How Do Snakes Feel About Their Owners (Really) According to Experts and Owners

Snakes are hard to read. They don’t have facial expressions, so how can you tell how they feel?

To understand how snakes really feel about their owners and about you, I went ahead and asked a few experts and all of my snake-owning friends, and I’ve gathered the answers for you.

Let’s answer the basic one first; how do snakes feel about their owners? Snakes can recognize their owners by scent and hearing and can remember their owners and associate them with positive things, but snakes can’t love or be affectionate towards humans. Snakes can’t bond with their owners, get attached to them, or be loyal to them.

So, here you go, that’s the basics of how your snake feels about you, but to understand how snakes truly feel about you and what you can do to build a connection with your snake, keep reading.

Can Snakes feel emotions?

pet snake in owner hands to show how do snakes feel about their owners

Snakes are very basic creatures with very basic emotions. They don’t have the sophisticated feelings and sentiments that humans possess.

Many snake owners often make the claim that their snakes actually are affectionate towards them, but this is merely a subjective opinion and nothing more.

Snakes can express enjoyment for their surroundings; however, they do so primarily based on instinct and self-preservation.

Unfortunately, snakes never developed the brain regions important for complex emotions and actions such as love and affection. This implies that while your pet snake may be incapable of loving you in the way a dog or a cat can, they may feel pleasure when you give them the things they require to live – food, water, hiding places, and a safe place to relax, as well as a warm spot where they can digest their foods.

Emotions such as fear of predators, pleasure while eating, comfort, or reproduction, and anger to defend themselves are all possible for snakes to feel.

They can also figure out that when you handle them, they are safe, and they may even appreciate the warmth that your body generates!

Snakes can be content but not really happy when they are in an environment they are familiar with. Snakes are said to be pleased when their owner is present and nervous when they are not, or around strangers.

When a snake is uncomfortable, he may hiss as a warning. Most pet snakes are non-violent unless they feel threatened; when a snake is getting irritated and turning aggressive, they will hiss or coil.

Different snakes have different personalities and temperaments, too. Some snakes are friendlier than others, some are nervous, others cautious, and still others incredibly docile as pets. When you handle your snake, it is likely to bite you if it is sensitive.

Snakes show signs that you can read to know what they are thinking or how they’re feeling, but it won’t be easy to know; you must learn to read these signs and assess their personality, which will help you determine what is going on with the snake.

There’s no arguing, though, that there’s no way to know what goes on in a snake’s head – or any other creature’s. It may be easier to see some of your snake’s actions and feelings as love-inspired.

Do Snakes recognize their owners?

Snakes actually do learn to recognize their owners as long as the same individual(s) are the ones feeding them consistently. This is called classic conditioning.

So, how does this work?

If you’re the one feeding your snake, they will come to see you as the source of their food. They’ll also start to associate you with other positive things, such as being safe and providing a comfortable place to live.

However, if someone else tries to feed them, they’ll likely ignore them and think of that person as a threat.

Snakes have a positive association with their owner, such as receiving food. They link your scent with something pleasant expected.

You must keep in mind that only with people is the link between smell and memory strong; this is of no consequence to snakes. The sense of smell of a snake invokes his desire to hunt. Snakes rely on scent to tell them what they can and cannot eat.

Snakes, in general, are rather shallow creatures. Their lives are all about security and food. They act on instinct, striking automatically if something in front of them smells like food. They know their human won’t harm them because he or she is there to give them anything they desire.

Snakes only attack people when they mistake them for prey, and it is not uncommon for snakes to accidentally maul their owners owing to their similar scents. These lacerations are generally minor.

Can Snakes show affection?

Reptiles (including snakes, of course) are usually uninterested in people. With classic conditioning, they will start to recognize and tolerate their owners if they are the ones feeding them, but showing affection is not advantageous to snakes.

Snake owners always make the claims that their snakes are different, but the science on this is pretty clear. Snakes do not have a well-enough developed brain to have complex emotions neither do they have the fascial muscles to show emotions and neither do their biology allow for complex body language.

How Do Pet Snakes Show Their Affection?

Pet Snakes can show their affection in a few ways, but they are not exactly easy to guess. Neither are they going to wag their tails like dogs nor purr like cats.

