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Odd snake question....

papillonmama
September 6th, 2006, 10:15 PM
So, I read this thread,

http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?p=282277&posted=1#post282277

which made me curious. Do you feel that your snake holds affection for you? Do you think that the affection only extends to being the person who feeds it? Any reptile really, I'm just curious to know what sort of emotional bond one can create with a snake or lizard or what-not. :)

MyBirdIsEvil
September 6th, 2006, 10:30 PM
I don't think any reptiles hold affection for anyone per se. Reptiles like lizards and turtles that can actually hear and see fairly well can be taught certain behaviors with food, and they can be conditioned to expect certain things at certain times, which may appear as affection. Most reptiles rely very strongly on instict, so even if you think you're getting affection it's just an instinctual reaction to you.

I have had several snakes, and I don't believe they can become affectionate. Snakes can be handled often and become used to people, but ultimately they're tolerating you because you're warm and you bring them food.
My snakes used to come towards the glass every time I walked past if it was close to their feeding time because they came to expect food. They used to curl up in my lap because it was warm, and they used to sit on my arm because it was kinda like a tree branch, and because they were used to me and it felt safe.

There's no such thing as a domesticated reptile (as far as I know), I don't know anyone that breeds them to be affectionate or non-aggressive, and ultimately they're wild animals who depend mostly on instinct.

papillonmama
September 6th, 2006, 10:46 PM
Thank you. Just one of those things I wonder about, specially since I've never owned one before.:)

Prin
September 7th, 2006, 01:59 AM
Ok, so no affection. Why get a snake or other reptile? What are the benefits?

Maya
September 7th, 2006, 04:27 PM
I think it's more of a hobby or fashion statement.:rolleyes: I find them more fascinating to see in the wild, I don't like seeing anything trapped.:shrug:

MyBirdIsEvil
September 8th, 2006, 11:39 PM
I think it's more of a hobby or fashion statement. I find them more fascinating to see in the wild, I don't like seeing anything trapped.

We had a black and red rat snake for several years just because they were interesting :shrug: . A lot of people buy them just to learn about snakes and to watch them. They're fairly easy reptiles to start with and they don't take a whole lot of maintenence. Some are more interesting than others though, we used to have a mexican kingsnake and he liked to swim around and look at stuff and it was just interesting to watch him. Our black rat snake used to be really aggressive, even though he was often handled, they all have different personalities.

Most of our snakes we bought and learned about them for awhile and watched them, and then sold them to someone else. Snakes are something that's actually worth more money the older it is, and kids that want an easy starter reptile and snake fanatics are often looking to buy a new one.
It's also a way to meet people with similar interests, we used to go to herpetology meetings every wednesday and bring our snakes, buy their food, and look at everyone elses reptiles.

Honestly, I too think they're more interesting to watch in the wild, which is why I don't have one anymore, but I don't think I would have learned as much about them or become as interested in them without my parents owning so many.

The most interesting reptile I had is a glass lizard, which is legless, they look like snakes but they're not. We could call him over to us, 'cause he always expected to get a treat, lol. He was also a beautiful bright blue.

Maya
September 11th, 2006, 01:04 AM
Honestly, I too think they're more interesting to watch in the wild, which is why I don't have one anymore, but I don't think I would have learned as much about them or become as interested in them without my parents owning so many. That is true for me too, I used to have goldfish, a loach and snails. I probably wouldn't have learned as much about them, or how amazing they all were if I hadn't cared for them. A few years back, I recall noticing many people dressed all in black and wearing white makeup etc.. downtown, not that there is anything at all wrong with that, however I started getting suspicious when I noticed many of them also had rats or snakes. I think it was a bit of a fad around here for a couple of years. :shrug: People get pets for many different reason's I suppose, whatever the reason is initially, hopefully they learn to love them and learn from them.

pug lover
October 10th, 2006, 06:13 PM
i am a proud owner of a beautiful florida orange german giant bearded dragon she plays on the floor with my pug they love to drag the dog bed into the middle of the floor in the afternoon and bask together spud my beardie plays ball and has her own small toy box and comes when she is called she runs to the door when she is out of her cage

her vet thinks that she is confused and thinks that the lizard believes that she is a dog. she gives kisses and comes to us for chin scratches

as for emotions i know that when i went camping for a week during the summer and had to board her that she missed me she wouldnt eat anything for them and just lied in one spot until she heard my voice when i went to get her then she perked right up and was waving frantically for me to go get her

meet spud ( short for mrs potatoe head)

