Do Snakes Remember Faces? What Your Snake Remembers About You

Do snakes remember faces? Do they recognize people and things they associate with or were around in the past? Do you think your snake remembers YOU?

These questions, as I’ve found out, are a bit more complicated than one would expect, and to be subjective, I asked both experts and owners for what they believe, and here is what I’ve found;

So, can snakes remember faces? Snakes can not remember faces and can not distinguish a specific human based on their look alone, but snakes can remember scents and associate their owner’s scents with good things like eating food and being safe, so snakes can remember you but can’t visually identify you from other humans.

This should be clear to understand; snakes simply do not have the mental capacity to recognize their owners or remember faces. The good news is that also means your snake can still remember you, just in a different way.

To learn what can snakes remember and what they can’t, keep reading…

Why Snakes can’t remember faces

snake touching owner nose to show how do snakes remember faces

Simply put: Snakes didn’t develop the mental capacity to remember faces because what they have is already enough; a very strong sense of smell.

Snakes have also not been around humans long enough to develop the ability to recognize our faces and remember them the way that other animals such as dogs and cats, did.

In the snake world, specifically in a boa constrictor’s or ball python’s world, it is all about smelling and tasting. Snakes have extremely good senses of smell and taste so they can recognize their owners’ scents before seeing them.

Snakes might not be able to remember your face but snakes do know what you smell like, so don’t worry – your snake will recognize you the next time it sees you.

Do snakes remember what their owners look like? Do they associate good things with humans based on how we smell and taste to them?

The answer is yes! Your snake can definitely distinguish between different people that have been around before by their scent. Do snakes remember what their owners look like? The answer is no.

Snakes do not have the capacity to distinguish between different people based on looks alone, so you should be safe in knowing that your snake doesn’t know one person from another by their appearance. Snakes don’t see humans as individuals with faces or bodies – they just see us as a big blob.

Do snakes remember what their owners look like?

Snakes do not really know what their owners look like, neither do they need to. While your snake can not pick you out of a picture, it can pick you out from a crow by your scent.

snake can definitely distinguish between different people that have been around before by their scent.

Do Snakes have a good memory?

Snakes do not have a very good memory.

While snakes can’t remember faces, they do have an amazing sense of smell that helps them associate good things with certain smells.

In captivity, this is quite beneficial for pet snakes because they can learn to recognize their owner’s scent and will be more likely to eat food when it is given to them by that person.

How to bond with your snake?

The same principles that apply to bonding with other types of pets should apply to bonding with your pet snake; Consistency, dedication, and companionship are all important factors in establishing a strong relationship with your snake.

Be patient

Enter each session with an attitude of humility and patience. Set the tone for each encounter by allowing your snake to lead. It’s important to maintain a good rapport with your snake, rather than setting rigid expectations from the start.

Dr. Hoppes, a clinical assistant professor at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explains how a snake indicates negative reaction. “A hiss from a snake that is angry might warn you… This can happen when you focus too much attention on the snake and if you continue to pay attention to them when they don’t want you to, they may strike you.”

“Snakes hiss or coil when they are angry, but most pet snakes aren’t aggressive unless provoked.” (“Reptile Emotions” 2011) Hoppe adds that a brief, good experience, even if it is only for a few minutes, is preferable to an extended period of time that leaves both you and the snake feeling irritated.

You can also learn how snakes show affection here to be able to recognize when your snake is being content and when it isn’t.

Be aware of your body language and movements

When interacting with your snake, be conscious of the way you are positioned in relation to them. Do not reach over or across their body as this can be interpreted as a threatening gesture. Instead, move around to their side or approach them from the front so they can see you coming.

Do not surprise them by sneaking up behind them, which can result in a defensive strike.

Be aware of your body language and movements to avoid any misinterpretations that might lead to an aggressive reaction from the snake.

Snakes are very smart animals so it is important that they feel comfortable with their owners before trying anything too

Be Consistent

Consistency and repetition are crucial in forming a strong bond with your snake. When your snake learns to anticipate you to pick him or her up at the same time, using the same technique, he or she will be able to make the connection between you and your scent and motions.

This is something that many snake owners struggle with. One approach to avoid this problem is to make a schedule for when you feed your snake and add reminders on your calendar.

If you feed them at the same time each day, they’ll be less likely to mistake one for the other. Another way to prevent confusion between feeding and handling sessions is by being consistent in your approach and handling techniques.

Be Dedicated

Just as consistency is important in building a bond with your snake, so too is dedication on the part of the owner. Be prepared to spend time each day interacting with your snake, whether it’s through handling, feeding or just letting them roam around their enclosure.

This not only helps form a connection with your snake, but it also ensures that they have a more enriched environment which will allow them to live happier and healthier.

As for how often you should handle them, the general consensus is at least once a day, so long as each session isn’t too lengthy.

You can learn how to handle your pet snake here.


To summarize, your pet snake can’t remember your face, but it can remember you if you give it a good life and do some effort to bond with it.

Dedication and consistency are key factors in establishing a relationship with your snake, so you should go into it knowing that it may take you some time, but it will be worth it in the end.

Helpful Resources

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

Given the Cold Shoulder: A Review of the Scientific Literature for Evidence of Reptile Sentience


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