You might be surprised to know that there are over 2,900 snakes which can be found across every single continent, except for Antarctica. Plus, if you look in the Maya and Aztec calendars you’ll find Snake day on the fifth of the week!
From pit vipers to cobras, vipers, pythons, boas and more, there are countless snakes to explore. Some of which, will kill you of course, if you get too close.
However, what’s interesting about these long reptiles isn’t just their venomous jaw bite, or ability to shed their scaly skin, there’s actually quite more to it, which is partly why snake tattoos feature in the 50+ Best tattoo ideas.
Take for instance, the deep grooves on pit vipers and pythons, which enables them to visualize any radiated heat from warm-blooded mammals nearby.
Now, when it comes to the meaning of snake tattoos, you’ll need to take a trip back in time. Ancient Egyptians crowned their pharaoh with the Nile cobra; worshiping it as one of the gods. But it wasn’t just all glory, in fact, in a darker light it the snake was associated with suicidal rituals and of course, murder too.
For Greek mythology, snakes aren’t exactly evil in nature, more or less they are earthbound. However, some interrupt this to be a symbol of deadly and dangerous.
On the other hand, today’s representation of the snake is often associated with modern medical and pharmaceutical medicine meanings. For example, the Bowl of Hygeia, Caduceus and Rod of Asclepius.
To give you a deadly dose of inspiration and ideas, I’m going to share with you the top 70 best snake tattoos for men. From realistic designs to the more abstract artwork that truly captures the essence of this natural creature.
Snake Tattoo Ideas
This snake tattoo is a skillful exhibit of beautifully-executed line work and stellar black and grey shading. From the detailed scales to the slithering creature’s grooves and underbelly, this piece is a strong demonstration off the artist’s abilities. The snake itself is wrapping around a ball of some sort, perhaps suggesting the reptile’s status as an earthen animal, with the ball abstractly symbolizing our planet. Then again, it could have more to do with a different facet of the famous serpent, such as its relation to medicine and healing.
Here we see a dynamic tattoo displaying a large cobra on the man’s chest and rising to about halfway up nis neck. It is a work of black and gray and while the snake is wound up, rather-intricate tail is shaded somewhat, its head is not. It wears a devious look on its face as its mouth hangs open, showing its fangs and classic split tongue. Mysteriously, the king of snakes is pictured here with small skulls surrounding it. Perhaps this is a harkening toward the concept of life and death, as the skulls juxtapose the living, thriving snake.
Seen here is a large and interesting arm piece. The focal point of this tattoo is the face of a woman with dark hair and lips as well as large touches of gold in her hair. She has a somewhat-distinct expression on her face, although it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what that expression means. Loosely-wrapped around her head is a large, red snake with black spotting. This snake is showing multiple teeth and shares the woman’s golden eyes. One interpretation of this piece could be attributed to the old stereotype of attractive woman being dangerous.
This detailed and colorful full back piece places two snakes intertwined with each other, one red and one green. The serpents appear to be looking each other right in the eye. Perhaps this image is meant to speak to the intertwined yet so different states of life and death. It is difficult to say for certain.
This sleeve tattoo places an intricately scaled snake amidst several yellow and bluish-green flowering plants. It is a particularly welcoming tattoo in the snake genre as its abundance of smooth, complementary colors make it quite appealing to look at. Flowers can be a symbol of new life so perhaps this snake tattoo is a reflection of such.
This is a fierce depiction of the mighty cobra done in black and gray for the body of the snake itself with bits of red ink used as an outline of the top and bottom sections. This tattoo is not necessarily the most precisely detailed or well shaded piece of the bunch but in many ways its rugged appearance adds a bit of character to the piece. As far as the red bits above and below the snake, one interpretation could view them as traces of blood around the deadly reptile.
The serpent in this tattoo looks to be slithering through the mouth of a skull. The snake’s body is made up of multiple colors such as red, gold and green. There are also small black spots all along the top of the creature. These colors are particularly attractive in the way they mix on the snake’s head. The snake has its mouth wide open, showing off its sharp fangs with a fiery look in its eyes. The skull is a rather large white and gray piece of this artistic equation. Alongside the furious snake these two parts make up a piece that could very well symbolize mortality or impending death.
This green and gold snake is an interesting feat of detail from its deadly teeth and the rest of its wide-open mouth to the large and stunning blue eyeball. This snake tattoo is a depiction of more than just the slithering reptile, however. For this snake is wrapped around what appears to be a human heart. It is not clear what this picture means but it seems likely that it might relate to medicine, a common modern symbolism associated with snakes. Another possibility is that it is a strange look at love or death. This is certainly an intriguing snake tattoo.
This piece would seem to be one where the snake is used as a symbol of bad luck or death as it is joined by a ferocious-looking tiger and a large skull. As one can see, the snake is even moving through one of the skull’s eye sockets. Additionally, in the other socket sits an 8 ball, a common symbol of luck or chance. All of these aspects of put together certainly do not suggest any sort of positive symbolism. Possibly worth noting is the generally dark and subdued nature of this tattoo’s color pallet.
This snake head tattoo has a look of true evil in its dark red eyes as it holds its mouth open displaying its lethal fangs. In a strange twist of the common snake tattoo, this one appears to have an eye on the top of its head. Perhaps this is a reference to third-eye vision or an all-seeing eye of some sort. Then again, such a detail could simply be intended as a bit of artistic expression.
