Do Snakes Get Lonely, Bored, or Stressed? A Guide to What Snakes Feel

Do you ever go about your day and you’re just doing your job or running some errands when suddenly you think about your snake back at home and whether they feel lonely, bored, or stressed at the moment?

If this has happened to you, you are not alone. I have also been there, and it almost broke my heart to think I’m leaving my snake alone at home to suffer. So I did some research, asked a few experts, and found some good news.

So, do snakes get lonely bored, or stressed? Snakes do not get lonely or bored, and while they do get stressed, they do not get stressed from being left alone. Snakes are solitary creatures and they like being alone, and too much handling can stress them out. Snakes can also get stressed if their living environment is unsuitable.

So, the good news is that it’s completely fine to leave your snake alone at home for hours or even days at a time. The not-so-good news is that your snake can still get stressed if you are not careful and do not know the effects of what you are doing on them.

So stick around as we discuss what do snakes feel and how to make sure your snake is not stressed.

What Do Snakes Feel?

orange pet snake with owner to answer do snakes get lonely bored or stressed

Snakes have basic emotions. They do not have the same complex sentiments and emotions that humans have. Many snake owners state that their snake shows them affection, although this is only an opinion and no more than speculation.

Snakes may be pleased with their living conditions but they will not show it in the way you will easily interpret, and research has not proven anything except that snakes only care about their survival so they mostly just follow their basic instincts.

What emotions do snakes have?

Some snake owners believe, and will swear, that their snakes do show them snakes and that they can tell that their snakes have emotions. As a snake owner myself, I can witness that this is true, but I can also tell you that it’s not like the emotions other pets, especially expressive animals like dogs and cats, will show you.

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. You can learn more about whether snakes get sad here.

Do Snakes Get Lonely?

Snakes do not get lonely.

Snakes are solitary creatures, and most scientists and experts firmly believe that the only time you will see two snakes together is during mating, although we have been able to witness a few exceptions for this, mainly in the form of snake groups hunting together.

Snakes have no social hierarchy or structure. They do not have any need to live in groups to survive and they have not developed any sort of social bonding. Even motherhood is kind of cold in snakes as most mother snakes will abandon their babies shortly before or after the eggs hatch, and others will even leave once the eggs are laid or hidden.

Do Snakes Get Bored?

Snakes do not get bored even in captivity. Snakes do not have the mental capacity to feel bored.

In the wild, snakes are constantly moving and working to catch their next meal, but in captivity they can’t do this but they still won’t get bored.

Do Snakes get stressed?

Snakes are very easy-going animals but they can still get stressed.

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.

Since we have mentioned trying to escape, it’s important to notice that stress is not the only reason snakes will try to leave your home, and you can learn about the 13 reasons pet snakes try to escape here.

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.

Conclusion:

Snakes are easy-going pets, actually, but they can still get stressed. Stress in snakes is often caused by their environment not meeting its needs. Snakes may become lethargic or hyperactive and refuse food when it’s under stress.

There are a few things you can do to help your snake relax if it’s feeling overwhelmed, including making some simple changes to its environment and handling it less. If the stress can’t be fixed by those methods, you should consider scheduling an appointment with a vet or re-homing your snake, however difficult the decision may be.

Helpful Resources

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

Snakes have friends too

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