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Can Pet Snakes Be Friendly And Affectionate?

A photo of a corn snake coiled up and hiding.

The title of this article represents a couple of questions that I have seen asked so many times. Potential owners or even new owners of pet snakes often wonder:

“Can a pet snake be friendly?”

Or even:

“Can pet snakes show their owners affection?”

Well this article is going to answer those questions and a few other ones as well. Buckle up because this is going to have some pretty cool information inside!

Can a pet snake be friendly to its owner?

Right off the bat we are going to answer this question that so many people ask.

So can a pet snake be friendly? Well the simple answer to this is no. A pet snake will never be friendly with you. They do not possess the needed emotions for being friendly. Instead you can think of it as your snake being hostile or not hostile towards you.

So there you have it, your pet snake will never be friendly with you. It can however learn to be hostile or hopefully, not hostile.

Snakes are wild animals, even those that have been brought up by humans from birth. They do not posses complex emotions such as happiness, sadness or empathy or anything like that. Because of this they cannot be friendly.

When I said earlier that you can think of it as hostile or not hostile what I meant was that is the emotional range that the snake has in most situations.

After time your pet snake may come to realise and remember that you are the one who keeps bringing it food and as such see you as not a threat. The chances are that it will not be hostile to you at this point but it certainly will not be your friend.

If you follow the tips in my guide to safe handling it will teach you how to handle a snake. This way you will get get on the receiving end of a bite. The guide can be found here.

Can a snake show you affection?

The second question of can a snake show you affection has pretty much the same answer as the last on.

No, a pet snake cannot show you affection. It does not have the emotional range that makes up this response. However a snake can learn to trust you and with this it may let you handle it from time to time without any issues.

That was the short and sweet answer to the question, now I want to go a little deeper.

As I mentioned earlier and just like in the last question, a snake does not have a brain that is complex enough to use the deeper emotions.

They cannot feel love towards you, they will not care about you and they certainly won’t be affectionate towards you. It may seem harsh but it is completely true, they really do live up to their cold blooded name.

But again they can learn from your scent who you are. They will then associate that smell with the thing that provides them with food when they are hungry. This can in turn lead to the snake allowing you to hold and sometimes handle it, as long as you are gentle with it.

Be aware though, that natural instinct to strike and defend itself will always be there if you do not treat it like it wants to be treat.

Do pet snakes like affection from their owners?

This question is the opposite to a snake giving you affection.

Do snakes like to get affection from you?

Well the simple answer is that the snake would not even recognise what you are doing as affection. They may well recognise you from your smell as they have a highly tuned sense of smell. They will not appreciate affection shown in the form of petting and handling though and this can often lead to you getting bitten.

Unfortunately a snake will not like affection and attention like you pet dog and cat might.

Can pet snakes form a bond with a human owner?

This question is quite tricky to answer. I know that most people who ask it are hoping for a certain answer and that answer is “yes, a snake can form a bond with you were it likes cuddles and handling.”

Unfortunately this is not the case at all. You can form a bond with a pet snake but this bond will more than likely be one that involves everything being one sided.

The pet snake will want you to keep it warm, secure and very well fed. In return for this your benefit is that there is less chance that you will get bitten than a random stranger picking up the snake.

So yes, a bond is possible with your pet snake but it will not be a bond where you can get cuddly with your snake, sorry all.

Do snakes like human contact?

This is a question even I had myself so I did a load of research so that I could give you the best possible answer.

Do snakes like contact with humans? No snakes do not like human contact. This is especially so in the wild and you should not try to make contact with a wild snake. Snakes in captivity are slightly different but will still try to avoid human contact.

It is always going to be a bad idea to try to and handle or make contact with a wild snake in the outdoors. I think most of us know that unless we are highly trained and are doing it for a specific reason.

The video below is one that I found on YouTube, it is designed to show you how to get a pet snake off that is latched on in a bite. But I shows well what can happen when you try to have contact with a snake!

But what about snakes in captivity? Well it is still best to try and handle and have physical contact with your pet snake as little as possible.

Your pet snake may be more forgiving to you for some handling than a wild snake but generally your snake will not enjoy the contact.

It can actually cause your pet to get stressed and panicked which is not a good place to be at. Stress is harmful to your pet and there is a strong chance it will last out at you as well.

Conclusion.

I would say that it fair to sum up this article by saying that when it comes to pet snakes they do not really appreciate affection.

They also do not have a brain that is complex enough to be able to process the emotions such as love. This means that they will not be friendly and they cannot be cuddly either.

However this does not stop us from loving our pet snakes. Just being able to look after them and watch them is more than enough enjoyment.

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