[QUOTE]Originally posted by OttawaChris
We would love to think our reptiles love us... but there is no real way to prove or disprove it.
Well, I won't speak for anyone else's posts, but I never personally said anything about my snakes loving me. I said that any animal, when raised from birth, can become accustomed to, to the point of "liking" certain stimuli.
I don't think they are capable of love. I do think a snake knows when it is content though.
Does a reptile NEED to be handled... no way. Does a reptile LIKE to be handled? Hard to say... I haven't learned how to talk to the animals yet
This is probably the most intelligent thing anyone has said so far. The bottom line is, even those of you who are saying that snakes only TOLERATE handling are pi$$ing in the wind just as much as the people who are saying their snakes "love" them. None of us have any imperical scientific data to support or deny any claim. This much can be said scientifically though - if you handle them more, most species will become less likely to bite. So, like Chris said, it's a personal choice. When I see some hard data from behavioral studies under scientific conditions, I will say definitively whether I believe snakes can feel affection.
However, I am reminded of an hour long Discovery Channel special where a guy proved that even Tiger Sharks
can show an actual liking towards human stumuli. And it was done in the wild, so don't try to say the sharks were trained. They weren't. Did the sharks "love" this scientist? I seriously doubt it. Did they enjoy the stimuli he was provding? Absolutely. I'd say the same could probably be said for snakes.