45 Snake Tattoo Designs And Their Meanings

Snake tattoos are one tattoo design that you will find hard to ignore in spite of the fact that is not one of the mainstream tattoo designs. Often found to be popular among men, you could however find some women also going for the snake tattoo. Similar to the other tattoos based on living beings, the snake tattoo has meanings that are rooted in the actual being tattooed, which in this case is the snake. Snake tattoos can be put together in many different ways.

We will take you through the type of snake tattoo designs and also some of the meanings that are attributed to this tattoo. Snake tattoos have many meanings – some positive and some negative too. Snakes as we know have a lot of symbolism associated with them in many old cultures. They have been part of folklore, myths, legends and other stories. Some of these stories attribute the snake with negative connotations while a few have positive connotations too.

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As far as snakes are concerned they are pretty much misunderstood and thereby an aura of danger is attributed to them. Though some of the snakes are dangerous, most are not harmful to human beings and are actually known to be shy of the human world. The chances of a human being bitten is more when you have been handling or associating with them and not otherwise. Snakes are creatures of the dark and more prone to coming out in the dark.

Of the many ways snakes have been portrayed one that stands out are the tales in the Bible where the snake (or serpent) plays a role in tempting Eve to go for the fruit that was forbidden. Thereby snakes are seen to represent desire, sinning and temptations that are evil.

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As we mentioned earlier some species of snakes are so lethal that they can kill with one bite, some among them being the rattlesnake or the cobra. They can be found across countries. Due to the fact that their bite often a snake will be associated with venom. But snakes have also had some positive meanings including wisdom and also fertility. Plus snakes are also attributed with the quality of being smart when it hunts. In many cultures like the Native Americans as well as the Africans, a snake is sacred. Plus they are known to have had a hand in the creation of the universe itself. Since snakes are both feminine as well as masculine, snake tattoos are worn by both the genders.

Significance and symbolism of Snakes:

Chinese: Among the Chinese they are part of the Zodiac and those people born in years like 1905 and thereon years that come 12 years apart are considered to be born under the snake sign in the Chinese Zodiac that contains 12 signs. Under this the snake is considered to be secretive but not associated with evil or danger.


Egyptians: In this culture and as per the finds of the past, the snake has been shown as eating its own tail. This is supposed to mean the cycle of the universe or the cycle of life itself. It shows the changing of seasons and how everything in life is a cycle.


Rebirth: The attribute of the snake to shed its skin on a regular basis also means that it is linked with rebirth or renewal. Many snake tattoos also represent this aspect of the symbolism of snakes.


Meanings of  snake tattoo Designs:

Since there are so many cultures that have some meaning attached to the snake, the tattoo with this motif has both positive and negative connotations. Here are some meanings associated with the snake tattoo:

  1. The bad or side of the devil
  2. Hell
  3. The sign of protection or even medicine
  4. Change or the cycle of life itself
  5. Smartness or wisdom
  6. Great power and intelligence
  7. Temptation of evil or even death
  8. Balance and fortitude
  9. Grace and sensuousness

Any of the above given symbolism can be attached to a snake tattoo as per the way you think and what motivates you to get it. You may go with the Chinese zodiac way or for any other culture that touches upon your life. But do make it a point to think, research and evaluate before you finalize on the snake tattoo design that you are going with.

Snake Tattoo:

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The thing about snake tattoo designs is that you can never be indifferent when you look at one; either they completely fascinate you and you want to get one or you are completely repulsed by the whole thing. However, the thing is there are many snake tattoo designs for men that have a lot of meaning and are actually preferred by many people. What is more the snake tattoo meaning adds an additional dimension to the whole thing and this is also one of the reasons that people get them done on their skin. What are the snake tattoo designs that appeal to you?


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The image above (a snake eating its own tail) is known as the ouroboros. This symbol represents the cycle of life and death.

The person who had it tattooed was quite clever with it by portraying the symbol for infinity.

Therefore, this tattoo could mean that the cycle of life and death is never-ending. It can also mean reincarnation and the ever-changing seasons we go through life.

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The snake is a long creature, and that’s why snake tattoos often take up huge spaces on your body.

However, you can actually minimize them by wrapping them around different body parts. One perfect example is the photo above.

The person who got the tattoo chose to wrap the snake tattoo around their ankle.

There are thousands of meanings you can find about this. For instance, a snake wrapped around the ankle could mean spiritual guidance.

Snakes are sometimes associated with spirituality.

If you chose to have one tattooed around your legs, which is what you use to get to places, it could mean that you are figuring out the right direction in terms of spirituality.

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Let’s take a quick pause in talking about snakes. Did you know that colored tattoos heal longer than black or gray ones?

A black or gray tattoo will usually heal after two or three weeks. On the other hand, colored tattoos can take one month to six weeks to heal.

That’s because colored tattoos often involve shading, causing the artist to use more intense methods to apply the ink.

As a result, it causes more damage to the skin, which also requires longer time to heal.

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Snakes are often viewed as “negative” creatures. They can represent treachery or even the devil himself.

However, when you combine your snake tattoo with other serene images, it takes on a whole new meaning.

For instance, the snake and flowers tattoo above takes on positive meanings of snakes like rebirth, transformation, and grace.

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A tiger can represent your inner strength and raw power.

On the other hand, a snake might represent that you have the potential to grow and shed your past failures and mistakes.

A tattoo of a snake and a tiger fighting can mean that you or someone around you is blocking your potential for growth.

Therefore, it will take a lot of effort to unleash your true potential and power.

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This is perhaps the most polysemous tattoo here.

The skull often symbolizes a man’s mortality, while the snake symbolizes rebirth. The flowers symbolize serenity, peace, and beauty.

Therefore, this tattoo could mean finding peace with the transformations we go through in life while understanding that it’s just part of our nature as mortals.

On the other hand, it could also suggest that there’s beauty in death.

It should not always be viewed as something negative, especially if you believe that you will go to another plane of existence after this life.

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There are various meanings behind a headless snake, but one that stands out is being amidst struggles and/or persevering through them.

A headless snake represents a lack of action.

There might be instances where you were unable to get things done, and a tattoo of a headless snake is a reminder that you have to keep going.

Alternatively, it can also symbolize the difficulty of understanding your own identity. The tattoo can be a symbol of you always figuring out who and what you want to be in this life.

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This tattoo is most likely meant to represent Medusa, also known as Gorgo.

She’s a character in Greek mythology known to have wings on her back and venomous snakes on her head instead of hair.

Medusa is believed to have the power to turn anyone into stone if that person stares directly into her eyes.

She used to be a lovely human, but she was assaulted by Poseidon, and Athena punished her by turning her into a monstrous creature.

Nowadays, people associate the Medusa tattoo as reclamation of their identities.

A lot of tattoo artists share that clients who want Medusa inked on their skin were victims of sexual assault.

It is a way of telling themselves that they should not be punished or cursed for what other people did to them.


Snakes are one of the most fascinating animals in the world and that’s the reason of our interest in the creature. Some people really have a love for snakes and they are the one going to make tattoos. Snake tattoos are very interesting and looks beautiful. So you people should at least think about once about wearing the snake tattoos. So research about the tattoo design and then finally decide the tattoo design. Go for a professional tattoo artist and experience a good tattoo experience.

Looking for other tattoo ideas? Check out these animal tattoo ideas for animal lovers:

Wildlife Tattoo Designs and Ideas

Different Birds Tattoo Designs

Fish Tattoo Designs

Owl Tattoo Designs

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