Snake Tattoo Meanings

Snake tattoos are seen far and wide, from magnificent colorful masterpieces to small cartoon ankle pieces. If you’re considering one of these classic tats, you might be wondering – is there a specific meaning behind these tattoos?

The truth is, snake tattoos can have any number of meanings. For some, the snake was seen as a venomous creature to be afraid of. To others, they’re the symbol of life and fertility. At the end of the day, you can use one of these tattoo meanings. But always keep in mind that your tattoo can mean whatever you want it to mean – even if there is no meaning at all.

Let’s dive into some of the most common meanings behind snake tattoos.

Snake Tattoo Meanings – A Closer Look

Snake tattoos can have various meanings as they can be associated with a wide range of qualities ranging from good to evil and everything in-between. However, here are some of the most common meanings for snake tattoos.

Strength and Danger


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The snake has long been known as one of the most powerful reptiles on planet earth, evolved from the dinosaur itself. Just look at snakes such as Rattlesnakes and Cobras. These venomous snakes have the power to cause death within minutes after a strike. As such, it’s not uncommon for snake tattoos to have a meaning linked towards strength and/or danger.

Some of the most popular options for tattoos that represent strength and danger include: tiger and snake tattoos, skull and snake tattoos, or a dragon and snake tattoo.

Rebirth, Healing, and Continual Renewal


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For some, the snake is a symbol that represents rebirth, healing, and continual renewal. This meaning is derived from the fact that snakes can shed their skin, thus creating a new “self.” That said, it can be a representation of transformation and the never-ending cycle of improving yourself.

This is where the infamous ouroboros tattoo is formed. This tattoo – which depicts a snake biting its own tail – is an ancient symbol from Egypt related to the eternal circle. Sometimes, a snake with two heads or a snake surrounded by flowers or roses is also used to represent rebirth.



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Snakes have long been a symbol of temptation, too, according to the Christian Bible. The story begins with a snake that tempted Eve into committing sin, the first sin to have ever occurred in all of humankind. As a tattoo, it can represent overcoming temptations or act as a reminder to stay away from certain temptations.



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According to many cultures, such as the Aztecs, the snake represents fertility and bountifulness. It is seen time and time again throughout history and can still be used as a representation of fertility through tattoos today.



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Throughout history and in many cultures, snakes are also associated with wisdom. For example, the Chinese zodiac includes the snake symbol for specific birth years (1905, 1917, 2001, 2013, for example). According to the traits of those with the snake symbol, they are intelligent, wise, and charming.



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While your first thought seeing a snake might not be luck, in Japanese culture, that’s exactly what a snake means. These tattoos tend to be brilliantly colored or be posed with expensive or valuable items to depict “luck” in more ways than one. The Battle Royale tattoo specifically represents luck and the ability to conquer anything in your path.



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Snakes can represent triumph and bravery. This particular tattoo meaning is best displayed when the snake is being stabbed by the dagger, although some may prefer a red outlined snake tattoo or an eagle and snake tattoo. It shows that you have conquered or overcame something incredibly challenging.

However, a snake wrapped around a dagger (or another object, such as a skull) is also quite popular. The specific meaning behind this is that you’re not afraid and always ready to attack – when necessary.



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Snakes are sinister and mysterious creatures. When trying to show the mystery of snakes through imagery, it is not uncommon for a snake to be near or somehow entangled with the moon. Since the moon also brings about a sense of wonder, the pairing shows an infamous mystery.

Final Words

Snake tattoos can have an abundance of meanings ranging from positive to negative. It depends on what you are looking for in a tattoo. And don’t forget – your snake tat doesn’t have to have a meaning at all. If you love snakes or think they’re really cool looking, don’t hesitate to ink up and enjoy your new tattoo.

See more tattoo articles here.