Do Snakes Chase People

In the wild, snakes are fascinating creatures that often slither and move quietly through the grass or trees. But have you ever wondered if snakes would chase after people? Well, the truth is, that snakes don’t usually chase people. They prefer to mind their own business and go about their snakey ways. While they may appear scary to some, it’s important to remember that snakes are just trying to survive in their habitats. So, next time you come across a snake, remember to give it space and let it go on its merry way.


Snakes can be fascinating creatures, but their behavior is often misunderstood. It’s important to learn about snake behavior to better understand them and respond appropriately when encountering one. In this article, we will explore common myths about snakes, facts about their movement, and why they may appear to chase people. We will also discuss appropriate actions to take during snake encounters, preventive measures to minimize encounters, and the importance of snake conservation efforts.

Understanding Snake Behavior

Snakes have unique behaviors that help them survive in their environments. They are typically shy creatures and prefer to avoid humans. However, certain circumstances may make them behave in ways that can be misinterpreted as chasing. It’s important to remember that snakes do not chase humans out of malice or a desire to attack. They are simply responding to their instincts and natural behaviors.

Common Myths about Snakes

There are several myths surrounding snake behavior that often lead to misunderstandings. It is crucial to debunk these myths to have a better understanding of snake behavior. Here are some common myths:

  1. Snakes chasing for revenge: Contrary to popular belief, snakes do not chase humans out of revenge. They do not have the mental capacity for revenge or the ability to hold grudges.
  2. Snakes attacking unprovoked: Snakes only attack in self-defense when they feel threatened. They would prefer to retreat and avoid conflict with humans.
  3. Snakes intentionally targeting humans: Snakes do not intentionally target humans as their prey. They primarily feed on small mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

By debunking these myths, we can approach snake encounters with a clearer understanding of their behavior.

Facts about the Snake Movement

Understanding how snakes move can help clarify why they may appear to chase people. There are four main types of snake movement: lateral undulation, rectilinear movement, sidewinding, and constriction.

  1. Lateral undulation: This is the most common mode of snake movement. The snake pushes against objects in its environment to gain traction and propel itself forward.
  2. Rectilinear movement: Snakes use rectilinear movement when maneuvering in tight spaces or moving slowly. They contract and expand their body muscles in a straight line to move forward.
  3. Sidewinding: Sidewinding is a specialized movement used by snakes to move on slippery or loose surfaces. They create stabilizing loops with their body while propelling themselves forward.
  4. Constriction: Some snakes, such as pythons, use constriction to subdue their prey. They wrap their bodies around their prey and squeeze until the prey suffocates.

By understanding these different methods of movement, we can better appreciate the complexity and adaptability of snake behavior.

Do Snakes Chase People

Why Snakes May Appear to Chase People

Despite their natural behavior, there are several reasons why snakes may appear to chase people. It’s important to note that these instances are often based on a misinterpretation of the snake’s intentions. Here are some reasons for perceived chasing:

  1. Snake hunting behavior: Snakes are opportunistic hunters and may be attracted to sudden movements or vibrations caused by the person walking or running. This can create the illusion that the snake is chasing the person.
  2. Defensive behavior: If a snake feels threatened or cornered, it may adopt defensive behaviors such as lunging or hissing. This can be misinterpreted as chasing when the snake is trying to create distance or warn the person to stay away.

Understanding these behaviors can help us respond appropriately and avoid escalating the situation further.

Misunderstood Snake Movements

Snake movements can be puzzling to observe, especially if we are unfamiliar with their unique abilities. Let’s explore some of the misunderstood snake movements:

  1. Lateral undulation: As mentioned earlier, lateral undulation is the most common mode of snake movement. It involves the snake pushing against objects in its environment to propel itself forward. This undulating motion can sometimes give the impression that the snake is chasing or pursuing something.
  2. Rectilinear movement: When snakes move in a straight line, it can be misinterpreted as a purposeful pursuit. However, most of the time, they are just navigating their surroundings without any intent to chase or attack.
  3. Sidewinding: Sidewinding is a fascinating and unique movement used by some snake species. This movement involves the snake creating stabilizing loops with its body while advancing. It can appear as if the snake is chasing, but it is simply an adaptation to move efficiently on challenging surfaces.
  4. Constriction: Constriction is a method used by certain snakes to immobilize their prey. While it may seem like the snake is pursuing its prey aggressively, it is a specialized hunting technique rather than an act of chasing humans.

By understanding these movements, we can recognize that snakes are not intentionally targeting us and are merely behaving according to their instincts.

Do Snakes Chase People

Snake Encounters: Appropriate Actions to Take

If you encounter a snake, it is essential to know how to respond safely. Here are some appropriate actions to take:

  1. Maintaining a safe distance: Keep a safe distance from the snake to avoid startling or provoking it. Remember, snakes will usually prefer to escape rather than engage with humans.
  2. Remaining calm: Stay calm and avoid panicking. Sudden movements or loud noises may startle the snake and potentially provoke defensive actions.
  3. Slowly backing away: If you encounter a snake, slowly and calmly back away from it. Create space between yourself and the snake to reduce the chance of any defensive behaviors.
  4. Avoiding sudden movements: Try to control your movements and avoid sudden actions. Abrupt movements can be interpreted as threats by snakes and may result in defensive behaviors.
  5. Contacting local authorities for professional assistance: If you are unsure about the snake species or feel unsafe, it is best to contact local authorities or snake experts for professional assistance and guidance.

