Can Snakes Smell Fear? (7 Interesting Facts)

Snakes are one of the most feared animals by humans. Some people make snakes as pets, and others are afraid even if they only see them from afar. Sometimes if we see snakes and fear them, snakes will approach us as if knowing we are intimidated by them.

Can snakes smell fear? It is a myth when someone says snakes can smell your fear. Snakes can sense if humans are afraid of them by looking at their body language. Although snakes have an extraordinary smell sense, they will not respond to human fears unless humans perform unpredictable movements.

To know about how snakes know our fear, whether snakes can smell fear or it is a myth, let’s read the article to the end.

Can snakes smell fear
Can snakes smell fear?


Can Snakes Smell Fear?

Snakes can smell what humans can’t. Snakes use their tongue to collect the odor molecules effectively. If snakes are in a tank, snakes cannot sense your presence unless you are very close to the glass.

Some pet snakes will lick the owner’s skin, knowing the owner’s smell didn’t feel anxious when it is near them. In the wild, snakes can smell and sense when you are near them. They might attack you from behind or a spot you didn’t know about.

Snakes use the smell environment more than using other senses. We still can’t ensure whether snakes can smell fear or see from our behavior.


Do Snakes Feel Fear?

Snakes do not feel fear. If snakes are a pet and know that a stranger is approaching them, snakes can be anxious and afraid of the newcomer. They can come forward and try to scare the stranger as a form of defensive act.

Snakes do that not because they can smell the fear but because they feel anxious about new people. Some people who feel that snakes know their fear think that snakes can sense their worry in a certain way.

Can snakes smell fear? We know the snakes have extraordinary smell abilities, but we can’t ensure whether snakes can smell our fear or anxiety.


Can Snakes Smell Emotion?

Snakes have emotions, just like any other animal. They can show love or fear to their owners or something that scares them. But snakes can’t feel any human emotions. The only possibility is that snakes can sense our fear from body language.

Emotions such as our fear or anxiety cannot be smelled by snakes even though they have a sharp sense of smell. Humans are not considered predators or prey. They will be hissing to warn you. If snakes feel cornered, they will bite you or slither away.

Humans are a threat to snakes. If you see snakes in the wild, they are more protective of themselves than attacking you directly. If their size and length are huge they will jump on you and act as a predator to get you as their prey.


Can Snakes Sense Nerves?

Snakes can’t sense nerves. One of the things related to nerves is the vibration of their surroundings which is translated into nerve impulse and travels to the snake’s brain. It is a snake’s way of sensing through vibration and can feel the presence of humans near humans just from their steps.

It is from these nerve impulses that snakes can find their prey in the dark. At a certain distance, snakes can feel their prey even though they are blindfolded. But how the snake detects and converts the signals into nerve impulses is still a mystery. Snakes can’t sense nerves nor fear.


Do Snakes Have Stress Hormones?

Snakes have a stress level triggered by several factors, such as anthropogenic disturbance, the presence of predators, the availability of shelter and food, climatological changes, and seasonality changes. Snakes under stress are more likely to attack anything or anyone who gets close to them.

The most common behavior is hissing and striking, refusing to eat, or rubbing its nose against objects. Some people think snakes can smell their fear, but in reality, it is not.

Snakes only take defensive actions when something makes them uncomfortable or is under high-stress levels.

Can snakes smell fear? Snakes cannot smell any fear from other creatures. One possibility is that snakes can sense the presence of their prey from other senses or feel fear from body language.


Can Snakes Detect Fear?

There is no evidence snakes can detect fear from other creatures. Snakes may be sensing our fear from our body language and strange movements, but they cannot find out the fear of larger creatures like humans.

Snakes can detect the presence of creatures around them through their smell or other senses. But cannot discover emotions such as fear or anxiety.

Snake has a different preference if it is with the owner or with strangers. How the owner holds snakes and other people will be different, especially if people are afraid of snakes when they want to touch them.

Can snakes smell fear? No, they can’t. Snakes only smell their surroundings with the help of their tongue and determine whether in front of them has a characteristic odor that they can prey on.


Can Snakes Sense Your Fear?

Snakes can’t sense human fear. Snakes will not respond to any human actions unless snakes feel threatened by human actions or unpredictable human movements.

Snakes may respond to your fearful behavior, such as moving suddenly or throwing things at them. If you do that, the serpent will think of you as a predator who wants to harm them.

You need to learn from a hobbyist or snake enthusiast about how to ease and pet them if you have never held a snake before.

