even taking it out once it’s ready to explore or slither through the grass (on a hot day) for a while.

Do Snakes get stressed?

Snakes are very easy-going animals.

When it comes to stress, snakes behave similarly to humans in stressful situations; they might become hyperactive or lethargic and depressed. They may also refuse food before shedding (the act of climbing out of their skin).

Stress is usually caused by an animal’s environment not meeting its needs. This might be a lack of hiding spots, incorrect temperatures, bright light, or too much noise.

The good news is that you can usually relieve your snake’s stress by making some simple changes to its environment.

If your snake seems healthy but stressed out, try adding more items to its enclosure that will make it feel comfortable and safe.

Why do snakes get stressed?

The most common stress in snakes is due to substandard living circumstances. I’m sure your pet serpent doesn’t like too many modifications to its habitat. How many of us would appreciate it if someone kept redecorating our homes every other week?

Here are some other reasons why your snake may be stressed:

  • The temperature is too hot or too cold in its enclosure
  • It’s too humid or too dry in their enclosure
  • The tank is too small or too big
  • The tank has no places for them to hide or too many things for them to move comfortably
  • They’re ill
  • You are handling them too much
  • There are other pets in the house, especially dogs because snakes fear dogs.

When you’re aware of your snake’s habits, pay attention to it when it’s content and healthy so you’ll know when it isn’t. Some snakes may become less active and lethargic in the winter, depending on their species and location.

You should make sure that it is kept at a constant, warm temperature and that it has both a hot and cold side of the tank to control its own temperature.

How to know your snake is stressed (stress symptoms in snakes)

The most common way to tell if your snake is stressed is by its behavior. If it’s become hyperactive, refusing to eat, or has stopped shedding, it’s likely that your pet is feeling overwhelmed.

Other signs of stress in snakes can include:

  • Hiding more than usual
  • Not wanting to be handled
  • Lashing out, hissing, or biting
  • Lack of Apetite
  • Trying to escape
  • Regurgitation
  • Hissing
  • Coiling
  • Rubbing against that tank

Stress in snakes is more common than you might think. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to fix the problem once you know what’s causing it.

How to help your stressed snake calm down

There are a few things you can do to help your snake relax when it’s feeling stressed.

  • If the stress is caused by its environment, try making some simple changes:
  • Add more plants and branches for cover
  • Make sure the temperature is correct
  • Add a water dish or humidifier if needed
  • Do not over-handle your snake if it’s a species that is typically skittish or shy

If the stress isn’t caused by its environment, you should schedule an appointment with a vet. Your pet may need to be treated for health issues such as mites, parasites, and illness. If you can’t find any other reason for your snake’s stress, you should consider re-homing it.

How to bond with your snake?

Snakes are not the most affectionate pets you will come across. They don’t cuddle up next to you and purr like a cat, but they’re still wonderful animals that deserve your love and care! Here’s what you can do:

  • Make sure it has an interesting environment full of things for them to climb on and explore
  • Handle them regularly but not too much. Do not restrain it or lift it off the ground by its tail (it can break its spine!)
  • Give your snake some treats now and then! Not all snakes like to eat live food, so make sure you know what’s best for yours before trying this- especially if they aren’t used to it.
  • Do not force them to interact with you if they seem frightened or stressed by your touch- You don’t want snake bites! Do all of these things regularly and your pet will likely become more comfortable around you over time, allowing for some lighthearted fun togetherness!


Do snakes feel sad? Do they get depressed? These are common questions among snake owners. Although it’s difficult to know for sure, there are some signs of stress that you can look out for in your pet reptile. We hope this article has helped answer any lingering questions about whether or not our scaly friends experience sadness and what we can do if they’re feeling stressed!

Helpful Resources

Secrets of Snakes: The Science Beyond the Myths by David A. Steen

Snakes have friends too

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