One of the first questions that every prospective snake owner has on their mind is how affectionate their new pet is going to be. They typically think of affection in parameters of if your animal recognizes you and shows visible signs of desiring your company.
In other words, most pet owners have an expectation that their companion animals should be interactive, energetic, and have body language that can be easily interpreted. Snakes for sale, as you may expect, are a bit different from your average pet. They don’t play fetch, demand companionship, ask for being pets, or learn cute tricks.
However, they are still complex animals with defined sentience and internal lives. They show obvious signs of distress, contentment, and even what can be interpreted as happiness. If you know what to look for.
To directly answer the question, yes, pet snakes likely recognize their caretakers. There are many anecdotal accounts of snakes happily approaching their enclosure tops when their owner comes by to simply wrap around their arms. However, as with any animal, the level of affection and interaction that your pet snake has with you will be entirely determined by the individual personality of the reptile and nature of your relationship.
Snake Body Language Basics
While the level of bond that a snake can develop for its owner may be debated, understanding your reptile’s body language is an important part of developing an enjoyable relationship with it.
Signs of a Happy Snake
- Tongue flicking typically means that it is simply “smelling” the air (snakes do not have a sense of smell and use their tongue to detect chemical signals in the environment). A relaxed snake will simply take its time to investigate its environment by tasting the air. Stressed snakes do indeed flick their tongues as well, but in a quicker, more frantic manner.
- A snake that is happy and comfortable with you will slowly explore your arms and shoulders (places it can perch on), idly smelling the area along the way. Your snake should have a casual, somewhat loose grip.
- Your snake should casually explore its environment in your presence. It may even feel comfortable eating while you’re around.
Some Signs of a Stressed Snake
- Acts of aggression not typically seen, such as striking or hissing.
- Gastrointestinal distress. This can manifest as regurgitation, loss of appetite, and weight loss. We would recommend taking your snake to the vet immediately if you observe this.
- Tail “rattling”. Even if your snake doesn’t have a rattle, it can quickly vibrate its tail in response to a threat.
- Constricting your arms. If a snake has a tighter grip than the casual, semi-loose one described earlier, it may be stressed.
What to Think About Before Seeking Out Snakes for Sale
As you grow to understand your snake better and recognize its body language, your bond will deepen. As with any other pet, snakes show a variety of personality and show little idiosyncrasies that many reptile owners grow to appreciate. Ultimately, your snake’s personality is something that can only be observed as it grows and bonds with you.