Does My Snake Love Me? The Answer Is Still Very Much Black and White [Updated]

Snakes and the Concept of Love

When you dedicate a large amount of your time to raising, loving, and caring for an animal you would expect that animal to care for you too, and have affection or even love for you. 

Snakes do not love because snakes are unable to experience this emotion.

It might be hard to hear or even a little bit difficult to understand but snakes do not share the same emotions as humans, not because they don’t want to, but simply because they are incapable of doing so. However, neuroscience has proven that some animals have the physiological attributes required to experience “love”. This is defined as a strong bond and affection towards an individual. Whether or not an animal can experience certain emotions depends on its brain structure and overall intelligence. 

snake in love

Some owners can’t comprehend that certain animals are limited by their brain capabilities and expect them to have the same emotions as we do. Some blogs will even post totally false information claiming that certain behaviors in animals are signs of love and affection such as who copied this article. What they write might be comforting to read but is also totally misleading. 

There are a lot of people who argue against the claim that certain animals can’t love or show affection and it’s understandable why they would do so. It’s normal for you to want your pet to care about you and the reality that it might not is hurtful. Ultimately it’s up to you if you want to believe the evidence or not. 

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Can Snakes Love or Show Affection?

So what you came here to find out “Does my snake love me?” We all know snakes are cold-blooded but are they cold-hearted? The sad reality is that snakes cannot love their owners and they are incapable of showing affection. Snakes are actually incapable of most basic emotions. Love and affection are complex emotions, so we can certainly rule them out I’m afraid. 

You can believe this or not many people that are passionate snake keepers especially certain YouTubers will insist that snakes can love but the truth is it’s physically impossible. It’s natural when people have so much love for something they will try to see things there that don’t exist. Snakes have poor vision and sense of smell and are unable to associate smells with people, let alone see them clearly. This brings us to our next topic.

cute snake looking happy

It’s widely acknowledged snakes are incapable of even recognizing their owners. You can find some examples of people showing their snakes recognize them, but this has more to do with routine and familiarity with being fed than anything else. Snakes will even bite their owner’s hands if you feed them incorrectly. This is because at times they are unable to differentiate between your hand and the food. Snakes can detect heat and when given the option will go for the hotter object. 

So to summarize, no your snake doesn’t love you nor will it show you affection in the way that maybe you desire. Snakes are reptiles and are very much limited by their reptilian brains. The best we can hope for is a kind of mutual respect with our snakes. We have to respect that our pet snakes are only capable of so much and we should not hold that against them. If you were looking for affection and love from a pet I would imagine you wouldn’t have chosen a snake anyway but there you go.

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Can Some Snakes Be Friendly?

When it comes to bonding and snakes being friendly we don’t really have a great deal to work with. For most owners, the fact their snake doesn’t consider them a treat and won’t attack them is kind of a bond and I agree in a way. As we all know different species of snake come with different temperaments. For example, let’s compare a corn snake with a black mamba. Snakes are instinctive animals and they base their actions very much on core survival traits. If their basic necessities are met then we become less of a threat/target.

broken heart my snake doesnt love me

If a snake is hungry it’s more likely to be aggressive or hunt. When a snake feels threatened it’s more likely to attack. Snakes are never going to be friendly, but they won’t consider you a threat given none of their survival instincts are triggered. Of course, we’ve all seen snakes slithering all over their owner’s shoulders and being tame in their hands. Does this make them friendly? I guess you can decide if being tame and not attacking is an act of friendship.

Final Word – The Reality Check

Snakes ultimately are simple creatures with limited thought processes. To expect them to have complex emotions given their brain capacity is unfair and unrealistic. I understand that maybe this article is quite blunt. I’m sure many people will disagree but everything is based on facts and evidence.

The relationship between a snake and its owner should be one based on respect, not love and affection. It doesn’t mean you can’t show your snake love and affection yourself, just don’t expect the same to be returned. You’ll frequently hear people say “our snake is affectionate it does this special thing”.  Wishful thinking I’m afraid.

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Snakes don’t have social structures the same way mammals do and it limits their capabilities. The emotions they are capable of are usually just “fear” and “contentment”. Snakes tolerate their handlers, some people confuse this for love or a deep bond. 

Snakes are territorial and another snake in their territory is usually either a prey, a predator, or a mate. The majority of snakes do not even care for or raise their babies (I’m aware there is a couple of exceptions). How can you expect them to care for you when they don’t even care for their own babies? 

Please ignore these misleading videos and articles that suggest that if your snake does X Y Z, it shows affection because it’s simply not true!