Snakes are able to recognise and distinguish between humans and may recognise the scent of their owner as familiar or positive with time. However, snakes are unable to view humans as companions so cannot form a bond with their owner like other pets can.
Can snakes recognise humans?
Snakes have six senses, the first five being shared with humans: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. The sixth sense they have allows them to detect the heat of other creature without touching them. However, snakes mostly rely on smell and taste as their main senses to recognise prey because their eyesight is poor.
Snakes are able to use these senses to identify humans, and even differentiate between them. They may be able to recognise their owner specifically and, with repetition, may see you as important in their wellbeing. This grows when you come to visit and feed them often. However, they wouldn’t feel the same level of familiarity towards you as a pet dog or cat would.
Can you bond with a snake?
Some snake owners feel as though their snake recognises them and is more eager to be held by them than by other people. However, snakes don’t have the intellectual capacity to feel emotions such as affection. But this lack of brain power doesn’t mean that snakes don’t enjoy spending time with humans. They just aren’t capable of forming a bond with you in a way that a dog or cat does.
So why might it seem like a snake has a connection with its owner? Some biological scientists believe that this is due to ‘classic conditioning‘. This is a form of learning where a human or animal begins to respond in a specific way to a certain stimulus. Before your snake experiences the positive sensation of eating food, its owner is always present in the room. Over time, the snake recognises the smell of their owner and associates this smell with the feeling of receiving food. The presence of their owner is seen as positive and exciting.
But does this qualify as a bond? Not exactly: the snake doesn’t acknowledge the smell of their owner as a living being or as a companion. Snakes don’t have great memory or sight, so won’t recognise the look of their owner. They only have a good memory for smells as they rely on smell to locate prey in the wild.
Do snakes make good pets?
Snakes are unable to form a bond with their owner, but this doesn’t mean they are poor pets. We don’t need to attach too much value to a deep bond. We can get a lot of pleasure from keeping a snake.
Snakes enjoy being looked after by humans as long as they are being fed regularly and have a suitable enclosure. They only have basic needs for happy survival and your care will be much better than what they would have received in the wild.
So whether or not snakes make good pets simply depends on what kind of relationship you’d like with your pet. If you are happy simply being a caregiver for an animal, and making sure it is always happy and comfortable, a snake could be great for you. But if you’d like to establish a strong bond with an animal, and have your pet see you as a companion, you must recognise that snakes are unable to feel this way.
Animal-Club provides animal parties or animal handling workshop where your will be able to see, learn and interact with the hamsters and other wonderful animals with the help of our presenters. Our mobile zoo has many friendly animals such as rabbits, tarantulas, geckos, vinegaroons and more that will be perfect for an animal party. We can also come over to your school for an animal school visit or arrange for an animal workshop with us where the children can learn about animals and have fun too.