Snake tattoos are perennial favorites because they're sinuous, sexy, and symbolic. Eve should have ignored her snake while Cleopatra wore hers. And now you can wear them too, using these pictures as inspiration.
Clickable Snake Body Art
Arm yourself with photographs and flash of snake tattoo designs to signal danger, desire, or deadly intentions. Click on any of the snake tattoo drawings or photographs below to see a larger version.
Pick Your Poison and Its Placement
You're going to live with this captivating reptile for a long time. Know your snakes and then choose the one whose hiss twines its way around your heart. Just a few of the more common snakes, and placement suggestions for tattoos, are below.
A corn snake is a bright orange or yellow-orange constrictor. Constrictors coil around anything threatening or that can be potentially tasty and squeezable. They are not venomous. They're pretty docile as snakes go, and they are popular pets. You may want to memorialize your own pet corn snake, or just enjoy all that fabulous color slinking around your ankle.
Whoa! Boas are rad, but big and bad. They are large constrictors with thick bodies and powerful muscles. This jungle dweller has a wonderfully mottled brown and coppery body - and are almost always a chill temperament. However, don't get a boa scared or mad or it will put the squeeze on you! Boas are big enough to occupy major territory on a thigh, entire calf, or muscled forearm.
There are different types of pythons. They are huge, and when upset, they bite. So beware the Blood Python, the Burmese, the Carpet, the African Rock, the Green Tree, and the Ball Python. Mix any number of them into a tangled nest for maximum impact. The Reticulated Python has iridescent, intricately patterned skin and the truly jumbo versions can reach 32 feet long and 350 lbs. This is a major snake so dedicate some back space or an entire shoulder to your tat.
That rattle should alert you to imminent peril. But your rattlesnake tat is quietly lethal, nestled at the small of your back, or coiled along a hip. There's serious venom here - the diamond pattern looks amazing stretched along your leg or coiled on the top of your foot. Remember, one bite will kill, so be the danger and wear a rattler with pride.
Copperheads are coppery-russet or coppery-orange and they are excellent at camouflage. That makes this snake a good choice to weave inconspicuously into a complex tattoo scene over a shoulder or a ribcage. Their bite is lethal, so your hidden message when adding one as a tattoo is to never underestimate the strike of this snake.
All cobras are hooded, magnificent, and savagely poisonous. Their fangs inspire terror, their mesmerizing sway is designed to enthrall you. You live on the edge if you choose this emblem for a full back or a calf. A King Cobra is a very intelligent snake and a live one is too dangerous to keep as a pet. The same goes for Spectacled Cobras, Indian Cobras, Viper Cobras, and any other type of cobra. This is a good tattoo choice if you're addicted to risk and adventure.
Some vipers prefer to strike at night. By day, they are content to freeze when approached, preferring to rely on camouflage for protection. Different vipers come in all colors and detailed, reticulated skins, and are as stunning as they are venomous. Vivid green Pit Vipers are found all over Central America and different species, from Eyelash to Blotched Palm, are likely to be intense emerald green or blue-green, an eye-catching color against any skin tone. Put them in a spot that draws them out of the darkness and can be shown off; try the back of your leg or arm.
Single Snake Versus Snake Pits
Choose the number of snakes in your tattoo design carefully.
Solo Snake Tat
A snake by itself is a strong design statement - a rearing cobra telegraphs danger. A bright yellow baby eyelash viper looks like a ripe banana - with lethal venom. Alone, a snake tattoo is a story unto itself, nestling into the hollow at the base of your spine or peeping out of a bikini line. Other designs might include the following options.
- A Chinese-style snake is an astrological symbol that means inherited wealth and a charming and seductive personality.
- Get biblical and wrap your snake tat around an apple.
- A snake peeking out of a riot of flowers adds menace to a pretty tat.
Writhing Snake Pit
Multiple snakes intertwine dramatically, forming recognizable shapes like hearts and circles, or scrambling into a tangle of writhing patterned bodies. A group of snakes makes a dramatic Celtic knot or a stark tribal design. Weave several snakes down and around your leg to face each other, fangs bared, on your foot.
Snakes are potent symbols in almost all cultures, credited with deep spiritual meaning. The meaning of your snake tattoo may go beyond the initial scare factor.
Rebirth and Renewal
The obvious metaphor for rebirth and renewal, a tattooed snake shedding its skin to emerge glistening and "new" might signify your emergence from a difficult challenge.
A snake coiled at the base of your spine might represent the sacred and sexual energy of Kundalini, the source of personal power and enlightenment.
Snakes are sun-lovers and are exquisitely perceptive. They feel heat, light, and vibration. If you are drawn to the light, or very sensitive to it, a snake may be your symbol. Be daring and coil it around your neck or drape it over your shoulder.
Healing and Protection
Despite their deadly venom, snakes are linked with healing.
- The caduceus, the symbol for medicine, is two snakes twined around a winged staff. Med students love this snake tattoo but any healer might want it as a reminder or identifier on the inside of a wrist or just above an ankle.
- In India, the belief is that a cobra spread its hood to shade the Buddha when he slept in the sun.
- Australian Aboriginal people see the snake as a creation symbol.
- Some Native American people link the rattlesnake with rain.
Your Bitten Skin
Snakes are suggestive, powerful, deadly, and beautiful. They are multicolored, black or gray, scaly, spotted, or striped. A snake coiled around your arm, wrist, ankle, or neck is always an eye-catcher. Your tattoo's serpentine curves adapt to your own and a large or small snake is a dream to work into a complex shoulder tat or to twine around a single blood-red rose. Select your tattoo artist carefully. You'll want an excellent illustrator to capture the subtlety and splendor of a snake on your skin.