Apr 02 2015

Top 5 Myths About Snakes: Debunked

#5. Pythons sometimes measure their prey before consumption.

In a few tales that have spread around the internet, snake owners have reported strange behavior from their pets.  Often in these stories, the snake would refuse meals repeatedly and the owner would wake to find the snake in the bed with them, with its length stretched out beside them on various occasions.  After taking the snake to the vet to get an opinion on the matter, the vet says that the snake was measuring the owner and planning to eat them.snake creepy

Though tales like these have spread around and seem to make sense, the truth is that a python does not measure its prey.  Since snakes are ambush predators, they do not have time to do this; if they did, they would likely starve.  Pythons are known to grab, squeeze and eat.  Many of their meals are not well thought-out, and if are actually too large, will often be regurgitated.  A python does not measure its meal, or wait on it if it is ready to eat.

#4. A constrictor snake has consumed a full-grown adult human

While countless stories, and even photographs, have swam across the web making this claim, there has yet to be an entirely affirmative account of it.

snake face

In few cases, babies or small children have been swallowed by snakes, but never has a full-grown adult been consumed.  An adult human is very difficult for a snake to swallow because of its less-than-ideal size and shape.  The shoulders on the human body are very hard for a snake to swallow.

While there have been many stories stating this, there has yet to be a single account that has credibility.

#3. It is dangerous to eat a venomous snake

When figuring out whether to eat a reptile, it is important to note whether it is venomous or poisonous.  If a creature is venomous, it injects its toxins into its victims, and if a creature is poisonous that means that the toxins are excreted through its skin or other outlets.

To answer the question, there are actually no poisonous snakes on the planet.  All snakes are venomous, meaning that in order to harm a person, a snake must puncture a person’s skin with its fangs to inject them with its toxins.  If this process, which immediately combines the venom in a person’s bloodstream, does not occur, then the toxins within the snake are of no harm.


Though in theory it is safe to eat even the most venomous snake in the world, it is still not exactly recommended.  Since if the venom is injected, it will be harmful, if it is able to enter the body through an opening in the skin, it mayl still be harmful.  If a person has a cut or abrasion in their mouth, and eats a venomous snake, they may still feel some of the effects from the venom.

Overall, it is considered safe to eat a venomous creature, but it is still risky.

#2. The function of a rattlesnake’s rattle

Some believe that it is used to lure in prey, while some believe that it is a mating call.  The most agreed upon reason that rattlesnakes have a rattle, supported by scientists and researchers, is that it is used when they feel threatened, or to warn potential predators that they are getting too close to it.

Another common myth about the rattle of these snakes is that it can serve as a determinant of the age of snake.  Though the rattle gains a new addition every time the snake sheds its skin, this cannot be reliable because the rattles are adding at various times and often break off. The rattle is made of keratin, which is the same as what human fingernails are made of, making it obvious how easily the rattles can break and tear.

snake rattle

A rattlesnake will not seek out large prey, such as humans, so if a rattlesnake senses one within a close perimeter, it will likely rattle its tail to warn.

Fun fact: To create the rattling noise, a rattlesnake will move its rattle at an incredible speed of sixty times per second!

#1. Snakes are aggressive towards humans 

Many people have ophidiophobia (the fear of snakes) because they simply do not understand them.  Many people have the misconception that snakes are always hungry, fierce and looking to attack.

snake striking

This is usually not the case though.  Most snakes actually just want to be left alone by humans.  Snakes are generally only aggressive if they are hungry, feel threatened, or sometimes if they are disoriented.

More times than not, if a snake comes into contact with a human, it will choose to slither away quickly, rather than strike.  Some snakes even have warning tactics, such as a rattlesnake’s rattle, to warn of their proximity.

While it is true that snakes have a history of attacking humans, there is usually a cause for it.  Stepping on a snake, demonstrating intent to harm it, or invading proximity are the most common reasons a snake will attack a person.  In other cases, constrictor snakes have attempted to eat humans if they are starved and see no other options.