In my experiences I have seen no evidence that would suggest that snakes are capable of any sort of cognative thought. These organisms have very limited behavioral options. Most of their changes in behavior are due to habituation (ex. in time a cobra will stop hooding when someone walks by it's cage) or conditioned response (ex. every time a keeper feeds his snakes he gets the food out of the same container. After a while the animal begins to associate this container with food (a reward) and it will wait at the door to the enclosure and appear to "beg"). These types of behavior are driven by instinct. Snakes also rely on various taxes and kineses for much of their behavioral patterns. Complex behavior such as O. hannahs nest building would be categorized as advanced fixed action patterns of behavior that are hardwired adaptations (instinct). Very few reptiles are capable of any sort of "intelligent" or "problem solving" behaviors. This is a major difference between reptile and mammal behavior. Mammals are capable of problem solving and behavioral modification. Reptiles are not. I can think of a few species of reptile that appear to show "affection" toward keepers (large tortoise species are the best example) but as Zoe stated anthropomorphism is something that we should try to stay clear of. Some species such as Oxyuranus (taipans) and Ophiophagus (king cobra) , as well as other elapids show a degree of what could be interpreted as keeper recognition.
In short, most of these little pea brains have little more intelligence than a guppy.
~ Tad Wood ~
Last edited by Crotalus75; 12-25-03 at 10:58 PM..