Top 105+ Best Snake Tattoo Ideas in 2021
Powerful symbolism combined and their disquieting aura help make snakes a popular option for tattoo collectors looking for ink guaranteed to elicit reactions.
From pit vipers to cobras, vipers, pythons, boas and more, there are countless snake tattoo designs to explore,.
To give you a deadly dose of inspiration and ideas, check out this collection of 89+ best snake tattoo designs. From realistic serpents to folklore, traditional ink and abstract artwork, there’s plenty of tattoo designs to liven up your next piece.
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1. Medusa Tattoos
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I really enjoy how Medusa to more classical Greco-Roman style , the Gorgon sister can be portrayed in many interesting styles. can slither in different directions. From
Medusa was once betrothed to Poseidon, but after forgetting her vows, she was dealt the brutal punishment of having a nest instead of hair.
Her gaze that not only disgusted, but also mesmerized any onlooker who regarded her, turning them to stone (this would be great on public transport).
The hero Perseus (son of Zeus) eventually got around her defences with some crafty shield work and beheaded Medusa, then used her vision to turn Atlas of Mauretania into stone for previously refusing him hospitality.
2. Ouroboros Tattoo
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The ouroboros is an interesting design that symbolizes infinity, regeneration and the interconnected nature of the universe.
First appearing in ancient Egyptian iconography, the image of a snake (or dragon) eating its own tail made its way into the Western traditions via Greece, and eventually became a key image and concept in Alchemy.
The ouroboros represented the transmigration of the soul and symbolized the human experience extending beyond the physical world into the next plane.
3. Don’t Tread on Me Tattoos
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Chances are you’ve seen the yellow Gadsden flag with a on it, especially recently when it’s been questionably waved about during a period of political, social, and racial unrest in the USA.
The flag dates back to Christopher Gadsden, an American statesman and general, and has made it’s way into .
The rattlesnake still represents the saying, “Don’t tread on me” exceptionally well. Much like how we wish to live our own lives without external interference, so does the rattlesnake, who aims to warn before striking.
While the rattlesnake might be protecting its territory, it’s meant to be thought of in the sense of the people protecting their rights.
4. ‘Join, or Die’ Tattoos
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This fierce snake cartoon originally called on the American colonists to join together against the French. Later, it became a rallying cry for the colonies to join together against the tyranny of the British.
Each piece of the broken snake was created to represent each colony joining forces against enemies both domestic and foreign.
The classic imagery over time has adopted an alternative meaning and a broadened definition. The significance of the broken snake design has lasted hundreds of years and will continue to represent bravery, patriotism, and freedom.
5. Rattlesnake Tattoos
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Rattlesnake tattoos are cutting-edge . wonders and a staple of custom
and transformation are two key concepts that are celebrated by rattlesnake . Because of their ritualistic skin shedding, these animals are considered symbols of immortality, , and resurrection.
These elusive creatures are commonly depicted as a , but they can be elongated in any direction to accentuate different regions of the body.
The rattle itself allows the another focal point to work on when depicting the .
6. Cobra Tattoo Art
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There aren’t many more impactful than a cobra design, with many versions of this laden with .
Cobras can cleverly wrap around an for daring 3D , or nestled into a veiled and . Of course, their most iconic pose is the fearsome upright position with flared neck and bared fangs ready for .
Cobras also appear prominently in . In the mythology of India the is shown alongside several Hindu gods. Vishnu and Shiva are closely tied to this , and the legendary of the six-headed cobra is known as Shesha in Sanskrit.
7. American Traditional Snake Tattoo
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A is often viewed through a mixed lens thanks to the role they play in many religious texts, particularly the role of and temptation in the Christian creation story.
Snakes are well-known for their ability to shed their skin and begin anew, and they’ve been revered as creatures of tribes. and healing in including among
A common from the past is one of the swallowing its tail. This creates a cycle of repeating and death, which many believed to be an representative of existence as a whole.
8. Japanese Snake Tattoo
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One of the more popular Japanese tattoos for men is the (hebi). often represents and eternal by virtue of regularly of the regularly shedding its skin to start again, or being included in conjunction with a to represent duality.
The Japanese pit , or the “mamushi,” is a beautiful with a circular pattern in the scales on its back and a more detailed black and white mosaic on its belly.
While generally small, this is excellent at sneaking up on its prey when they least expect it, and a popular sub genre of wider designs.
9. Snake Arm Tattoo Design
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In contemporary Western , an featuring the symbolizes betrayal, mistrust and suspicion, and can demonstrate when combined in with more positive themes to represent duality.
