Snakes Feel Pain


Snakes are subjected to many forms of animal cruelty. They are captured and killed for food, for their skins, during rattlesnake roundups, and to be used in various other products. Despite this, snakes get little to no attention in regard to these forms of animal abuse.


One reason for this, is the misconception that snakes cannot feel pain. Snakes and other reptiles are not cold-blooded as many people believe (if their blood was cold all the time they would die). Cold-blooded is an outdated term. Reptiles are more accurately described as ectothermic, meaning their body temperature is about the same as that of their surroundings - often slightly higher. Reptiles must rely on sources like the sun to warm up.

Unfortunately, many people still believe ectotherms are indeed cold-blooded and are therefore unable to feel pain. However, research indicates that reptiles can experience pain. According to Douglas R. Mader, MS, DVM, DABVP-CA (2010) there have been studies looking at receptor sites. Reptiles have the same neurologic and receptor sites as do mammals.

Furthermore, in a survey done by Matt Read, members of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians were asked if they felt that reptiles felt pain. Nearly 100% responded yes.

The ability for snakes to feel pain is a prime reason why these animals deserve protection from animal cruelty.

To learn more about the threats that snakes face click here.