Top 10 Snake Myths
Are you looking to debunk some myths about snakes? Wondering how much of the hearsay about serpents is true? What are the popular and untrue beliefs surrounding the snakes? Are snakes venomous, cold or slimy? What are some of the top snake myths?
My name is Michael Cook, a member of Herpetology research group and a correspondent writer of Snake Store Team. My profound interest in serpents urged me to continue my academic studies on experimental designs on snake and behavioral studies. With widespread misunderstandings on this magnificent reptile, I have decided to share some of the top myths surrounding the snakes here.
Snake myths arise from Ophidiophobic assumptions, from snakes’ quality of being poisonous, their body temperature, and bites. Other myths include unfair humanistic connotations given to these reptiles such as being considered evil, selfish, merit to be killed, and their owners are sadistic or will be eaten.
This article debunks the myths surrounding;
- All snake species quality of being venomous
- Tongue function
- Body temperatures and feel
- Snake bite assumptions
- Evil connotations to serpents
- Thoughts on killing or harming snakes
- Captive snake owners condemnation
- Snakes being considered selfish
- Snakes wanting to eat their owners
- Using kittens as a captive snake food
Read on to uncover the truth about snakes; Snakes are the victims of many prejudices, which may explain why some people fear them. Here are some common beliefs and explanations to educate you about some opinions regarding snakes. If you have a fear of something, learn about the issue to reduce the fear.
Let's not wait any longer - here are the Top 10 Snake Myths!
1- All snakes are venomous
Wrong! Only 10% of the 3,000 recorded snake species across the world are dangerous to humans. These species mainly exist in Australia and India. Most serpents are constrictors who do not produce venom and kill their prey by suffocation.
Not all snake venoms are fatal or dangerous to humans. Not every bite is poisonous. Venom is precious to the snake, and it takes a long time to produce, so it is not used systematically.
2- Snakes sting with their tongue
Wrong! The snake's tongue is bifid (split in two) and is used to detect the prey's whereabouts. Snakes will assess where the prey is depending on odor detection on the left or right side of their tongue. The snake's tongue is a sensory organ, the same as for humans and other animals.
There is no direct harm if a snake touches. They are simply learning about their environment. It is the same if they stick their tongue out when looking at you; they are looking for smells to identify their environment.
3- Snakes are cold and slimy
Wrong! Snakes are ectothermic and poikilothermic. They do not produce heat, their body heat depends on their environment. A snake is not cold, their temperature reflects where they are. If it has been resting in a hot spot, you will feel the hot spot temperature when you touch the snake.
The snake's skin does not secrete liquid. Their smooth skin is not sticky, thanks to its scales.
4- Snakes bite, they're nasty
Wrong! When a snake feels threatened, it will try to escape. If it positions itself in front of you, it is a defensive posture, as it feels cornered and has no other choice but to face you. A snake bites to hunt, but if it sees man as a threat it will run away. If you are bitten by a snake, take a step back and ask yourself why it happened. If you tried to catch the snake when it was trapped, their reaction is normal. If you stepped on it, as often happens in the forest or outdoors, their reaction to this is also normal. A snake will bite you just as a cat or dog would if it felt under attack.
5- Snakes are evil, they eat very cute mice
True and false! Yes, snakes are carnivorous. Some species eat fish, insects, and eggs, but this is rare as most eat mammals. In captivity, they are usually fed mice or rats daily. Rabbits are often fed to larger snakes.
Does this make snakes bad? No, they eat cows, pigs, chickens... just as your cat feeds on mice and birds! So there is no need to criticize snakes when we and other animals do the same!
6- I did a good deed by killing a snake crossing the forest or road - it could be a dangerous adder!
Wrong! Firstly, vipers rarely bite and inject venom only 1 in 5 times. Venom production is a slow process, so snakes mainly save it to kill their prey. Their venom is usually not fatal to humans, except in cases of an allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock. Snake venom causes the following, all of which are treatable in the hospital.
- Local pain
People often confuse garter snakes with adders and kill all snakes on sight but garter snakes are not dangerous. It is important to know the difference, these two snake categories are easy to differentiate: adders have a triangular head, a slit pupil ("cat"), are small, and stocky. They rarely reach one meter in length.
Garter snakes have a round head with pupils, are long, and slender. Snakes usually flee from humans, if you see a snake and don't know its breed, hit the ground hard. The snake is deaf, and will interpret these vibrations as a predator, and will flee.
7- Terrariophiles are sadists who don't like animals as they feed mice to their snakes
Wrong! Mice are the snake's natural food. Snakes are not vegetarian and their diet should not be changed. The terrariophile only respects the well-being and needs of his snake. In general, a dead mouse is fed to the snake. The mouse does not suffer during the meal and the snake is not at risk of injury.
Any future terrariophiles should be prepared to feed dead mice to their snake or take care of a different animal.
The way these animals live must be respected by non-terrariophiles. Just as you do not stop your cat from killing birds or mice, or feed your dog lettuce because you are vegetarian: you need to respect the natural diet of your animal.
8- Snakes are wild animals who satisfy their own selfish needs
True and false! Ferrets, rabbits, mice, hamsters, fish, and birds, are all wild animals sold as pets. They are often taken from and born in captivity. The same applies to snakes and other reptiles. One cannot criticize terrariophiles for owning reptiles, as aquarists and other pet owners look after other small mammals. The relationship to the animal is the main difference. Snakes often have a negative reputation that is not justified when compared to other mammals.
9- Snakes sneak into their owner's bed to assess if they can eat them
Wrong! This is a widespread urban belief and every snake owner has probably heard this at least once. We don't know where the story originated but it is untrue. If an escaped snake left its habitat and ended up in someone's bed, it’s because it was seeking warmth.
10- Snake owners feed them kittens
Wrong! This incorrect belief only exists because people enjoy spreading it. Let's be realistic, there probably are people who do but it’s uncommon behavior. Minorities do it for a reason and don't shout from the rooftops about it. As people don’t sterilize their cats, there are plenty available. So some snake owners may see this as an easy way to feed their pet.
The terrariophile community does not endorse this behavior. If a snake owner approaches you to adopt a kitten, it will not end up in the snake’s belly. Above all, terrariophiles are animal lovers who keep various animals in their homes including a cat, dog, bird, mouse, or even a pet rat!.
Esoteric Reptiles That Induce Myths and Art
Whether you are a snake enthusiast, or wanting to find the truth about hearsays that doesn’t feel quite right- you can now debunk the top myths surrounding snakes. If you hear a story about a friend who had a snake that climbed to their bed in order to measure them as food, or about the snake owners who feed their snakes mice or kittens with cruelty, or presumptions of unfamiliar people about the snake’s bodily mechanism or unfair connotations. After reading this article, you can go ahead and correct these mentions- and even provide a scientific explanation for that matter.
As one of the most esoteric creatures in the wild, the hypnotizing beauty of this reptile has feared and facilitated mankind for centuries. As a dedication to Victorian jewelry, discover the Vintage Bangle- an emblem of dangerous beauty.