Can Snakes Bond with their owners

Discussion in 'General Reptile Discussion' started by LittleButterfly, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    2,506
    Likes Received:
    1,638
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    QLD
    I sure hope that I'm right there the moment my turtle eggs hatch this season... maybe if I'm the VERY first thing the hatchies see when they emerge from their eggs.... I'll imprint on their psyche and erase 260 million years of evolution in an instant and be forever bonded with them emotionally, spiritually and physically. They will know that their very existence only came about solely because of my efforts and that they are eternally indebted to me. They will devote their lives to repaying me.... my turtles will know I am the one...

    I've had a few Coronas... but sure, it's entirely possible/plausible.
     
    meako, Mick666 and Bl69aze like this.
  2. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2017
    Messages:
    1,815
    Likes Received:
    1,084
    Gender:
    Male
    YOU.... ARE..... GOD!!!!!!!!! (to the wee turtles)
     
    meako and Flaviemys purvisi like this.
  3. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    2,506
    Likes Received:
    1,638
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    QLD
    They shall both fear and respect me. :D
     
    meako likes this.
  4. dragonlover1

    dragonlover1 Subscriber Subscriber

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2009
    Messages:
    2,380
    Likes Received:
    1,353
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Sydney
    I have the greatest respect for your opinions George, You have way more experience than I. I have been keeping dragons for 20+ years but pythons for only 4. But I assume what most of these people are talking about is recognition, I think dependency relies on intelligence which is something most long term keepers would agree is lacking in reptiles. Most of my reptiles "recognize " me and react differently to other people
     
  5. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    Messages:
    7,772
    Likes Received:
    1,035
    Location:
    Victoria
    Snakes (and turtles, crocodiles, etc) can learn to associate certain things with feed. Crocodiles quickly learn if animals come to the water to drink at the same time of day. Most of these animals will make associations with virtually any stimulus (a smell or sound or the rippling in water or movement of grass or anything else which alerts them to the likely presence of something to eat). Their learning to recognise and attraction to these things isn't 'bonding' or 'love' or 'companionship'. When it happens in captivity it's still not companionship. You can teach them to associate feeding with a bell or particular song or a coloured target or whatever you like.

    It's the same thing with a tree or hiding spot they learn is safe. They don't emotionally bond with it as some sort of relationship, they just recognise it as being worthwhile. Same deal with a hide box or human handling them.

    Animals can carry out relatively complex behaviours and recognise some interesting connections (correct or not) between events or things and their desires such as perceived safety or feed. They can modify their behaviour to a large extent, but it doesn't mean they are loving anything or emotionally bonding. For example, if you put a pigeon in a box without any external stimuli, let it get hungry, then start adding feed at random intervals, it will associate the thing it did immediately before the first feeding with feeding. For example, if it just flapped its wings before the first time feed fell into the box, it will often flap its wings, even if the feed is introduced at entirely random intervals. If it just shook its head or stretched a leg etc, it will continuously do that for as long as it's in the box. This is without there even being any correlation between feed and the behaviour. If there actually is any correlation, obviously the effect is going to work even more strongly. We actually see humans providing us with themselves as surrogate experiments for us. Just as a pigeon believes it is influencing and interacting with the feed device, we can see that humans make imaginary connections and project feelings on to the animal, even to the extent as we see an example here where someone believed a snake was able to bond with their feet, or that they 'trained' a snake to carry out innate snake behaviour. Observing these humans is as interesting as many of the formal animal experiments which are published, but unfortunately it's generally not possible to publish the best human experiments because of ethical and logistical constraints. It is, however, pretty easy carry out your own experiments on humans (without causing them any harm or them realising it... or if you chose, without causing much harm and them still not realising.... or you can cause more harm and likely end up with varying degrees of harm to yourself). Incidentally, B F Skinner did the pigeon experiment among other very interesting psychological experiments and they're worth a read (searching 'skinner pigeon superstition' should bring this one up). One of the things I loved about studying animal behaviour and psychology at university was that it was so directly applicable to humans, and humans follow many of the same patterns with the same mathematical frequencies, for example, the rate of males and females cheating on their partners is very consistent across most 'monogamous' species - humans included! The proportion of each sex cheating not at all, sometimes and often follows an evolutionary strategy and humans also follow it. The same goes for many behavioural strategies. People think they have free will and make choices, but the vast majority of people behave neatly according to algorithms, and most draw causative assumptions regarding correlations in a similar way to a pigeon, again, with approximately equal accuracy (which is why evolution ended up giving humans and pigeons the same algorithmic strategy).

    As for snakes 'affectionately coiling around people and loving them to death'... some people should lose their jobs and be forbidden from ever again being in a position of any more responsibility or authority than that of a cleaner or maybe production line worker.
     