Here is a snake tattoo that stands out because of the style it has been inked in. For this green and red snake and the bright blue flower it is placed under appear to have been done in a japanese style, the snake almost resembling the figure of a japanese dragon tattoo. Perhaps this piece is meant to combine the symbolism of the snake and the dragon into one. This piece appears to be a three quarter sleeve.
In a rather sharp contrast to many of the other snake tattoos shown before this one, here we see a representation of the snake inked on a man’s forearm that is calmer and more peaceful. This snake tattoo does not feature a wide open mouth or razor-sharp fangs. This snake is simple. It has predominantly green scales and a white underside with a large gold eye and a comparatively reserved disposition. It is a pleasant and welcome bit of variety amidst the other snake tattoos.
This snake tattoo exhibits impressive, intricate work on the part of the artist. This is most apparent on the scales of the orangish-red animal as well as in its beautiful blue eye. In this tattoo the snake is wrapped around a tree branch and appears to share the same level of calmness as the previous tattoo’s snake.
Here is yet another depiction of a snake with a skull. This one in particular features a large and mighty cobra resting on a large human skull with embellishments around it that are mostly filled with dark shading. The cobra, however, is colored with vibrant shades of red and blue. Again the possibility of the snake and its relation to death can be considered about this full-frontal piece.
Here is a snake tattoo composed of mostly blue shading. This snake appears to be rather non-threatening as it does not appear to be particularly feisty. Nevertheless, looks can be deceiving, especially with these sneaky reptiles. The blue is a nice and slightly-unusual touch but it is aesthetically a pleasant one.
This snake tattoo is inked on the subject’s elbow at such an angle that it almost looks as if it is sticking its head off and preparing to slither away.from where it was tattooed. This is an interesting effect and surely makes the snake stand out. The placement of the snake’s head on the subject’s elbow also certainly stands out as a rather unusual but visually effective bodily location.
A large brown serpent, a cobra to be exact, is the focal point of this snake tattoo as it wraps around a piece of wood. It is common for a snake or pair of snakes to be displayed around a rod or other similar project as a symbol for medicine. This snake, however, appears as if it is ready to attack, not save. Something else that may pique interest is that the stick this cobra is wrapped around looks a good deal like walking cane of sorts. It may be a bit far fetched but one possible theory on the symbolism of this wrist piece could be that it is depicting the opposite of the traditional snake/good health with a dangerous cobra for the snake and a cane for the rod.
To finish off the list, here is a simple but detailed, black and gray snake tattoo. This piece looks to be on the man’s leg and exhibits strong line work for the snake’ segments and superb shading throughout the length of the creature. This tattoo is certainly a great example of a small but fantastic looking snake tattoo.
This half sleeve is not exactly a tattoo of a snake in the sense that it is not an image of a serpent as the other tattoos here are. It is, however, a snake tattoo in a different sense. For this tattoo is composed of large sections of scales and bones interrupted by mostly unmarked skin.This design is meant to give off the appearance that below the subject’s skin is the exterior of a snake. This could be symbolic in a more complex and unapparent way. It could also, however, simply be intended to look unique and interesting, which it certainly does.
This snake tattoo on the arm does not show the entirety of the creature. Instead, it focuses in on the large black and yellow eye of the snake and the immediate area surrounding it. By exclusively showing the eye of the snake the tattoo might convey the sense that this creature is always watching from afar.
Here is an image of an artist at work. He appears to be putting the finishing touches on a brown and tan snake tattoo. The image he has created on the subject’s arm is stunning, particularly in the sense of how real it looks. It is amazing how talented some tattoo artists are, particularly when they ink lifelike images like this one.
This relatively small and simple snake tattoo is perfect for guys who don’t necessarily want a full-sized snake slithering on their arm or leg. Composed primarily of red and blue, this snake has its mouth open like many before it. It’s small fangs are on display making it seem a bit threatening but not especially so.
Here is a snake tattoo where the vicious reptile has made its way through the mouth of a beautifully done black and gray Hannya mask. This piece is impressive and dynamic as the snake and Hannya compliment each other both in appearance and meaning. According to Yokai.com the Hannyas are often related to demons, specifically demonesses. Supposing that is the case here, perhaps the Hannya and snake coming together represent the coming together of evil, or bad luck.
This snake tattoo looks a heck of a lot like an actual snake. From the incredible detail and shading of the scales to the way the artist portrayed the light reflecting off the snake, this piece is nothing short of incredible. A far as the reddish-yellow light and the person below the snake, that will be left up for interpretation. Regardless, this tattoo is absolutely stellar.
This attractive tattoo features a serpent being trampled over by an eagle. This could easily symbolize the triumph of good over evil. Such a triumph could be a metaphorical one or more of a religious allusion, such as the archangel Michael defeating Satan who is often depicted as a snake of some sort. Either way, this upper-arm tattoo is impressive as the well-done lines of the brown eagle’s wings meeting the gray and blueish-green of the snake make for a beautiful piece of body art.
Snake Tattoo FAQs
What does a snake represent?
According to Snake Tracks, snakes can represent many different things, including healing, fertility and even royalty, depending on the culture they are showcased in. In this respect their meanings could vary a great deal. In fact, amongst Native Americans, snake symbolisms can even differ depending on which tribe one asks.
What does a two headed snake tattoo mean?
The two headed snake tattoo is symbolic of transformation as well as all of the many changes endured during a lifetime, according to this article. It also signifies that the man who bears it does not fear such changes, nor does he fear death.
What does a snake and rose tattoo mean?
According to Custom Tattoo Design, a snake and rose tattoo signifies temptation and the loss of innocence.