Sneaky
October 10th, 2006, 07:22 PM
Hi there,
While I do believe all animals, including reptiles, birds,
and fish experience emotion, I dont think its the same
as us, or as even a dogs.
Your lizard recognizes you as a provider of food,
and as a family member.
Remember, reptiles do not have a complex brain like
we do, nowhere near it, not even anywhere near
that of any mammal.
Heres some info:
http://www.britannica.com/eb/art-70848

MyBirdIsEvil
October 10th, 2006, 07:35 PM
Sneaky, you took the words right out of my mouth. I don't want anyone thinking that reptiles aren't thinking and feeling creatures, I just don't give them human attributes. I think it's a lot more interesting to think of their behaviors in context with their species, rather than providing a human emotion to explain it. While lizards can be quite social creatures, I don't think of them as missing people, or loving them like a human would another human, and they are quite different than mammals who often show similar behaviors even when the species differs.

In regards to the lizard not eating for a week, reptiles often stop eating when something in their enviroment changes. When you left, his routine was changed, his feeding schedule was changed, and probably the way in which he was fed, so not eating was a fairly normal response. Even with snakes who can't hear and don't "play" like a lizard, they can stop eating whenever their is a change in their enviroment. I've often had snakes who didn't eat for awhile after we bought them, even if they were in the same tank. Reptiles will even go as far as letting themselves starve to death if a change in their enviroment upsets them enough.

Jai-lene
October 26th, 2006, 08:36 AM
i have to disagree with the whole snakes dont hold affection for there owners.. i own a albino king snake~Chowder.. and she is a sweetheart.. when she wants me to cuddle her *give her warmth* she will stand straight up in her terrarium n poke at the top to get my attention. I pick her up, she slithers where ever she wants on me.. usually straight in the shirt for skin on skin contact, and sometimes wraps around my neck and hair if its in a pony tail.. me n her have a great bond.. i talk to her all the time .. like i do with all my animals. and well when i ask her for kisses she flicks at my lips .. frankly if snakes didnt have any emotions for people.. tell me this ..why are alotta them so nice and gentle? when u have all those other people who make them out to be these mean creatures? why dont they ALL bite? why does my snake NEVER try to get away when i have her in my arms? why when i am playin with her in the park i put her down ..SHE STAYS?? if they have no affection ..then why is my chowder such a suck? n always wants to be held?..~Jai-lene

papillonmama
October 26th, 2006, 10:19 AM
Sort of :offtopic:

Now that there are some opinions, I was also wondering, if it's unethical to breed dogs and cats, why is it okay to breed reptiles, fish and birds?

Some sites that i have read, claimed that the people don't' breed them, but that they create a successful environment. To me, a backyard breeder of dogs or cats could use the same agument, that because they have provided a loving home, and the perfect environment that their animals should continue to breed. Do you think that they would feel different about breeding if they felt the animals had emotions? Any opinions?

Please don't get angry, I'm just curious, and I do feel it's a valid question, because I know someone who when their guppies breed and she feels she has too much fry, she just dumps them onto the street, to me, that's not something to be taken lightly, it is life after all. Maybe I'm just being sensitive.:o :shrug:

MyBirdIsEvil
October 27th, 2006, 12:43 AM
Jai-lene:
Different snake species have different instincts, reactions and levels of aggression.

why are alotta them so nice and gentle?

This has a lot to do with the species, and also with how used they are to being handled. If you have a very docile species (such as most king snakes), and handle it a lot, it will see you as safe. King snakes, being a species that isn't extremely fast, has no venom, and has many natural predators is going to instinctively look for a place that feels safe and warm, which would be you.


i talk to her all the time .. like i do with all my animals. and well when i ask her for kisses she flicks at my lips ..

I used to talk to my snakes too, but I think that's more for the owners benefit since snakes have no ears and can't hear.
When snakes flick their tongue at you it's usually because they smell something interesting. If you're putting your mouth near her and asking for kisses she can smell a lot of stuff on your breath.

when u have all those other people who make them out to be these mean creatures? why dont they ALL bite? why does my snake NEVER try to get away when i have her in my arms? why when i am playin with her in the park i put her down ..SHE STAYS??

They don't all bite because many of them just don't have the instinct to bite and defend themselves.
As far as her not trying to get away - if she's well fed and kept in a safe enviroment she may not have an extremely strong urge to go hunt or find a place to hide.
Snakes aren't "mean", that's a human emotion. Snakes bite when they think they're in danger and they're trying to defend themselves. Some will also bite over territory, or other factors depending on the species. Are lions mean for attacking prey and eating it?

