So snakes feel pain?

San Antonio snake

Snakes are quite docile creatures for the most part, only really speeding things up when they absolutely have to. If you watch snake documentaries on TV or the internet, you will see that snakes move at a fairly quick pace, but they definitely pick up the pace more when there is the chance of a good meal, or if they need to get away from a predator.

Because snakes move relatively slowly, apart from when their own survival or food is involved, it is believed that they perhaps do not feel things like other animals do. These things could include pain. When the snake is provoked in an action that could be seen as a painful one, the snake doesn't move ‘that much’ so, therefore, isn’t capable of feeling the pain, right?

Actually, this is wrong. It's amazing how many blog posts and internet articles seem to suggest that snakes and other reptiles do not feel pain. This is most definitely not the case. All animal species have the potential to feel pain, if they are put in a situation that is painful. The snake is not exempt from this.

If you come across a snake that is buried beneath the undergrowth while you are out walking your dog, you will know that you have stepped on the snake’s tail (for example) because it will react. There is a very good chance that the snake will react in a negative way, usually lashing out or perhaps even biting or snapping at you. This is an action that would lead us to believe that the snake does feel pain. The animal reacts in a very similar way to the way that humans would react if you were to stamp on their toes.

It is a common belief that some animals don't feel pain. It was thought for a long time about rodents, such as rats and mice, but studies and investigations performed by various organizations and agencies designed for protecting animal welfare and rights have shown that they do feel pain. In some cases, the animals can feel just as much pain and emotion as people can. Rats have been shown to feel sadness and sorrow when they are removed from friends and family members. Although the investigations and studies have not yet been published on snakes and pain or emotions, it would be sensible to think of them in the same way — that they CAN feel pain. Go back to the home page: Snakes of San Antonio