Snake thinks you are a threat if from the start you can’t handle them. It will be a negative reaction for snakes. Every time you approach, the serpent will perform a defensive act and attack you.

Can snakes smell fear
Can snakes smell fear?


Can Snakes Sense You?

Snakes are not like mammals who have intelligence in recognizing you as their owner. They can tolerate human contact by creating differentiation and the illusion of recognition.

If the snake is used to how one person treats them with his touch, they can override their instinct to flee or attack the human.

Your snake can’t recognize you just by looking, unlike other pets. Snakes might sense you from your scent because of how much time you spend with them.

Can snakes smell fear? No. Snakes get used to your smell because they live in captivity. They can sense the difference between people who approach them from their smell or how you hold them.


How Do Snakes Respond To Your Fear?

The snake will react when you make prey-like moves. Instantly they will jump or bite you, using a way to immobilize the opponent instantly.

Some reptile owners deal with this by tying the snake’s mouth when they are removed from the cage. A snake will only be able to hiss and smell the smell around him, but can’t open his mouth freely.

Snakes understand dealing with prey, predators, or something that will threaten them. If you move carelessly like avoiding them, the snake might attack you quickly. But if snakes don’t see you as a food source, they will slowly drift away and prefer to hide in the shade.

One way to avoid a snake’s aggressive actions is to calm yourself down. Pause for a moment and see what steps the snake will take. If they are hissing or trying to attack you, try to fight them by holding them on the head or body.

When the snake retreats and tries to hide, that’s when the snake feels you are not prey and endangers their position. A snake will choose to run away and avoid you as fast as possible.

These are facts about snakes that not everyone knows. If you feel scared and want to run away from the snake you see, they will approach and try to attack you as their prey.


Will My Pet Snake Attack Out Of Fear?

Snakes are not an aggressive animal like other predators. They will attack if they are in a threatening situation. The snake will interpret your behavior. If you make a sudden movement or do something you wouldn’t normally do, the snake feels uncomfortable and perceives you as a threat.

The snake’s instinct will distance itself from the threat and try to attack if they are in the right range. Snake’s attack move is not to harm you but wants to warn you if they can defend themselves.

Snakes can sense their owner’s presence from smell or handling. There’s no reason for snakes to fear you for something you do as long as it doesn’t harm them.

If you see your snake frightened by your presence, try to find out why they did that. Is there anything else around snakes that makes them uncomfortable? Is it time for them to eat? Or you do a jerky movement.

Can snakes smell fear? When you know snakes have an advantage in their sense, it doesn’t mean snakes can smell emotion like fear. Snakes can smell their surroundings to determine if there is a characteristic smell of their prey.


How To Overcome Fear Of Snakes?

Fear of snakes can be considered a natural thing. In a survey of 100 strangers, 70% more people might be afraid of snakes because of their poison, shape, or sharp teeth that can tear their opponent’s skin and flesh apart.

There are several ways to get rid of your fear of snakes. Let’s look at the table below.

How toExplanation
Spending time near snakesCome to the snake handler experience, try to be near the snake and hold the snake slowly.
Caring snake as a petAsk how to care for a snake with a harmless species. Try to care for one snake until you are comfortable with them.
Watch video of snakesFamiliarize yourself with the snake you are afraid of. Watch the documentary about snake species, as you learn about them.
Handle a toy snakeAlthough a bit difficult, you have to get used to knowing you only want to hold the toy snake, not the real one.
Observing a snakeSee a live snake at the zoo or a friend who has a snake as a pet. Get close to the snake that is clearly visible blocked by the glass.
Taking photo with living snakeWhen you’re ready, find a special place where you can hold them and take photos with them. Even though this is the last thing you should do, knowing that you can overcome the fear is one of the achievements that can be appreciated.


Final Verdict – Can Snakes Smell Fear

Snakes in the wild or captivity look aggressive if we are afraid of them. Some people think that snakes can smell fear because many people already know that snakes have a sharp sense of smell.

Can snakes smell fear
Can snakes smell fear?

Snakes cannot smell fear or anxiety. Snakes can tell if you are afraid of them from your movements or behavior. If you take the wrong step, the snake may think of you as prey by equating you with a prey avoiding the snake in the wild.

Snake as a pet can distinguish you from others by a specific smell or how you handle them. Snakes are not like dogs or cats who know their owners just by looking at them. Snakes might look like they’re sleeping but they observe the environment a lot.

As a pet lover, make sure to learn about pet more and give your pet snake a good and comfortable life!

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