Wondering if snakes cuddle? Here’s all you need to know!
Pets cannot show real physical and emotional affection as we humans understand. So don’t expect your pet snake to express itself emotionally as your cat or dog would.
However, this is not to say that your snake does not love you. On the contrary, it loves and enjoys your company, although its way of showing this may differ from how other pets do it.
Because of their evolutionary disposition, snakes have never learned to show love and emotion by cuddling. Unlike some cuddly pets, a snake will not offer you affection and expect the same in return. However, some snakes tend to be friendlier than others, and will welcome your touch and handling.
You need to understand your snake’s personality to know you can physically show affection for it.
While holding and petting some snakes is okay, others detest any form of physical contact.
Do Snakes Cuddle?
If your snake snuggles next to you, it’s not seeking to cuddle with you. Snakes don’t cuddle in the real sense of the word.
This is because these reptiles are incapable of expressing affection physically. However, your pet snake may seek contact with your body for the warmth it provides.
Being ectothermic, this reptile derives heat from external sources, such as your body heat.
There’s no scientific proof that a snake can cuddle its owner. But, evidence shows that some snakes like interacting with their owners.
This means that although your snake will not cuddle with you, it enjoys your company uniquely.
How your snake behaves towards you depends on its breed, and how acclimated to your environment it is.
Some breeds take to the human touch much more readily. Others become agitated when they are touched, especially if this happens regularly.
Get to know your snake inside out to understand how best to interact with it.
Do Snakes Show Affection?
Yes, snakes do show affection in their own way.
For example, some snakes are fond of head-bobbing. So if your snake keeps rubbing its head against your hand or leg, it’s trying to establish contact.
Some snakes follow their owners around as a show of affection. This is referred to as sneaking. You’ll notice your snake following behind you, and may wrap itself around your leg, arm, neck, or shoulders.
Some experts believe snakes do this because they have already identified their owners as dependable heat sources.
Necking is another way a leopard gecko shows affection. The snake loops its body around anything with vibration.
If your snake hisses at you, it could signify affection. However, this interpretation varies depending on the snake breed.
Some breeds hiss only when they are irritated or agitated.
You can create stronger bonds with your pet snake by responding to its overtures.
Do Snakes Like to Be Touched?
This depends on the snake breed. While some snakes like being touched, others are averse to petting.
Also, a new snake may be resistant to its owner’s touch. You need to give your new snake time to acclimate to your home environment and the enclosure.
Before you start handling your snake by hand, let it get used to your scent first. Then, gradually, let it get used to your hand for short periods at a time.
Avoid touching your snake if it is of the aggressive variety. These snakes are wired to bite at anything warm-blooded.
Also, snakes should not be handled immediately after feeding. This is their time to rest to allow digestion to commence.
Snakes should always be handled with care. You’ll avoid mishandling your snake and causing accidents by being cautious and aware.
Why Doesn’t My Snake Cuddle?
Snakes don’t cuddle because they are not wired that way. Here are a few reasons your snake may not be cuddly:
Conditioning Through Evolution
Snakes have been around for millennia. However, during all this time, they don’t engage in cuddling as a sign of social bonding.
Actually, snakes rarely come together in a show of affection. Except for a few breeds, such as the garter snake, these reptiles don’t look out for each other.
The only time you’re likely to find snakes in a sort of embrace is during mating. After this, every snake goes their own way.
To Evade Predators
Snakes are always on the lookout for their enemies, who happen to be their predators. Since most snakes are not at the top of the food chain, they are always running from some other animal.
This is another reason they are so averse to touch.
Even snakes at the top of the food chain have enemies at that level. This could be species of other snakes at the same level or other animals.
Most snakes in the wild have three instinctive reactions when you approach them: fight or flight. They can turn offensive and aggressively attack you.
They can also try to find the nearest exit and disappear. Other snakes just freeze and play dead, hoping the danger will pass.
Remember, your snake has been genetically wired this way for years. As such, be patient with this reptile as you give it time to learn new ways.
Snakes are pretty susceptible when going through certain processes. For example, they seek cover during brumation, shedding, and digesting food.
A snake can take up to one week to completely digest a meal. This reptile’s movements are compromised during this time, and it is more sluggish.
Your snake will not want to be handled during these times. Instead, it may hide in the spaces you have allocated for this purpose.
For example, if you approach your snake when it’s brumating, it may perceive you as an environmental hazard.
Why Do Snakes Seek Out Physical Contact?
Although snakes don’t cuddle, they may want you to gently hold them. Your snake comes to you for a number of reasons.
Remember, your snake will not do this as part of a logical thought process, but instinctively. Here are reasons your snake may seek your physical touch:
You’re a Source of Heat
Like all cold-blooded animals, snakes depend on an outside heat source to carry out their activities. So it doesn’t take long for your pet snake to discover you are an excellent source of heat.
When your snake seeks you out, it wants to get heat from you. This will become a habit, and you must constantly get used to your pet around your shoulders, neck, or arms.
Some snakes are arboreal – they enjoy climbing as they hunt, feed, or sleep. If your snake is of this type, it may mistake you for a nice physical feature that offers good potential for climbing.
It will be common to see this snake hanging on your neck, arms, and shoulders. Actually, this may feel better than dealing with a snake on the ground all the time.
Does your snake seek your hand more and more? This is likely because it associates your hand with food.
Snakes that seek their owner’s hands are used to being hand-fed.
Your snake will seek your touch because it no longer fears you. However, during the initial days of your encounter, your snake will behave in the classic responses of fight, flight, and freeze.
However, the more this reptile gets used to you (through aversion therapy), the less it fears you. It no longer perceives you as a threat.
The Best Snake Species for Cuddling
As noted in this article, snakes don’t cuddle per se. But, again, this is because they cannot express physical emotions as we’re normally used to.
However, some snakes respond to handling better than others. If you want a snake that won’t become irritated when you handle it, consider purchasing the following:
- Garter Snake
- Rosy Boa
- Ball Python
- Ringneck Snake
- Corn Snake
Although other snakes don’t like being handled, they still make great pets. Also, this is not to say that these snakes don’t like to be handled at all.
It’s only that they need to be handled in a certain way. In other words, they are best handled by an expert snake handler.
These snakes include:
- Boa Constrictors
- Reticulated Pythons
- Water Snakes
- Burmese Pythons
- Snakes caught in the wild
Handle all snakes safely. If the snake kills its prey by constriction, don’t allow it to climb you. If it is venomous, avoid touching it.
Does My Snake Know Its Name?
Your snake can’t hear its snake when you call it because it doesn’t have the auditory senses to hear. However, snakes do respond to vibrations.
Snake charmers use this to teach their snakes to respond to certain vibrational sounds. You can do the same by teaching your snake to associate its name with something good.
For example, tap its tank with a stick as you feed it, while saying the name ‘snake.’ With time, this reptile will come to associate the tapping and food with its name.
You can also teach your snake to come out of the cage when you tap the tank and call its name.
Snakes don’t cuddle because they have not evolved to do so. Being solitary creatures, snakes can’t show affection through physical contact.
However, your snake may seek your touch when it gets used to you. It will be drawn to your warmth and the food you give it.
The fact that some snakes seek physical touch good enough for some keepers. If you are this kind of a keeper, then this could be the affection you desire from your pet snake.