Can snakes cry? (signs of stress in snakes)

In this blog post, we are going to find out whether can snakes cry, how they cry and how to know if your snake is stressed out. We are enumerating the signs and causes of stress in snakes and we also tell you how to treat a stressed pet snake and what changes to make in order to ensure its wellbeing. 

Can snakes cry?

Snakes do not cry as mammals do (they do not have a tear duct), however, snakes can produce tears, just as other reptiles can. A snake’s tears flow into the glands on the roof of its mouth. 

This doesn’t mean that your snake is sad or melancholic, snakes are not capable of feeling the same emotions as we humans do. Reptiles feel more primitive emotions that are related to their survival: fear, hunger, pain and pleasure. 

How do I know if my snake is suffering?

Snakes, especially captive snakes, can suffer from stress. And your snake can indeed die from stress, so it is not a health problem that you can allow to continue. Pet snakes get stressed out due to their living environment and behaviour. But how do you know if your snake is in a stressful situation, and how can you de-stress a snake? 

You will notice changes in your snake’s body language. Your pet may refuse to eat and may begin to hiss or hit objects in the terrarium. The cause may be improper care, such as their tank being too large or hot. 

Stress can kill your pet snake, so you need to take steps to make your pet more comfortable. The good news is that stress in pet snakes is easy to fix. It is always related to something wrong with the way you are caring for them, which with a few simple changes can be quickly corrected.

Symptoms of stress in snakes 

The symptoms of stress in snakes may include:

  • Your snake will refuse to eat, even if by their regular schedule, they must be hungry.
  • Your snake will rub its nose against its enclosure, repeatedly, even if it causes them pain.
  • Your snake will be agitated, and even violent.

If your snake is stressed out by how you handle it, the signs are a little different. They are placed in a defensive position, which differs from one species to another.

Some species roll into an S shape to be ready to attack. And all snakes hiss to warn you that they don’t like you. They can attack you if you keep getting close. When you handle them, they will constantly try to escape.

What are the causes of stress in snakes?

If the snake feels that their living conditions differ from what they would like in nature, this causes them stress. You may notice that your snake is experiencing a strong desire to find a more suitable place to live.

In nature, they could go and find a better place. But when they are locked in an enclosure, they cannot. This is the cause of all reptile and snake stress. Here are some reasons for stress in snakes:

  • An enclosure that is too small or too large for them can cause stress.
  • If the snake has nowhere to hide, it will feel vulnerable.
  • If the room is too hot, cold, humid or dry, they will feel a strong desire to find a more suitable place.
  • If they’re enclosed with other snakes, while they wouldn’t be $ 0027 social in the wild, they’ll want to find their own private space.
  • If they are sick, they will naturally be unhappy and stressed.
  • If you don’t handle them correctly, they will see you as a threat and will react accordingly. The same applies if they are handled too frequently. Some snakes, like milk snakes, do not like to be handled.

Each of these things is related to improper care. Each case of stress in snakes is directly related to the fact that their owner does not care for them properly.

Therefore, you must take a closer look at how to care for your snake, either by reading a care guide or doing your research.

Can stress kill a snake?

Stress itself cannot kill a snake, but the side effects of stress can. The most notable adverse effect is that stress causes the snake to stop eating.

For the first few weeks, this is not a big problem. After all, misty snakes go months without eating. But not eating at the wrong time of year will make your snake much weaker and damage its immune system.

Stress is also associated with inadequate care. Keeping them at the wrong temperature or humidity, or in the wrong size enclosure, can cause them unnecessary stress. These factors, combined with your stress, can lead to developmental delay and death.

How to de-stress snakes

If you think your snake is stressed, there are many ways you can help. But first, you have to identify what is stressing them. Find out if your enclosure is too small or if you are keeping it at the wrong temperature/humidity.

The hiding places are where your snake can go if it feels stressed or vulnerable, or if it just needs to rest. It is best for your snake if they have two hides in their enclosure.

There should be one on the sunning side, which is hot, and one that is cooler on the other side. These two types of layers will help your snake regulate its temperature effectively.

Aside from the hiding places your snake also needs protection. This is something they can hide under, not necessarily a hiding place. Think of things like branches, leaves, twigs, anything that makes your environment a little more natural.

A cover helps them feel more secure. The same applies if your snake is a natural burrow, such as a western hognose. You need to provide them with a suitable substrate in which they can dig and feel safe.

Get a new terrarium for your snake

Some snake enclosures are better for stressed snakes than others. A terrarium with glass on all sides, even the top, will leave your snake feeling exposed and vulnerable.

It is as if you are in a wolf’s lair with nothing to defend yourself with and no one else around. You would feel vulnerable and stressed.

Other terrariums are more suitable. Wood enclosures, for example, are typically wood on all but one side. Your snake will feel safe on all sides because it can keep a close eye on the front and feel safe at the rear.

If you cannot afford a new cabinet, consider using bottoms and liners to cover at least two sides of the cabinet. Or, at the very least, put its cage against the wall.

Give them something to climb

Your snake could be stressed because they are bored. This is often the case with snakes that are kept in standard enclosures, with nothing inside to climb on or interact with, and the substrate of newspapers. A snake in an environment like this will not be happy, and this may be causing stress directly or indirectly.

While you provide a cover for their terrarium, you must also offer them something to climb. Many snakes enjoy basking on branches in the wild, and other snakes also enjoy having something different to sit on.

It might not sound like it’s going to make a difference – if you were kept in an enclosure, for example, it wouldn’t make much of a difference if you had a branch to sit on, but it does.

How to handle a stressed snake

Handling a stressed corn snake or ball python can be quite difficult as they go to great lengths to get away from you. It is also very stressful for the owner to see that their snake is so unhappy. So how do you handle a stressed snake?

Follow these guidelines:

  • Handle your snake regularly. Make sure they spend a lot of time with you, aside from when you feed them. Otherwise, they will wait for food every time you handle them.
  • Do not handle them before they shed (blue phase), just before they are about to eat, or before they finish digesting their last meal. Handling during these times makes your snake feel more stressed. It could also lead to your snake regurgitating its food.
  • As for the process itself, start by getting used to your snake. If they are aggressive in the cage, start by opening their enclosure and standing there. Once they get used to it, over the next few days, get them used to your hand by letting them sniff and hit them with your tongue.
  • When handling a snake, never restrain it. Don’t mistreat them too much.

You also have to make sure that you are always calm and collected with your snake, never moving too fast or too forcefully. A calm owner means a more relaxed snake.

FAQ on Can snakes cry?

Do snakes have feelings?

Snakes do not have feelings as we humans do. Snakes have a primal instinct of survival. Thus, they can feel pain, fear or anger – emotions that will keep it alive. 

Can snakes be sad?

Snakes cannot be sad or melancholic. But they can be angry or more aggressive if they feel in danger. 

How does a snake cry?

Snakes do not cry like mammals due, since they have no tear duct. However, reptiles can reproduce tears. A snake’s tears flow into the glands on the roof of its mouth. 

Do snakes get bored?

Yes, snakes can get bored, which causes them a great deal of stress. Although they are solitary animals that will not feel lonely, they can easily get bored. 

What emotions can snakes feel?

Snakes can feel primitive emotions that are related to their survival: fear, hunger, pain and pleasure. 

Conclusions

In this blog post, we found out whether can snakes cry, how they cry and how to know if your snake is stressed out. We enumerated the signs and causes of stress in snakes and we also told you how to treat a stressed pet snake and what changes to make in order to ensure its wellbeing. 

Snakes do not cry like mammals due, since they have no tear duct. However, reptiles can reproduce tears. A snake’s tears flow into the glands on the roof of its mouth. They can also get bored and become stressed out, Most of the time, your snake may be suffering because of inadequate care and uncomfortable living conditions.

If you have any questions, comments or tips on how to handle a stressed snake, we’d love to hear them!

References

Sciencefocus.com – Birds and reptiles cry tears just like our own

Peteducate.com – Can Snakes Cry?

sciencedaily.com – No Faking It, Crocodile Tears Are Real

Vetmed.tamu.edu – Reptile Emotions

Hi, I am Martin, I am a pet lover! I own a Golden retriever and a Long-eared Owl. They keep me company & I often had questions about them which I couldn't find answers for online. I put this hub together for people like me & you.

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