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View Poll Results: Do snakes feel emotions and/or love?

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  • Snakes do not feel emotions or love.

    59 45.38%
  • Snakes feel emotions, but not love.

    59 45.38%
  • Snakes feel emotions and love.

    12 9.23%
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  1. #31
    Registered User Malpaso's Avatar
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    Re: Do snakes feel emotions and/or love?

    It's probably silly conclusion but it just seems like more philosophical chat between:

    1-2 snake owners -> snakes do feel emotions, love and likes me
    3+ snake owners -> snakes are just rodent hunters with no brain and do not care at all

    do you know what I mean? It's more about your relation to the snake... . Is it part of family or just item in rack?

    0.1 - Normal Ball Python... Note: English is not my native... so please bear with me

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  3. #32
    BPnet Veteran Michelle.C's Avatar
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    Re: Do snakes feel emotions and/or love?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malpaso View Post
    It's probably silly conclusion but it just seems like more philosophical chat between:

    1-2 snake owners -> snakes do feel emotions, love and likes me
    3+ snake owners -> snakes are just rodent hunters with no brain and do not care at all

    do you know what I mean? It's more about your relation to the snake... . Is it part of family or just item in rack?
    I'm in the "3+" category. I do not believe reptiles can show higher level emotions or that they can feel love at all.

    However, that being said; I am not insecure enough to apply anthropomorphism to my reptiles. I do love my animals, all of them, even the Tarantulas. Not for a second do I think it is returned from a invertebrate or reptile. If I wanted an animal to show emotion and love me, I'd get another dog.

    Keeping snakes in racks or the number of animals we have, has nothing to do with how we feel about the animals. Most people simply do not have to be fulfilled through false pretenses.

    Just my opinion.


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  5. #33
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    Re: Do snakes feel emotions and/or love?

    I voted for some emotions and not love solely because I think all animals feel fear at the very least.

  6. #34
    BPnet Veteran TheOtherLeadingBrand's Avatar
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    Re: Do snakes feel emotions and/or love?

    I agree with the poster who sees a difference in the folks who see snakes as belongings and those who see them as family members and companions. You see this in the dog show world, too. It's not necessarily a BAD thing, and even the most obsessive dog show person or reptile breeder can love and take outstanding care of his animals. But he may not ever see each one the same way (or NEED each one the same way) as those of us who have animals primarily as pets to fill our own emotional needs do.

    I have 13, soon 14 snakes, but they are pets. A few are snippy so we're not as affectionate with them, but we still like them. Each one has a distinct personality, and both of us would say that. I am more inclined than my husband is to suspect they would be fine, or even like it better, if we didn't handle them much. I don't think they have emotional NEEDS for companionship the way a dog does.

    However, I do think they need at least some change of scene and handling and exploring. Maybe I am wrong, but it's what I think. I also think they are capable of being afraid, being annoyed, and being content. Those are basic emotions. They can feel pain.

    I don't think they love like we do (I'm not sure I even believe "love" as we like to define it even exists among humans, but that's another post for another forum). But, IMO they do recognize the scent of certain handlers and learn to think it is acceptable or maybe even enjoyable to explore and be handled by this person.

    So, I voted that yes they have emotions... but not "love" and I stand by that.

    I DO also think we shouldn't necessarily hold any animals to our same standard of emotion. Snakes, dogs, cats, and fish (or whatever animal you enjoy) are just fine as they are... in fact I like them because they are what they are!

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  8. #35
    BPnet Veteran TheOtherLeadingBrand's Avatar
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    Re: Do snakes feel emotions and/or love?

    I want to add that no matter what you think about your pets' emotional capacity, remember the positive differences they can make. Whether your snake or your dog really loves you or not, it's reliable presence, it's natural qualities, it's beauty, and it's very existence and it's NEED for your care and time can literally save your soul.

    How many of us even here on this board have had our lives positively changed by the simple act of caring for our snakes. How many times a day do you smile when you see your snake doing something cute, or just simply being itself?

    Our relationship with our animals is complex and wonderful. I can't imagine life without them.

  9. #36
    BPnet Veteran TheOtherLeadingBrand's Avatar
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    Re: Do snakes feel emotions and/or love?

    Of course they have memories and can learn through conditioned learning. Anything with a brain stem, hunger, and the ability to see or hear or feel touch (any or all of those) can be conditioned to respond.

    My fish are "trained" to swim to one side of the tank. They now do it for food when I flick the light. Big deal... it's just a simple conditioned response. When I set a brown paper bag down (with or without rodent scent in or on it- I have experimented to see, by simply setting down a bag from the liquor store) in view, several of my snakes go into strike/food mode. They KNOW that seeing that bag usually equals food. Again, a simple conditioned response.

    I would have a hard time imagining someone could deny that they have the capacity to learn- earthworms can learn/be conditioned. That has little or nothing to do with emotions.

    An interesting side note on humans and instinct. I have never experienced instinct behavior in myself until I had a baby. My body literally goes into a panic mode (that is aside from my emotions or love for my baby entirely) when my baby cries in hunger. It makes me crazy- I can feel the insane drive to feed my child rising within me, and if we are, say, in the car and I cannot feed him for another five minutes until we can pull over somewhere, those five minutes are hell for me.