Remember, snakes prefer to avoid humans, so maintaining a safe distance and responding calmly will help ensure a peaceful resolution.

Factors Influencing Snake Behavior

Various factors influence snake behavior, including the species of snake, habitat and environmental conditions, and the individual snake’s personality. Let’s explore each factor:

  1. Species of snake: Different snake species exhibit varying behaviors and instincts. Some may be more inclined to flee when encountering humans, while others may be more defensive.
  2. Habitat and environmental factors: Snakes are adapted to different environments, and their behaviors are influenced by their surroundings. Factors such as temperature, humidity, and availability of prey can all influence snake behavior.
  3. Personality of individual snakes: Just like humans, each snake may have its own personality. Some snakes may be more tolerant of human presence, while others may be more skittish and likely to flee or display defensive behaviors.

Understanding these factors can help us comprehend why snakes behave differently in different situations.

Snake Species Known to Chase

While most snakes prefer to avoid humans, there are a few snake species that are known to exhibit chasing behavior in certain situations. It’s important to be aware of these species if you live in areas where they are found. Here are some examples:

  1. Boomslang: The boomslang is a venomous snake found in Africa. It can climb trees and may display chasing behavior if threatened or cornered.
  2. Black Mamba: The black mamba, also found in Africa, is one of the fastest and most venomous snakes. It may exhibit aggressive behavior, including chasing, when it feels threatened.
  3. Forest Cobra: The forest cobra is a large and venomous snake native to African rainforests. It may display defensive behaviors, including chasing, when it perceives a threat.
  4. Tiger Snake: Tiger snakes are venomous snakes found in Australia. While they mainly avoid humans, they may display chasing behavior if provoked or cornered.
  5. Inland Taipan: The inland taipan, also known as the “fierce snake,” is one of the most venomous snakes on the planet. It typically avoids human interactions but may exhibit chasing behavior if it feels threatened.

Remember, these snake species will typically only display chasing behavior if they feel threatened or provoked. It’s essential to respect their space and avoid any actions that could lead to defensive behaviors.

Preventive Measures to Minimize Snake Encounters

To minimize the chances of encountering snakes, several preventive measures can be taken. These measures include:

  1. Clearing outdoor areas: Keep outdoor areas free from clutter, tall grass, and thick vegetation. Snakes are less likely to navigate areas that do not provide suitable hiding spots.
  2. Sealing entry points: Ensure that gaps or cracks in buildings and fences are properly sealed. This helps prevent snakes from entering your property.
  3. Maintaining a tidy environment: Regularly clean and maintain your property to discourage snakes from taking up residence. Remove any potential food sources like rodents.
  4. Avoiding attracting prey: Snakes are attracted to areas where they can find prey. Taking steps to control rodents and other small animals can help minimize snake encounters.
  5. Installing snake repellents: In some cases, installing snake repellents around your property can act as a deterrent. However, it is essential to choose repellents that are safe for both humans and snakes.

By implementing these preventive measures, you can create an environment that is less attractive to snakes, reducing the chances of encountering them.

Snake Conservation Efforts

Snakes play an important role in ecosystems, and their conservation is crucial. Here are some reasons why it is important to conserve snake populations:

  1. Maintaining ecological balance: Snakes help control populations of rodents and other small animals, which can prevent ecological imbalances caused by overpopulation.
  2. Promoting biodiversity: Snakes are a vital part of biodiversity, contributing to the richness and complexity of ecosystems.
  3. Educating the public: Educating the public about snake behavior and promoting coexistence can help reduce fear and misconceptions surrounding snakes.
  4. Habitat preservation: Conserving natural habitats and protecting snake populations helps ensure their long-term survival.

By understanding the importance of snake conservation and taking appropriate measures to coexist with them, we can help maintain healthy ecosystems.

Debunking Common Myths

It is essential to debunk common myths surrounding snake behavior to promote accurate understanding and reduce fear. Here are some myths about snakes:

  1. Snakes chasing for revenge: As we discussed earlier, snakes do not have the capacity for revenge. They do not chase humans as an act of revenge or malice.
  2. Snakes attacking unprovoked: Snakes generally attack humans in self-defense when they feel threatened. They prefer to avoid conflict whenever possible.
  3. Snakes intentionally targeting humans: Snakes do not target humans as their primary prey. They have evolved to hunt smaller animals and tend to avoid humans whenever possible.

By debunking these myths, we can develop a more realistic understanding of snake behavior and coexist more harmoniously with them.


Snakes are fascinating creatures with unique behaviors that help them survive in their environments. While they may appear to chase people in certain situations, it’s important to remember that they are responding to their instincts and are not intentionally targeting humans. By understanding snake behavior, debunking myths, and taking appropriate actions during snake encounters, we can promote a safer and more informed coexistence with these remarkable creatures. Additionally, efforts to conserve snake populations and educate the public are crucial for preserving their role in ecosystems and promoting biodiversity. Let us appreciate the beauty of snakes while respecting their space and conserving their habitats.