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Snake Tattoos And Meanings

Updated on May 8, 2013
thelyricwriter profile image

Richard Hale is a tattoo enthusiast who studies and researches tattoo symbolism, meanings, and history.


One tattoo design that you may find interest in is the snake tattoo. The snake tattoo is not a mainstream tattoo, but there is a popularity to the tattoo. Snake tattoos are typically worn by men, but some women do choose such a tattoo. Just like all animal tattoos, the snake tattoo symbolizes traits and attributes of the snake. Snake tattoo designs can be designed in various ways and also portrayed with other symbols.

In this article, we will review snake tattoos and snake tattoo designs. We will also discuss snake tattoo meanings and you will have the opportunity to view several snake tattoo designs. In the end, we hope that you are able to find ideas and inspiration for your next tattoo venture.


Snake tattoos have a vast array of symbolic meanings that are both positve and negative in nature. Snakes hold symbolic value in a number of ancient cultures. Snakes have been mentioned in ancient stories, legends, mythology, and in religious text. Throughout history, the snake has been portrayed to be a symbol of evil and other negative associations, but it also has been viewed in a positive manner as well.

Snakes are some of the most misunderstood animals in the world. Snakes are often associated with danger and evil. Although some snakes are dangerous, the majority of them are harmless to humans. Snakes usually shy away from human contact. When humans are struck by a snake, it is usually because they have them as pets, handle them regularly, or they are hunting them. Snakes usually live in darkness and come out to hunt before dusk. A majority of snake bites occur right before dark.

The snake has been portrayed in several different ways over the years. One of the most famous and well known stories of snakes comes from the Bible. When God created Adam and Eve, he placed them in the Garden of Eden. God told them that they could have anything from the garden except the forbidden fruit. A snake, referred to as the "serpent", comes along and tempts Eve with the fruit. Eve eventually eats the fruit and sins are created. Because of this, the snake can represent temptation, sin, and evil.

As you read earlier, many snakes are not dangerous to humans. However, there are a variety of different snakes that can cause death in one lethal strike. Some snakes, such as a cobra or rattlesnake, can cause a human death within minutes. From Africa to America, these dangerous snakes can be found. Due to these facts, the snake has been a longtime symbol of "poison".

The snake is also associated to positive meanings as well. In ancient mythology, the snake has been a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, and fertility. Like most animal tattoos, the snake has symbolic meanings that are based on its personal traits and charcteristics. One example of this is knowledge and patience. A snake is intelligent and knows that patience will pay off when the snake hunts.

Snakes were considered to be sacred animals to a number of different ancient cultures. Snakes were sacred to a number of ancient cultures, including the Native Americans and Africans. Native American Indians linked the rattlesnake to rain and lighting. It was believed that snakes played a role in creating the planets. The snake has both masculine and feminine qualities. As a tattoo, it can be worn between men and women both.



The snake is also a symbol of the Chinese Zodiac. The Chinese Zodiac has 12 signs that change in cycles of twelve. If you were born in 1905, 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, and 2013, your sign will be the snake according to the Chinese Zodiac. The snake has a secretive lifestyle. The Chinese does not associate the snake with danger and evil. They associate the snake as graceful, wise, and organized. This is just another example of how snakes are portrayed differently across the world.

As you have learned, the snake has been symbolic to a variety of ancient cultures and civilizations. Although the story of the Garden of Eden is the most well known story that portrays the snake, there is also a snake symbol that has been shared by multiple cultures that is widely known. In ancient art and relics, the snake has been portrayed eating its own tail. It is believed that this symbol of the snake originated in Egypt before spreading to Western civilization. This was a symbol of the "circle of life" and the "cycle of the universe". It symbolizes the changing seasons of life and the cyclical nature of the universe.

One popular trait of the snake that is widely known is how the snakes are able to shed their skin. Snakes have the ability to shed their skin up to a few times a year. This feature has been symbolic for many years and it can reflect back to meaning of the snake tattoo. This act represents rebirth, transformation, and change. As a tattoo, it can represent a brand new start in life.



When it comes to the meanings behind the snake tattoo, there are many. Snake tattoo meanings can be both positive in nature and negative. Since the snake was often symbolized by many different cultures, there is a vast array of different meanings. Below, you can find the meanings of the snake tattoo.

  • Evil
  • Devil
  • Hell
  • Protection
  • Medicine
  • Change
  • Cycles Of Life
  • Knowledge
  • Wisdom
  • Darkness
  • Power
  • Authority
  • Intelligence
  • Temptation
  • Death
  • Rebirth
  • Awareness
  • Patience
  • Balance
  • Healing
  • Graceful
  • Organized

Any of these meanings can be associated to snake tattoos. However, in the end, your snake tattoo represents what you want it too. Snake tattoos can be used to symbolize protection or represent rebirth. You may get a snake tattoo to symbolize the Chinese Zodiac. Many people choose to associate Chinese writing into the tattoo design. When it comes to the snake tattoos, there are plenty of options to consider.