Instead, a snake may show its affection with head bobbing, which is when the snake rubs the head against you. They may also try to wrap themselves around your hand slowly or vibrate. These are all subtle ways to show affection.

If you see any of these signs, you should accept your pet snake’s invitation to be loving and give them a slow hand massage if you notice them doing this. Hissing is another popular way for snakes to show affection, but this is more species-dependent.

How to know your snake is happy?

The most important sign of happiness in a pet snake isn’t how it acts towards its person; instead, it’s how often and well they eat. If your snake bobs its head up and down when you greet it and seems to enjoy your company, this is a good sign. It’s also an indication that you’re taking very good care of it.

Snakes can’t show affection through body language or how they act around their owners like other pets such as cats and dogs do; snakes rely on the owner recognizing how often they eat for clues about how they feel.

It is very difficult to interpret how a snake feels about its owner or how affectionate it really is towards them, but the best way you can show your pet that you love and appreciate it is by feeding and caring for it as much as possible.

Can snakes love their owners?

Snakes, and all reptiles for this matter, are unable of loving anyone or anything. Snakes do not love their owners, but they can build tolerance and acceptance for their owners.

Your pet snake may enjoy your presence and body warmth, but if you disappear tomorrow, they will not miss you.

Do Snakes bond with their owners?

Snakes can’t form bonds with their owners in the same way that other pets, like dogs and cats, do. Snakes can become comfortable with your presence and may even be fond of it, but snakes can not love humans or form any deep bonds with them.

Can Snakes trust you?

Snakes don’t typically trust humans and are wary of them, but if they stay long enough in an environment that is safe and comfortable for them to live in then they may become more relaxed and start trusting the human(s) feeding and caring for them.

However, owners should always be aware that snakes may bite if they feel threatened, so it’s important to always handle them with care

Can Snakes show happiness?

Snakes cannot show happiness in the same way that other pets can, but they may display some behaviors that could be interpreted as happy. Snakes typically bob their heads up and down when they see their owner which is a sign of affection, and if they seem to enjoy your company then it’s likely that they’re quite content.

How to bond with your pet snake?

To make the bond stronger with your pet snake, you really should try to understand it first. Each pet snake can be different and snakes of the same species can have different personalities, so you will have to go through a period where you are just trying to figure out their likes and dislikes.

Snakes are lonely creatures, they prefer to avoid all other living creatures. They also like things dark and quiet. But with time, your snake will grow to like you and be welcoming of your affection towards it.

This will not happen in a day, though, so you need to be cautious to show your snake that you are safe and allow it the time it needs to develop trust towards you.


Snakes are reclusive animals that can’t show how they feel just like other pets. The main way to tell how your snake feels is how often it eats- if you’re taking good care of them then it’s likely they’ll be happy! If you want to get along with your pet, make sure to understand their personality and act accordingly.

Understanding how snakes behave when interacting with people will help facilitate trust between the two parties which in turn leads to a stronger bond.

Owning a snake can be a unique experience that is rewarding in its own way, so while your snake is not going to be loyal to you or as attached to you in the way that a dog or a cat will, you can still get plenty of enjoyment out of the experience.

Speaking of other pets, if you want to know if you can get a pet snake and a pet dog, check out this article on whether snakes and dogs can ever get along well.

Related Questions

Do Snakes like music?

There is no evidence that snakes like or dislike music, but some people believe that playing calm classical music in the vicinity of their snake’s tank may help to keep them calm. There are also tapes marketed specifically for this purpose.

Do Snakes have a memory?

Snakes do have a memory, but it is not as complex as that of other animals.

They are able to remember where they’ve been, who has been near them, and what objects they’ve encountered, but they are not able to recall events that occurred in the past or plan for future occurrences.

Snakes are also unable to remember good or bad experiences in the way we do, but they can form positive or negative associations.

Do Snakes have a personality?

Yes, snakes do have personalities. Just like with other animals, some snakes are more trusting and social than others, while others may be shy or reclusive. Some snakes also enjoy being handled more than others. It’s important to get to know your snake’s personality so that you can provide the best care for it!

Helpful Resources

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

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