  6. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    2,506
    Likes Received:
    1,638
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    QLD
    Captive bred and raised turtles are exactly the same... They can approach the front of the aquarium begging for food from their keepers yet shy away to the back corners of an aquarium warily watching strangers. Even intelligent fish species like Oscars display the same behaviours.. My oscars go nuts with excitement when I walk in the room... If my wife approaches their tank they're all sorts of unsociable... even to the point of laying completely flat on their sides on the bottom of their tank like a flounder on the sea floor.
     
  7. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    Messages:
    7,772
    Likes Received:
    1,035
    Location:
    Victoria
    Reminds me of a Red-footed Tortoise I saw while visiting Ron Tremper in Texas. As soon as this tortoise saw me it rushed over to me and excitedly followed me around, ignoring everyone else. I'm not sure if it was something I was wearing or just that I was the tallest person or something else, but apparently it wasn't usually like that. No doubt many people would have thought there was some sort of bonding there, and even I couldn't help having that instinctive feeling, it was very easy to imagine this tortoise loved me and I couldn't help feeling almost guilty when I left and the turtle was trying to stay with me as it watched me leave, but realistically I obviously just triggered some reaction in it. I must admit, the experience has always made me want to get some Red-footed Tortoises and if I even find myself living abroad in a stable location for a long period of time I probably will. But I'm 100% aware that I can get the same reaction with a piece of roast chicken and a seagull or a Mars Bar from a fat chick or a wad of cash from a hooker and they don't indicate meaningful bonds either, even though two of them would probably even tell me one exists.
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 3, 2019, Original Post Date: Nov 3, 2019 ---
    See my tortoise example above, and I've also seen many other captive turtles which enthusiastically approach anyone, clearly expecting feed, but rarely see them have preferences for different people. In Asia there are countless lakes and ponds where wild turtles come up for feed (like ducks at the local pond). Usually they happily take it from anyone, but there was one time where a turtle enthusiastically ate everything I threw into the water but didn't eat a thing thrown in by the girl sitting next to me (even when we tried throwing in pieces torn off from the same piece of feed). It wasn't scared of her, just indifferent. I fed many turtles in many places with that girl and every other time there was no preference, just that one individual turtle.

    Many years ago I had Oscars and they didn't recognise the difference between different people. I'm sure you could teach it to them but it seems odd that they'd shy away from someone without a reason. If they genuinely literally lie flat on the floor like flounder in response to your wife and enthusiastically come up to your for feed, it is truly amazing and you should take a video, it would surely go viral.
     
  8. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    2,506
    Likes Received:
    1,638
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    QLD
    Yes, turtles in public lakes or ponds are exposed to a lot more people randomly feeding them than those in an aquarium in a household of 3-4. They definitely do recognise strangers and act accordingly.

    Oscars are well documented for behaving as mine do, they have a lot of personality for a fish and that alone is why for so long their popularity amongst aquarists has never waned... let's face it, oscars are never going to win a popularity contest by their looks alone... they're not an attractive or pretty or even sociable aquarium fish... try having a community fish tank with an Oscar.. but they attain a decent size and they're literally like owning an aquatic dog. Oscars claim their aquarium as their own territory and even the room they're in... if you move objects on my bar adjacent to my Oscars tank, they are not happy.. my wife moved a tissue box the other day about an inch and put a stapler next to it on my desk... the fish were not the slightest bit impressed with her rearranging of their decor. Mine don't shy away from my wife or others "without reason" the reason is recognition.. they recognise her as someone who doesn't spend any serious amount of time in my reptile and aquarium room... and they're wary of her presence... they don't associate her image/presence with feeding... just moving s*** around that they don't approve of. I am always amused by their antics.
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Nov 3, 2019, Original Post Date: Nov 3, 2019 ---
    Ps... it absolutely freaking SUCKS that we can't have tortoises in Australia...my wife is from South Africa, came to Australia in 2006 and grew up with Leopard tortoises in her yard that bred every year. I've seen some great home videos of their tortoises and the babies.
     
    dragonlover1 likes this.
  9. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    Messages:
    7,772
    Likes Received:
    1,035
    Location:
    Victoria
    As I said, I was referring to captive turtles. You're more into turtles than I am and I don't doubt some turtles do fear some people, but I've never seen it and I have seen a good number of captive turtles.

    As I said, I've kept Oscars. Actually, I did keep some in a community tank. Tankmates included Australian salmon-tailed and eel-tailed catfish, and at one point a pair of tiny little jewel cichlids, which seemed fine until they spawned and had every other fish (quite a number of large oscars and catfish and I think a couple of others) squished right up at the opposite end of the tank completely terrified, which was a pretty amazing thing to see.

    I think you're being cruel in terms of their appearance; I think oscars look great and I'm not the only one, but I guess beauty, eyes, beholders.

    I was a tad sceptical about your floundering oscars. After you said it was well documented and googling revealed nothing I'm a tad more sceptical. Happy to be proven wrong and would appreciate it :) If it's as you describe and no one has put it online (or anything online is sufficiently obscure that a deliberate search doesn't bring it up), a decent video would likely go viral. I spent many years breeding tropical fish, had many friends who also did, have seen many oscars, and am not familiar with this behaviour.
     
