How Intelligent Are Snakes? [Answered]

How Intelligent Are Snakes

All animals in the world, including people, have an intelligence of some sort. Some have higher intelligence and are way smarter than others. It is true because these animals know how to survive on their own, and they know how to search for food, shelter, and hide when there is danger. It turns out that cold-blooded animals like snakes, lizards, and turtles are not dumb as they were believed to be. But how intelligent are they? As I said, some animals are smarter than others, so we will look at how intelligent snakes are.

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How Intelligent Are Snakes? 

After doing some research, I found out that snakes have tiny brains and almost zero nerve density, which makes them pretty much ‘dumb.’ It turns out that snakes rely on their instincts for survival in the wild. They wait for the environment to act; then, they react accordingly.

I am not sure how true this is, but after more research, I think snakes are intelligent in their ways. They have their ways of getting what they want. They use their intelligence to know which preys are a threat to them and the ones they can attack and devour. If a predator is enormous, the snake will try to make their presence noticed, and if it does not work, they run, and if that does not work as well, they bite. Snakes may not seem intelligent, but they know how to hunt and track their prey. They also know how to lure prey into a trap. They can do this by wiggling their tail, which is supposed to look like an insect to their prey. Snakes can also learn the scent of things, the skill of swimming, and climbing trees. Some snakes also have their territories, and they ensure to protect these territories. I think some intelligence is required to do all these things.

What Is The Most Intelligent Snake?

What Is The Most Intelligent Snake

Now that snakes are intelligent in their ways, let us find out which snake is the smartest. All snakes are smart, but according to most herpetologists, the King Cobra shows the most intelligence. It is probably due to their methods and their nesting. The King Cobra is highly dangerous, and it is the biggest venomous snake reaching up to a length of 18 feet.

Due to this reason, king cobra will feed on other snakes in the wild. This snake exhibits some behaviors that are not seen on other snakes, which differentiates it from the rest. The male king cobra is the only snake that will recognize their boundary. They will protect these territories with their lives. I think it takes some intelligence to know where you need to protect. 

Another behavior that builds on their smartness is that they can learn and recognize their owners from other people. The snake is shy and will try to avoid people as much as possible.

Don’t get fooled by this. The snake is dangerous. Something else is that the female King Cobras are the only snakes that will build nests to lay their eggs. You are left wondering how they do that, but that is a question for another day. All I can say is they will gather twigs and scrap leaves together with their coils. They do this in a way that they will camouflage as they lay on top of the eggs waiting for them to hatch.  It is incredible when you think about it. They are not the smartest snakes for nothing.

Can Snakes Recognize Their Owners?

I have seen many people who say that their snakes can recognize them, but can they know their owners? Well, yes, but to some extent. A snake is somehow like a turtle. They only care about survival. Snakes will recognize their owners but not in the same way a cat or a dog would.

Snakes have a very developed sense of smell and taste. These senses are what helps them to tell you from other people. They use their tongues to smell and taste the air particles given off by an organism. Because of this, they can tell you are coming even before you enter into a room. They can know all the places you have been to and the cars you have bordered and the amount of time you spent in all these places. Such information would be beneficial to humans but not to them. All that information is useless, and they don’t need it, so they discard the information.

Moreover, their brains are small to process all the information. When it comes to your touch, I think that the more you pet your snake, you condition the snake to tolerate your contact. The snake may feel at ease when you touch it and hence be calm and ignore the striking or fleeing instincts. When someone else touches the snake, he will notice the different touches and movements and become defensive. They will recognize the owners but not as a friend. However, they will respect you when they know you are their food dispenser.

Are Snakes Smarter Than Humans?

Some researches conducted show that a snake may be so much alike to humans when it comes to learning and cognition. Earlier studies made snakes look dumb, but this is changing as more research is conducted on snakes. Currently, snakes are said to have a very high learning capacity. I think that just like man thought he was more intelligent than the dolphins, it may turn out that snakes are also smart. They can learn new things, according to David Holtzman.

Do Snakes Have A Good Memory?

Snakes do have a memory. It just functions differently. A snake will learn what prey is food and what animal is a threat to them. They can tell the difference between things, but they don’t respond to what they learn emotionally. They lack the part of the brain that conceives emotions. They cannot remember any good experiences or bad. What they remember are things like this is food, and this is harmful. I think it is just instincts, which is what they rely on to survive in the wild. I also think their memory is short-term. They forget things after some time but only the things that are not important. 

David Holtzman, a neuroscientist at the University of Rochester, studied snakes and came up with a theory that just like lizards and birds, a snake’s brain is also growing. Neurons keep on growing, including the hippocampus, which is involved in spatial learning and memory. It means that as time goes, the snake’s mind can increase, which also tells us that probably, earlier researches were not wrong; it’s just that the snake’s brains have grown. All in all, snakes do have memory, and they are not as dumb as they were thought to be.

Well, to conclude, we should keep in mind that snakes are smart in their ways. They use their intelligence to survive. This intelligence can be seen more as instinctual, but they can learn things through their smell and taste. Maybe as time progresses, their tiny brains will grow as well, and the much information they get from their sense of smell and taste may become useful to them.

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