It is always best to do your own research when it comes to choosing a tattoo symbol. Each tattoo symbol has their own meanings. It is very important to understand what your tattoo represents. Take your time and view a variety of different tattoo symbols, designs, and meanings. Once you find what you like, take the time to research it. If you feel that the snake tattoo is not for you, feel free to view more tattoo symbols, designs, and ideas in the links below. Thanks for visiting.



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    • profile image

      derae 2 years ago

      I was bitten by a copperhead on the side of my right foot , but the crazy thing is that 2 years to the day i bit , my youngest son got bit on his right foot also , but his was on his big toe and mine was on the side of my right foot . ok this will be my first tat and i would like to know if anyone has any ideas on what kind we should get, yes my son said " u get one momma and will tooo ... Any suggestions on what we should get ... Derae from Alabama

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Vipersgirl, thanks for the comment. Ohhhh! Would love to see this! We all do! Nothing like having a great tattoo on show 24/7. If you ever get the time, I would love to see it. I've never seen one that portrays real-life size!

    • profile image

      Vipersgirl 4 years ago

      I have a full-grown life-size black water moccasin with his head resting on the underside of my left wrist, just above the palm of my hand. His body coils up around my arm and over my shoulder. On my right arm I have a similar size constrictor, which has her head resting on top of my arm with her nose resting on the top of my wrist, just barely crossing over onto my hand. Her body also coils up around my arm and over my shoulder. Haven't quite figured out yet where they'll go from there... But, I'm certain it will come to me... Must admit that I do enjoy the attention they get when "we're out and about"... :) And yes, they do hold a very special meaning to me...

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 5 years ago from West Virginia

      Klingonkorra, thanks for dropping by. Glad you enjoyed it. The snake is misunderstood in many aspects. I must admit, I am not fawn of them either:)

    • Klingonkorra profile image

      Klingonkorra 5 years ago

      I have a cobra tattoo protecting my heart and I did it for protection. I love snakes an I think it sucks how misunderstood they are, but I´m also! :) thank you for this!

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Once again, thank you all for your support. I promise to get back to you all in due time.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

      They are misunderstood lyric, big time. Good history here and some awesome snake tats my friend.

    • lhchan profile image

      lhchan 6 years ago

      Thanks for great info, let me know more about meaning of snake tattoos, like the pictures very much.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      Hi Lyric, you never cease to Amaze...These Snake Tattoos are Unbelievable! Such works of Art, and so Life Like...Wow. My younger son, when he lived at home, Love to collect snakes and we allowed it...and he taught me not to be afraid until the day he lost one in the HOUSE...No problem...we were Moving! Anyway... another Vote UP is coming your way!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I can't say that i like snakes, but the artistry is beautiful...Cheers

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks for this great information, loved the pictures has well.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Another fascinating hub and about one of the most fascinating animals on the planet!

      I often wonder if our negative view on snakes comes from being kind of brain-washed a bit when we read the 'Garden of Eden' story? I know we have instincts that protect us from snakes - or should do - but our fear and with some people hate goes a bit deeper perhaps. The difference across the planet is amazing in relation to these animals. I think it's some of the Buddhist temples where cobras in particular are allowed free reign as they are deemed sacred - now this is still in a country where snake bites are high and can be lethal, but still their opinion of these reptiles is positive. What a total different outlook to that in the West!

      This was a wonderful hub, beautiful and awesome and the art work stunning! Voted up!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      Great hub and I truly enjoyed and deciding

      Have a great day.


    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

      Kudos, Ricky! You are the only person I know of who could help me see snakes as art rather than awful and dangerous. I never knew that they were considered sacred in some cultures, but that is thought-provoking to find out. Voted up and shared.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I don't know where you find such colorful tattoos. Most of the snake tattoos I've seen have been one color only and not a spectacular as these. The second green one is my favorite. Voting this Up and Beautiful.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and awesome! Love those slllithering, snnnakes...

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 6 years ago from Space Coast

      Oh! I wish I had a picture of this local boy. He has a rattlesnake, coral snake, and a water moccasin. Don't get me wrong. I am not advocating tattoos. Good art is good art to me, but I am not the final authority.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 6 years ago from Shelton

      Thelyricwriter you own this type of hubs.. saw a few on here but it pales compare to your up and awesome bro...:)