  10. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    2,506
    Likes Received:
    1,638
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    QLD
    I'll get a photo of mine doing it. They're albinos.

    Just now... Wifey approached the front of the tank while I stand behind it... Look at the reaction... Waaahahahahahahaa

    20191103_174919.jpg
    Now I stand beside her.... Still not impressed... "make her go away, she touches my stuff!"
    20191103_175001.jpg
    Sinking flat to the floor... LOL 20191103_175026.jpg

    OK she's gone now... I'm all brave again!
    20191103_175828.jpg
    20191103_175848.jpg

    My turtles.... All the same. Makes me feel all the more spesh. :D Recognition.. Fish and turtles have the ability.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
  11. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    Messages:
    7,772
    Likes Received:
    1,035
    Location:
    Victoria
    Doesn't look like flounder, but that's pretty funny and interesting. A video would be really cool to see. I wonder why they hate/fear her so much.
     
  12. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    Messages:
    2,506
    Likes Received:
    1,638
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    QLD
    Given another 2 minutes it woulda been flat on the floor... does it all the time. Just my dinner is ready haha I'll definitely get you a flat floundering Oscar pic.
     
  13. cement

    cement Subscriber Subscriber APS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Messages:
    3,941
    Likes Received:
    215
    Location:
    on the coast
    For what its worth my answer to the bonding thing is no.

    I might be able to help you with this , I have spent hours watching the behaviour of pythons both captive and wild, when a wild python moves from one place to another it can either a). move in a straight line, or b) move in a circular type pattern returning to the point of origin. In a couple of cases with the 'circular" type pattern the point of origin was a safe refuge (hide) but for whatever reason the python needed to move to a new place, so it would head off in a direction and then come back. head off again going further but coming back, and do it again but further away from poi and coming back until it found another suitable hide. then it did it again now using the new hide as a point of origin. In this way it was travelling from one place to another but "safely".
    as stated previously it freaks them out being in the open for extended periods, even for wild snakes, even for large oversized wild snakes that are at the top of the food chain, dislike being in the open for too long.
    Sometimes wild snakes have to cross roads, in my opinion this is a very traumatic experience for a snake, especially a slow moving one like a python if done during the day. I have seen many cross roads but as soon as they feel safe be it up a tree or even just under some sort of cover, they will stop and rest, presumably to get over the built up lactic acid from the exertion of travelling a distance and get over the trauma/risk of being so exposed.
    sorry , but your snake isn't toilet trained. just don't take it outside, it'll crap in the enclosure not a problem. I would often take a python out for a run on the grass when I knew it was time to have a crap, the stretch out and exercise stimulates the bowel movement and I don't have to clean a cage.
     
    CF Constrictor likes this.
  14. CF Constrictor

    CF Constrictor Not so new Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2019
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    20
    Gender:
    Male
    Hi Cement
    Yeah , that makes sence to me . As for the toilet training ,it wasn't hard , i just put him on the lawn one day and he did the rest :) . I actualy always suspected it might have some thing to do with the smell of the earth that seems to make him want to poo only on the lawn. What surprises me is my other 2 seem to prefer doing it in there enclosure.
     
  15. lyzzi

    lyzzi New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2017
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    6
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Sydney
    personally, I explain it to people when they ask as "I'm their favourite tree" because I'm not even 100% sure a snake knows that we are human or another animal to bond with. They know me, they know what I smell like and look like, they will come to me when being held by someone else and they are done with it. They know I'm not food, my snake Girlfriend can smell food been thawed out across the house, but I can put my hand up to his face and he knows its not food.
     
    Sdaji likes this.
  16. MrSquigglesPencil

    MrSquigglesPencil New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Female
    @GBWhite thankyou for your explanation on this subject, you have explained this perfect. My son & I have had this discussion many times about our python. As much as we would like to believe that our snake loves us as much as we love her, it’s just not the case. I definitely will be showing this explanation to my son, even though I’m sure he will still like to believe that our snake loves him!!
     
  17. meako

    meako Not so new Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    32
    Im not sure that the "quote" from the coroners report back there is entirely correct in context..my understanding is the coroner is quoting someone elses opinion..a witness or other involved person.
    A coroners report as with most legal type reports is basically a very bland emotionless list of facts and findings from sources associated with the event....probably sound different if the entire report was quoted...but that would likely bore everyone to death quicker than being strangled by an affectionate python...

    That said my Bredli has formed a love hate relationship . He hates everybody and loves to foul his mansion just as soon as he gets back from outdoor time in the garden...usually early evening...or from his climbing basking facility (branches cable tied to hills hoist)....he also seems to take pleasure by slithering about and smearing it everywhere....
    People ask me is he a pet.
    No. He tolerates me housing and feeding him .The most i can hope for is that he has a better life now than he did in the illegal collection he came from.

    Ever watched Grizzlyman?
    Or those idiots that "bond" with whitepointers...food chain.
     

Share This Page