What Does A Pet Snake’s Hissing Mean?

Snakes make a hissing sound just like any animal makes a barking or growling noise for the same reasons. They hiss when they feel threatened, annoyed, or caught off guard. Snakes in the wild make hissing noises more than those in captivity. Because in the wild they feel more threatened by other animals or humans surrounding them.

Snakes make a hissing sound with their glottis, a structure in the throat that makes a sound when the snake exhales forcibly. An interesting fact is that snakes don’t hear other snakes hissing, which is only meant for their predators.

Snakes cannot hear properly but do have the ability to detect vibrations to locate danger or prey. Therefore, you will notice that although there are many snakes present in a natural surrounding you will not see any upfront, this is because they have already detected your footsteps and moved away.

Why Does My Pet Snake Hiss At Me?

There are manifold reasons that your pet snake hisses at you no matter how long you have been looking after it. These reasons would be:

  • Snakes get annoyed when they are handled without notice
  • They will hiss if you handle them while digesting their food
  • If you catch your snake off guard it will hiss at you like picking up when it didn’t know and gets scared
  • Another reason is that when they start to shed they will he at you if you don’t leave them alone
  • When your pet snake feels threatened, they hiss at you or a friend of yours
  • Your pet snake may be feeling sick or upset which also causes it to make a hissing sound

How Do You Pick Up A Hissing Snake?

If you have to pick up a hissing snake you need to be extra careful and move very slowly. Handle with care and softness so it can feel safe in your hands. Unless it is hurt or shedding its skin you can slowly hold it depending on how it reacts.

What To Do If Your Pet Snake Hisses At You?

Hissing is a way for snakes to communicate. When your snake hisses at you it means it is either annoyed, feeling afraid, or upset for many reasons. It is better not to handle the snake and leave it alone for a while.

Here are some things that you can do when your pet snake hisses at you:

  • Leave your snake as it is and find out what has triggered it
  • Make any changes needed to help to make it feel less triggered
  • Make your movement slow and steady
  • Feed your snake in your presence
  • Handle the snake pleasantly to avoid any threat

As long as your snake does not feel threatened by you or your movement it will not hiss at you but you have to give it some space and time too.

Do All Snakes Make Hissing Noise?

Hissing is a common trait for most snake species (venomous or non-venomous), especially big or large snakes. This is a defense mechanism that they use to warn their opponents or humans if they feel threatened. Small snakes don’t usually have the habit of hissing due to their structures and body mechanisms. Hissing is more common in larger structured snakes like a ball and reticulated python, boa constrictor, hognose, cobra, anaconda, and black mamba. These snakes have the ability to display defense characteristics also like playing dead or rattling. On the other hand, snakes in your home will not hiss unless it is unwell or wants to shed their skin and such kind of reasons. You must give it some time to feel safe and probably comfort it if needed. Also, baby snakes make more hissing noises for the same reasons, as they are not too ready to be handled by humans.


Snakes are in general shy, solitary creatures who like to be left alone and undisturbed. In the wild, they look at humans as scary or noisy creatures which causes them to make hissing noises more often. They will not normally chase you around but instead escape from you. Therefore, if any snake hisses at you ever then do not be afraid, but just let it be and give a place for them to move away. A snake will only attack you when you try to cause harm to them.

All venomous or non-venomous snakes hiss when they feel threatened, irritable, or annoyed. Hissing means you need to give a distance to allow the snake to escape or be itself. Again, a lot of snakes don’t hiss and they are usually the smaller species.

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