---
In short, how a snake acts is strongly dependent on it's species and handling. A docile species who is well fed and taken care of, often won't try to get away or bite.
An aggressive species may try to bite and get away every time it is taken out, even it has been handled often.

MyBirdIsEvil
October 27th, 2006, 01:10 AM
Sort of :offtopic:

Now that there are some opinions, I was also wondering, if it's unethical to breed dogs and cats, why is it okay to breed reptiles, fish and birds?

Some sites that i have read, claimed that the people don't' breed them, but that they create a successful environment. To me, a backyard breeder of dogs or cats could use the same agument, that because they have provided a loving home, and the perfect environment that their animals should continue to breed.

Ethics is largely a personal opinion. It does make it different to breed snakes, because they don't require the same enviroment, they don't require exercise, and they don't crave human contact like cats dogs and birds do.
I do disagree with breeding certain snakes though. Reticulated pythons, anacondas, burmese pythons and many other very large snakes do NOT need to be bred IMO. Most people can't give these snakes a proper enclosure and aren't aware how to handle them. They're also an enviromental hazard in some cases (Search for info on burmese pythons in Florida everglades), and they can be dangerous to humans, especially if not handled properly.
Since this is mostly a thread on emotions in reptiles, I will say that if you forget that these very large snakes are snakes, and they don't hold emotions for you, you are endangering yourself and possibly others. Pythons and boas can be unpredictable, if something sets them off there's a chance they will constrict.
But, just because these snakes don't hold the same emotions or feelings as people doesn't give anyone the right to hurt them or treat them improperly, they still feel physical pain, and they can still become stressed out and get sick or die if not given the right enviroment.

I wouldn't class birds in the same category as snakes. Many birds crave the attention of people just like cats or dogs, or at least the attention of other birds. Some also need a large amount of mental stimulation to keep them happy, and they can be extremely intelligent - so when you neglect them they're definately affected mentally by it.

Boubou
October 27th, 2006, 10:28 PM
I own a Bearded Dragon and a Leopard Gecko. Although I am deeply attached to them, I don't think I can say the same for them. I know they do feel safe around me and my Beardie does react to my voice, but i do wonder to what extent does he actually 'feel' for me? Frankly, I don't really care. I love them dearly, they are fascinating and they (especially my Beardie), make me happy! As for the moral side of breeding them, I do wish it would stop. So many lizards are not kept in the right environment and more often than not, forgotten about. Once the novelty has worn off, people get bored of them and they are usually put into a basement, out of sight, out of mind.....and many of them die.

Colubridz
November 19th, 2006, 02:25 AM
Another major reason breeding reptiles is extremely different then breeding cats and dogs is that reptiles which are not domesticated used to be taken in huge numbers from the wild ( for some species such as ball pythons it was upwards of 20-40 thousand a year) and were desimating wild populations. Since hobbiests could see this number would not curve any time soon as exotic pets were increasing rapidly in popularity captive breeding became the only realistic way to manage wild populations and ensure their was still a way to supply the world wide demand for these creatures.

Back to the orignal topic, while I agree that snakes and reptiles will never show the same affection as dogs or cats simply because they are extremely different in terms of social structure and mentality, lizards do seem to have a igher intellegance level and can develop a very primative bond based on food alone and I know everytime I enter my room, my bearded dragon goliath runs up to the front of the cage to get my attention to feed him. As for why keep snakes. I think it's more just a personal preference, while some morons will get into reptiles for the wrong reasons ( just like some morons who get "tough looking dogs" to impress friends) their are still alot of responsible hobbiest of all ages and background who simply keep these animals out of a pure fascination and love and enjoy the educational aspects of raising them.

I know personally I love having them around and always try my best to reproduce their exact wild conditions and give them a stimulating and large enviroment, though arguing the ethics of keeping animals in general in captivity especially exotics is going to vary widely from person to person, I can simply say that if you do choose to own one of these fascinating animals you owe it to them to care and provide them with only the best as they will be completely dependant on you for the rest of their lives.

I find having them around very relaxing and love to handle and interact with them, it's hard to explain but I have a deep rooted love of them and always have.

Just my thoughts though

Here's myself with Kaipo my big puppy dog:)

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c171/exotica_reptiles16/KaipoandI.jpg

Lastly just wanted to note, that being unpredictable is not limited to pythons or boas alone, and that any and all wild animals are ultimately just that; wild. You can learn to read their body langauge but if you are working with a species large enough to cause you bodily harm or death its your responsibilty to ensure you take nesicary precautions. Know your reptiles individual personality and temperment and act accordingly around it.

