Do Pet Snakes Like To Be Petted?

Snakes tend to bond with their owners in two ways – people who believe they can bond and those who do not. It’s a matter of perspective. Snakes can show emotion to a certain extent, and they do recognize their owners, but it depends on the individual snake.

Every pet owner loves to pet their pet animal and pets like it too. But the question is do pet snakes like to be petted.

Things To Consider Before Petting A Snake

Depending on the circumstances, some snakes seem to enjoy being handled and petted, while others do not seem to like it as much, but they can tolerate it. Your snake’s individuality will also play a role, as will many other factors.

A few of them are as follows:

1. Species of snakes

Handling is more tolerant of some species than others. In terms of a beginner snake, corn snakes, for example, are often suggested since they are less difficult to handle.

2. Age of the snake

When snakes get older, they become more relaxed and can tolerate handling better. A younger snake may have a hard time handling it.

3. Handling volume

To become used to being handled, all animals must be handled. You should handle your snake once a week or twice a week at first, so he gets used to being handled. Then, you can slowly increase the dose when he seems comfortable after about a month.

4. The person who is handling

Being handled by a stranger can make some snakes very uncomfortable. Most likely, this isn’t because they know their owner, but because they’re used to a specific way of handling them. Snakes are unlikely to be handled in the same way by strangers as they are by their owners.

You can probably expect hungry snakes to not be pleased with being handled. Make sure your snake has eaten before you handle him, especially if you’ve had him for a short time.

5. Where are they being touched

It is not always a good idea to touch snakes on the top of their heads. As an example, most Ball Pythons become fearful and aggressive when rubbed on the head or neck. In other words, a snake’s tolerance to being petted may also depend on where he is being touched.

Do Pet Snakes Like To Be Petted?

The question of whether snakes like being petted is among the most common among potential snake owners.

Unfortunately, no.

That answer isn’t all, there’s much more to it than that. Snakes have no social needs, which can be advantageous to owners who don’t have much free time to devote to a pet such as a cat or a dog.

Why Don’t Snakes Like Being Petted?

No, it’s not personal. Snakes possess a very primitive brain, as do most reptiles, which is fully dedicated to survival in the wild. Its brain is a self-preserving mechanism, which ensures its survival as well as its species.

In order to survive, a snake must eat, reproduce, and fight or flee. As snakes do not have emotions, they cannot feel pain. They may feel preyed upon when a human touches them. In the wild, predators do not prey on prey. Pet owners will want to help their snakes become accustomed to human handling and touch.

Although a snake does not particularly enjoy being petted, that does not mean that its owner cannot handle it. Even snakes can learn that their handlers are safe. Taking them out of their enclosure can experience curiosity in them, and they respond very well when handled.

Do Pet Snakes Recognize Their Owners?

They may be able to identify and remember their owners by scent, but they are not intelligent enough to recognize your uniqueness. Snakes have a great sense of smell, but they cannot recognize your individuality.

Even if you have had your snake for a long time and are familiar with it, you should always wash your hands before handling it. Humans are warm-blooded and emit heat, so snakes use their heat-sensing ability to track down prey. Humans are usually mistaken for food by snakes. You will not smell like any potential prey when you wash your hands. A snake hook should also be used when handling snakes.

What Are The Signs Of Affection In Pet Snakes?

Snakes can’t feel complex emotions like love or affection since they lack the intellectual capacity for it. They do not feel affection for their handlers, so they cannot feel affection. As long as you are providing quality care, they can deem you a non-threat. In order to make your snake feel secure, you must

condition it to tolerate human contact.

Captive snakes come in a wide range of species and have different characteristics. Some species are more docile, slower-paced, and easier to handle than others, some are more curious and more active, and some are by nature more aggressive.

Snakes That Are Easier To Handle

Those who are new to snake ownership should choose a species that is more calm and easy to handle. It has already been mentioned that certain species can be more difficult and even more aggressive to handle compared to others. Snake handlers with more experience can manage these traits, but beginners should avoid these species.

In the wild, snakes can easily become prey to predators, so it’s best to keep in mind that baby snakes can be much feistier. In either case, as soon as they’ve hatched or been born, they need to be defended. Over time, they usually become less aggressive.

To ensure a snake’s safety, always purchase it from a reputable breeder. There is a higher risk of snakes with parasites when they are wild-caught, exhibiting more stress and aggression toward humans.

These the best species in terms of handleability are:

1. Corn Snake

There are lots of things you can do with corn snakes, including keeping them docile, not getting too big, and caring for them.

Beginner snake owners should consider them. A variety of beautiful colors have been acquired through the selective breeding of corn snakes in captivity in the eastern United States.

2. Milk Snake

Because they are not too large, have bright colors, and are easy to handle, milk snakes make great pets for beginners. Although they are shy at first, they become more docile as they mature. This species originated in North America.

3. Ball Python

Ball Pythons are docile and require little maintenance, making them the perfect snake for beginners. The snakes come from Africa and are medium-sized. The length of their bodies is generally under five feet despite having thicker bodies. Several colors and pattern morphs have been developed through captive breeding.

4. Children’s Python

The Children’s Python is a species native to Australia that is very easy to care for. They are a very resilient species of snake as long as they are provided with their basic requirements. These dogs are generally docile and don’t bite very often, which is why they are excellent for first-time owners.

5. Rosy Boa

A native of Mexico and the Southwest United States, the Rosy Boa makes a great pet. There are a few drawbacks to the species, such as its manageable size, feeding ability, and docility.

6. King Snake

Since they are not aggressive and are very easy to care for, King Snakes make very good pet snakes for beginners.  This species comes in many different colors and patterns. Despite being curious and easy to handle, they are excellent feeders.

7. Hognose

It is rare for hognose snakes to become aggressive. When they are comfortable with their environment and have a routine feeding routine, they are easy to care for. This adorable snake is native to North America. It has a distinctive upturned snout and comes in many different colors and variations.

8. Garter Snake

An excellent snake for beginners is the Garter Snake. These snakes belong to the North American subspecies and are found throughout the continent. Their size is small and they seldom bite. Its only downside is that it can be overpowering for some first-timers since Garter Snakes are very active when handled.

9. Boa Constrictor

It is possible to keep a boa constrictor as a low-maintenance pet that can be easily handled. Because of their active nature, they tolerate being handled well. If the person is capable of handling their size, they can be a good snake for a beginner. The largest snake on the list is the Boa Constrictors. The length of these fish can reach 5 feet and their weight can reach up to 35 pounds. The males of this species will be shorter and lighter than the females.

How About Other Reptiles? Do They Enjoy Being Petted?

Mammals have a more sophisticated brain than reptiles. Yet, do reptiles find human companionship and touch appealing? Absolutely! There are some options available if you want a more social reptile.

There are some species that are more personable and interactive with humans than others in the pet trade. The maintenance requirements for these reptiles will not be as low as snakes, but they can be rewarding pets.

You must keep in mind that reptiles still behave differently from dogs.

Here are a few more personable reptiles:

  • Tortoises
  • Monitor Lizards
  • Blue Tongued Skinks
  • Bearded Dragons


As a result of their primitive nature, snakes require little maintenance when it comes to socializing. This is because they tend not to be social. Your pet snake’s mental health is not affected by not letting them out of its enclosure for some one-on-one time.

It can be detrimental to the overall well-being of a pet cat, dog, or bird if you fail to interact with them. A snake may be the perfect pet for you if you lack the time to give it proper attention.

They cannot form emotional bonds with people and dislike being petted, but they can still be handled and are a good low-maintenance pet.

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