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Old 09-13-04, 11:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Can snakes sense fear?

I was having a discussion with Jessy over this topic tonight, and I wanted to see others opinions on it.

Can a snake sense the fear of it's handler? If it can, how will it react?

from my limited experience with snakes, i've come to the conclusion that although each seperate animal has it's own distinct "personality", they act primarily upon instinct. I.E. if it's warm and smells like food, then it is food.

I am curious as to what other people's thoughts and opinions are on this matter, and if there is any proof to back up either argument.


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Old 09-14-04, 12:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I would say no.

I think why it might SEEM like they can at times, is because IF you are scared to pick one up, that give the snake enough time to become "weary" of you. Then it seems more defensive and you become more scared.

My calm snakes are calm with everyone and my crazy snakes are crazy with everyone.

I DO think that some people are better with animals though.
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Old 09-14-04, 01:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I dunno... I think animals are more gifted at the 6th sense than people..... hard to say with a snake though... maybe...
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Old 09-14-04, 07:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I say no. But, if someone who is scared is holding them, they probably aren't providing as stable a platform as someone who is comfortable- shaking hands, etc. Therefore, some snakes may move around more in the hands of a scared person, simply because they are trying to find a more stable resting place. Watch an experienced handler (or even a calm 4 year old) take them and they slow right down again.

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Old 09-14-04, 07:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The probably have a bit of instinct for it, but not a "6th sense" as such. I think they probably instinctively hold their ground against a potential threat that is hesitant (afraid) because it works better than running for it. The old fight or flight thing.

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Old 09-14-04, 07:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
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We are asked a lot if our giant python can sense fear. I dont think she does, and if she does sense fear, I do not think it would enter her small mind that the person is afraid of HER. Like our horses, they sense the human is afraid, but it never occurs to the horse that the person is afraid of HIM.

Sarge on the other hand...
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Old 09-14-04, 05:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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my guess would be that they can sense it, but dont necessarily know what it is. our bodies release different chemicals when we are afraid, and they should be able to smell that. dogs know we are afraid partially because of their own sense of smell. however, i dont think a snake has the mental capacity to draw any conclusions from this change in our body chemistry.
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Old 09-16-04, 01:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't know if snakes can sense Fear, but they can tell if you are physically calm or not-

A hyper person moving a lot while holding a snake, will make the snake uncomfortable.

A nervous shaking person, will have the same result.

A person who is scared stiff, but not sweating, will calm the snake.

A calm experienced snake handler, will also calm the snake.

I don't know if these are facts, I haven't even had enough personal experience for them to be live-opinions. But they're a thought...

Oh, and snakes CAN tell if you're sweating. A sweating shaking handler generally freaks out any snake. Ick, sweaty wet hands, can't blame the snake for freaking out...
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Old 09-16-04, 03:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I would say that if you are afraid, your heart will beat faster, hence making your body heat rise.. so YES, they can sense that... But they are sensing heat, not 'fear'
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