Cheers
Kayla

MandieCole
April 6th, 2007, 10:53 PM
I have a ball python, and i know he has a major bond with me. I've had him sense he was a little under 2 feet long(he's 3.5 feet now) and he was kept @ a friends house for a couple months. the hole time he was there he was, for the most part, very unaffectionate to the temp owner, but when around me he rubs all over me. He even "kisses" me and tickles at my ears, witch is some thing he doesn't do with any one else. He also calms when he hears my voice. If thats not a bond, I don't know what is.:lovestruck:

Spirit
April 11th, 2007, 12:02 PM
I have snakes (a corn and a python). They each have their own VERY distinct personalities, and as tame as they are, they certainly don't show affection (though they do show contentment). They are cold blooded and so they adjust to the surrounding temperatures. If it's cold, they go to somewhere warm (like inside your shirt). They have a little organ at the top of their mouth that allows them to smell with their tongues, so flicking at your lips isn't about affection... it's about what you ate for lunch. My dog sniffs my legs when I come home, but I know he's not looking for somewhere to pee... he's just checking out where I've been.

If it's a hot day, I take them outside to bask in the sun. And their body language tells me just how much they love this. They have certain emotions (fear/anxiety, contentment/happiness, etc), but love isn't one of them. They recognise me over anyone else, but that's because they know my smell. When they were younger, I could put my face against the tank and they're strike at the glass, but if I put my hand inside, they'd relax and slither over (showing no fear at all) and climb up my arm. They never try to get away, and they seem to love just hanging out on the warmth of my arm/neck.

And if I smell like mouse/rat (I feed frozen, btw), I'm sure they'd tag me in a second. If they feel threatened, there's no doubt they'd constrict. It's certainly not the same as having dogs or cats, but then why do we gets birds (who were born to fly), and clip their wings and throw them in a cage? Or fish (who were born to swim) get stuck swimming in circles? And how many of us here have dogs (who were born to travel - in a manner of speaking) who spend their days hanging out at home alone while we're at work, or thrown out in our backyards for the day (or have indoor cats)?

They can sometimes be social/tollerant (I guess), but affectionate, they're not.

This is Max, btw (old pic)... Hanging out while I checked my email. He was only about 18 or so inches in this pic. He's easily 4-5 feet now.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v409/Spiriit/Animals/Max/160_6009_cr.jpg

SARAH
April 11th, 2007, 12:13 PM
The most interesting reptile I had is a glass lizard, which is legless, they look like snakes but they're not. We could call him over to us, 'cause he always expected to get a treat, lol. He was also a beautiful bright blue.

They are so cute :) I actually had a few in the garden in Normandy (along with some vipers, but those disappeared when the neighbor found the nest and torched it!). Whenever I'd be out on the riding mower, I'd have to stop and pick them up, removing them to the outside of the fence so I wouldn't cut them to pieces. They had such beautiful black eyes, not snake-like at all (well, they aren't snakes, just look like snakes).

But to my ex, anything that slid on its' belly was a snake and he hates them all with a passion! If he sawe one, I'd better be quick to save it or he'd chop it up with a spade if he didn't take a shotgun to it (we were way out in the country side, no immediate neighbors. The one with the vipers was the closest at 500 yards!)

I wouldn't want to keep one as a "pet" though, they are better off roaming the grasses. Just as I'll never have a bird again either, unless it's one that for some reason cannot fly (accident or other).

kathryn
April 12th, 2007, 11:56 AM
I have a california king and she shows affection...

The dude who got crushed.. well thats lke if you keep a hungry tiger in your garage and one day walk in there and are liek DURR.. well I would imagine /something/ would happen, it's animal instincs!

glitterless
April 13th, 2007, 02:57 AM
I'm surprised that I'm jumping in here because I'm actually the biggest wimp when it comes to snakes!

With that said, I think that they MUST be able to show some type of affection. I've had many fish over the years and I remember one Oscar that I'm sure felt that he was part of the family. He wasn't just interested in food... he'd follow us back and forth along his big aquarium and try to stay involved. I think he'd actually try to communicate with us. He definitely had a unique personality and I'm sure that he felt different emotions.

I do agree that animals live differently than us. I know that they are driven by instinct and that they are pretty much self-serving. But then I also think that animals can be eager to please. I think that some animals are highly trainable and I know that I've worked with many animals that obviously enjoy the human interaction and look forward to it.