Older religions saw as a link to regeneration, desire and fertility, and is popular across a range of styles, including or designs featuring a close up, detailed .
Snakes are also well-known for their ability to shed their skin and begin anew, and they’ve been revered as creatures of and healing in other cultures.
10. Tribal Snake Tattoos
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Tribal . tribal can be complex and interesting if the designs are crafted with care and precision by a talented
The serpentine figure has been a notoriously sexy throughout history, conjuring up from the garden of Eden and beyond for centuries.
There is something exciting yet dangerous about snakes, an element of juxtaposition many in the community find especially appealing.
11. Snake and Dagger Tattoo Art
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The -and-dagger carries multiple meanings in , and its likeness will no doubt elicit equal parts fear and awe from those who glimpse upon the curled around a blade or with it driven through it’s .
Just as the is the earthly embodiment of the eternal and mystical masculine, the dagger represents the dangers that may lie ahead, and the courage needed to overcome the many faces of adversity.
Perhaps you put your safety and well being on the line every day, and aren’t afraid to risk security for the sake of unknown valor.
When all is said and done, the -and-dagger is more than just a of good vs , but the necessary balance one must maintain between the two.
12. Snake Skeleton Tattoos
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The snake may shed its skin over a lifetime, but its bones remain long after it has departed this existence.
In cultures around the world, the snake skeleton is a powerful and much-prized treasure, and while modern Western inhabitants generally prefer it for decorative purposes, occasionally the serpentine vertebrae winds its way into unforgettable tattoo art.
13. Two Headed Snake Tattoos
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In the British Museum there is an Aztec sculpture of a double-headed serpent, presumed to be a gift to the 15th Century Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés.
The serpent is believed to represent the underworld and powers of rebirth, the ability to shed one skin and inhabit another multiple times throughout the course of a lifetime.
Since then, the two-headed snake as wound its way into the Western conscience, adapted by tattoo artists for a wholly modern representation.
14. 3D Snake Tattoos
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A 3D tattoo of a snake would stop some people in their tracks. It is a very striking image, because the snake has always been associated with danger or evil. A man who wears a snake tattoo definitely has more to tell.
A snake could mean all kinds of things; a Christian might associate the image with evil and temptation.
Other people look at the symbol and connect it to rebirth. This connection is made because the snake has the unique ability of shedding its entire skin.
In essence, the individual wearing a snake might be telling the world that they have changed who they are or that life forced them to shed their old self and transform.
14. Neo Traditional Snake Tattoos
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The neo traditional snake tattoo honors the animal’s earliest renderings while translating it for a modern age, in an equally modern spirit.
This is no relic or bygone tattoo fodder for bikers and their desert terrain; the nouveau snake represents a different kind of man.
Viewed as a mystery and miracle of birth and renewal, the snake is a spirit animal to the man who moves with a keen understanding of the life-death-life cycle, and embraces it without fear or hesitation.
15. Snake Hand Tattoos
16. Snake Shoulder and Chest Tattoos
17. Black and Gray Snake Tattoos
18. Snake Leg Tattoos
Snake Tattoo FAQs
In Western tattoo culture the snake symbolizes betrayal, suspicion, and mistrust.
The serpent also provides duality to tattoo when combined with other more positive associations, such as the heart, rose, or even a skull.
In other tattoo cultures, the snake is a powerful motif of immortality, re-birth and fertility due to the reptile’s ability to shed its skin.
A common snake tattoo from the past is one of the snake God swallowing its tail.
The most popular snake arm tattoos emphasis the reptile’s body shape and physical characteristics such as coils, fangs, and eyes as much as the symbolism.
Popular styles and applications for use on snake tattoos include:
- Fine detailed single needle
- Realism tattoo (incorporates tree limbs, coils, scales, color)
- American traditional designs
- Traditional black and gray shading and gradation
- Japanese Style ½ and full sleeve tattoos
- Technical dot and linework black ink tattoos
The two headed snake tattoo is symbolic of transformation as well as all of the many changes endured during a lifetime.
It also signifies that the man who bears it does not fear such changes, nor does he fear death.
The Japanese snake tattoo, or hebi, is often seen as a phallic/sexual symbol but also linked with the element of water and protection.
Unlike in predominantly Christian cultures, it lacks the ties with evil and temptation.
A hebi themed tattoo will often be paired with a secondary motif (keshoubori) such as peonies and cherry blossoms, as these flowers match up with the snake’s cycle of movement in spring.