    I also had an entirely natural, unassisted labor. I found myself crawling on all fours, swaying about, etc. I knew exactly when to push, and what to do, even though I'd never had or even watched a childbirth before. No one ever once told me what to do or how to position myself. Nature took over and I felt like an animal.

    Very cool... a side of my human condition that I never got to experience before.

  10. #37
    BPnet Veteran RoyalGuardian's Avatar
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    Re: Do snakes feel emotions and/or love?

    I think people think that snakes don't feel love or emotions because they expect them to show them like humans or dogs. I know snakes have emotions and they can feel love. I know all the breeders and other enthusiasts are thinking " this chick is wack" but I know it for a fact. I have a very strong bond with both my animals. Trust for me is how they show their love. Trust is how snakes love you. If they trust you, you have their love. My snakes have the most character of any Ball pythons I have ever seen especially Calypso. I have been complimented by every herper that has ever gotten the pleasure to hold her. She is so different, she has a quality that people can't help but comment on. Not only is she beautiful, she has a heart of gold! And when Ki bites me he gets really depressed afterwards... poor little guy. I know he doesn't mean it ( sometimes his aim is way off). He will bite me then let go and coil up around his head and stay like that until i give him a back rub. Both my snakes get back rubs, I truly believe that because of that we have a stronger bond. I even have scale conditioner I use when rubbing THEY LOVE IT!!!! How do I know? Have you ever seen a ball python get so relaxed they stretch all the way out and let you rub on them while flicking their tongues and ultimately go limp because they are completely relaxed? It's a great way to bond with them! So yes they show love and trust.
    ~*Luna*~ The crazy Sagittarius/Snake BP Lady
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  11. #38
    BPnet Veteran Hulihzack's Avatar
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    Re: Do snakes feel emotions and/or love?

    Couldn't have put it better myself TOLB.
    I also believe that if the person handling the snake is calm, the snake is more likely to be calm, which could point towards some recognition of "feelings", although nothing as complex as love. I've handled snakes at my work that the other guys call me crazy for, when I had no idea it was even a nippy snake to begin with. Because I was calm and confident in handling the snake, it was alright being handled. That's what I've gathered from my experience. So fear/comfort/contentment yes, love no.
    Zack

    Asking dumb questions is easier than fixing dumb mistakes.

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  13. #39
    Registered User Sophiax's Avatar
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    Re: Do snakes feel emotions and/or love?

    I voted yes on both - because I believe (in a more spiritual sense) that every living creature is capable of knowing both fear and love. How else do plants grow better when they're spoken to in loving ways?

    The thing with snakes is, they don't feel "love" in the way we humans define it. I do believe they can feel it in their own ways, by their own parameters. The problem with love is not defining it for snakes, it's defining it for people! Some say it's a very complex "high" emotion, but I maintain that love is one of the simplest emotions there is. It's made complicated by human reason, ego, and our own complexities.

    But I agree with whoever said above - this is an interesting debate, but it can never be settled due to the inability for us to perceive as snakes. Unless one of us can go a la King Arthur in "Sword in the Stone" and become a ball python for a day.

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  15. #40
    Registered User StormSerpent's Avatar
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    Re: Do snakes feel emotions and/or love?

    I think alot of people try to compare reptiles to something else; mindless like insects/fish or compassionate like dogs/cats/etc. Here's my take on it:

    I am very big on biology and feel that snakes will never feel anything that equates to human love/emotion but I do feel all snakes will feel an emotion one way or another.

    I look to the Triune Brain model based on evolution. Basically this separates the brain into 3 parts, the R-complex, the Limbic System, and the Neocortex. As the brain got bigger over time in accordance with evolution and cephalization, the brain also received levels of complexity. Basically, fish have primitive forms of the R-complex, amphibians have a more complex structure than fish, reptiles have the entire R-complex, birds exhibit some of the limbic system, all mammals have the entire limbic system, and higher order mammals possess the neocortex.

    The R-complex (from being named the Reptilian Complex) is the basis of the brain, the brainstem and cerebellum in our brains; which make up the brain in reptiles. In humans and reptiles alike, the R-complex is responsible for certain things like rage, fear, and the flight-or-fight responses. In humans, this is where "primitive" emotions develop, such as territorial defense, fear, and anger all take place.

    Now the Limbic system gives way to mood, emotions and higher order memory. The R-complex had some basic memory functions but the Limbic system gives way to learning, (i.e. Mouse in a maze). These are where emotions like sadness, love, happiness, all reside. All mammals possess this part of the brain; so its safe to say your dogs, cats, mice, rats, hamsters, etc all love you.

    So what does this mean? Snakes cannot love, but snakes can feel emotion, granted they are basic but they still feel emotion.

    From Dictionary.com: "emotion- an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness. "
    or wikipedia: :An emotion is a mental and physiological state associated with a wide variety of feelings, thoughts, and behavior."

    So I strongly believe that my snake does have and feels emotions, he might not love me, but he can feel secure or insecure which equates to very basic emotions.
    1.0 Leatherback Het Hypo Bearded Dragon - Crush

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