I don't know if they feel affection, per se, but I'm sure that snakes' emotions are comparable to those of most animals. I think the problem is that we probably don't know how to interpret what they are saying.

demonicangelxxx
June 25th, 2007, 07:37 AM
well, my snakes hold no allegiance lol but my iguana sure does! :)
when i go away for a weekend and my mother has to look after him he becomes reclusive, and when i come home he's up against the glass trying to come out!

i think most animals hold a stronger bond with one person, or even another animal, than others

clm
June 25th, 2007, 09:26 AM
I've had turtles, snakes and lizards over the years. They've all seemed to have their own ways of bonding with you. Could have been my imagination, but I like to think they were happy to be around me ;)

As for breeding, a lot of reptiles can't be imported or exported into or out of Canada, so domestic breeding is the only way that some of them are available. Mind you that doesn't seem to stop some folk from importing them illegally. Look at the fool who lost the king cobra in weston there last year.

Cindy

calikingkeeper
October 18th, 2007, 01:03 AM
I think reptiles can form bonds with their owners. My male kingsnake, Asmodayose, and I have a special bond... I tend to think it is because he came to me when my life was very troubled...
Asmodayose is such a gentle and loving pet, he will just lie there let a bunch of kids handle and touch him. He will let anyone hold him. But when I leave for the summer, he becomes agressive and will not eat unless I throw a dirty sock into his tank. The first fall I had him, I didn't want to hybernate him... but he had other ideas. He slithered out of his tank and dissapeared forn the winter. I was sure he was gone and became depressed over the winter months. I didn't touch his tank because I couldn't. But come spring, he crawled right back into his tank.
Now, my geckos and anole could care less if I was gone, just so long as they get their food.

want4rain
October 18th, 2007, 07:53 AM
Ethics is largely a personal opinion. It does make it different to breed snakes, because they don't require the same enviroment, they don't require exercise, and they don't crave human contact like cats dogs and birds do.
I do disagree with breeding certain snakes though. Reticulated pythons, anacondas, burmese pythons and many other very large snakes do NOT need to be bred IMO. Most people can't give these snakes a proper enclosure and aren't aware how to handle them. They're also an enviromental hazard in some cases (Search for info on burmese pythons in Florida everglades), and they can be dangerous to humans, especially if not handled properly.
Since this is mostly a thread on emotions in reptiles, I will say that if you forget that these very large snakes are snakes, and they don't hold emotions for you, you are endangering yourself and possibly others. Pythons and boas can be unpredictable, if something sets them off there's a chance they will constrict.
But, just because these snakes don't hold the same emotions or feelings as people doesn't give anyone the right to hurt them or treat them improperly, they still feel physical pain, and they can still become stressed out and get sick or die if not given the right enviroment.

I wouldn't class birds in the same category as snakes. Many birds crave the attention of people just like cats or dogs, or at least the attention of other birds. Some also need a large amount of mental stimulation to keep them happy, and they can be extremely intelligent - so when you neglect them they're definately affected mentally by it.

i dont have anythign to add to it, i jsut wanted to say this is a really really great post on so many different levels. thanks MBIE. these few points are oh so often over looked and extremely important in the world of pets.

-ashley

SneakySnakesINC
December 20th, 2007, 03:34 AM
I have been keeping snakes for 10+ years, and I've definitely seen a form of bond between them and myself. It may not be as noticable as any other "fuzzy" animal, but I do believe it is there. I think these animals are capable of a lot more than we give them credit.

An example - I have a northern pinesnake, Oshy...who I've owned for going on 8 years now, I've used him for hundreds of educational demos and he's turned out to be the most gentle, kind animal I've had the pleasure to work with.

What makes me say that they can develop a bond is this.... If I'm standing in a room full of people, I can put this snake on the ground and walk away, and he'll come straight to me, ignoring the others. If someone is holding him and I'm within reach, he comes to me, this isn't simple "craving warmth" If he wanted warmth he'd be happy staying with whoever had him at the time....but he always chooses me, regardless of it being close to feeding time or not. I can hand feed this snake, he'll take food gently out of my palm, and let me touch with him while he eats if I need too or do anything to him really.

I think theres so much more about reptiles we don't understand, or haven't discovered yet. I read recently in a reptile magazine actually that scientists have just discovered that a certain breed of snake (the african rock python, i believe-don't quote me on that though) actually cares for it's young after it hatches for up to 4 months - Just goes to show that anything is possible!:lovestruck: