A snake’s behavior around people is largely determined by the type and strain of snake that comes into contact with a human. There are over 2,000 different kinds of snake on earth that will all react differently when in direct contact with a larger species, like being approached by a human. Unfortunately Wildlife Advertising has lead many to believe that all snakes will attack when they come in contact with a human. The main distinction in how any snake will behave is down to whether or not it is of the venomous selection. While less than 20 percent of all snakes are considered to be venomous, it’s common to worry about or worried if approaching a snake because of the connections to the minority that are venomous.
A fundamental instinct
Snakes, like most creatures, have an integrated instinct that dominates how they behave, particularly about humans. But unlike other many different species of animal there is thought to be only a minimal thought process which contributes to a snake’s activities, instinct will more often not to take over and a snake will react how it’s instinctively designed to. In venomous forms like the cobra, this makes them more dangerous towards humans and their competitive approach to interaction will be displayed when they are disturbed.
For the non-venomous snakes such as boas, their behaviour around humans will greatly differ based on what kind of situation they are placed in. Many non-venomous snakes are not regarded as competitive in nature. However this is not consistent with all breeds and there are certain non-venomous snakes that will attack without provocation from humans. If the snake’s strain can be determined prior to any close interaction and it is identified as the non-aggressive kind, they can in some instances be safe to approach.
When in direct contact with a person, a snake’s temperament will reflect how it is treated, which directly relates back into its instinctive nature. For snakes that aren’t naturally aggressive and who are not venomous there is very little reason why they would attack. No considerable thought process dictates the snake’s activities so if it seems comfortable in its surroundings then it’s possible to not pose any hefty threat to nearby people.
Flight or flight
A snakes instinctive behavior is frequently to flee an area that a person passes; the dominant size of a human within that of a snake is reason behind its instinct to escape the immediate location. An individual will generally pose a larger threat over the snake than vice versa, thus the snake will truly feel the need to protect itself in a defensive way rather than an offensive manner and attacking directly.
This can vary depending upon the situation that the snake finds itself in. In such circumstances it is very likely that the snake will strike at the human it considers is a threat to it. While this is normally not to kill or damage the human, it’s a warning with enough force and speed to scare the individual and reveal that the snake is ready to defend itself.
Non-venomous snakes generally do not see humans as a source of food as there is no predatory instinct to attack them. This behaviour can change however is that the individual’s odor is tainted with the normal food of a snake such as a small mammal. If contact has recently been made with almost any small creature that the snake could instinctively hunt- including common household pets like cats- the odor that remains will in some situations lead them to attack the human.
A snake’s behaviour to people is as much determined by the behavior displayed around them as well as the instinctive nature that they have. If a snake is calmly approached with care and in the correct way it will behave differently to the way it otherwise could, not knowing if they are friend or foe.
Together with other milder, obviously competitive or venomous snakes like the Rattlesnake varieties they could attack any approaching human, even if they do not see the individual as a direct threat. Some species of snake have evolved to become much better capable of attacking without being detected while others can be easily scared and wary of any intrusion. The behaviour of a snake can generally be predicted if the strain is known, but it is always wise to be cautious.