When it comes to animals, few that are quite as divisive as the snake.
The muscular, legless creature evokes a sense of power, wonder, and sometimes, disgust. And, since the creature is such a powerful symbol in various mythologies and theologies, I wanted to take a moment to share some of my favorite snake tattoos with you.
The Snake’s Symbolism
Throughout history, the snake has popped up in various important texts. In the Bible, the devil disguises himself as a snake to tempt Eve in the garden of good and evil. In Greek mythology, the powerful Gorgon Medusa has snakes for hair and Hermes (Mercury) has two that wind around his caduceus.
And, in Ancient Egypt, the snake (often depicted as a cobra) was used by the pharaohs as a symbol of protection as well as a representation of their royalty and divine authority.
During this time the symbol of the ouroboros, the snake eating its own tail, also appeared, within the Egyptian funeral text Enigmatic Book of the Netherworld (it’s here if you want your own copy). The ouroboros represents the cycle of birth and death, and the cyclical nature of all things.
It has been carried forward into the Book of Kells, the Bible, and other important theological texts and is still considered an important symbol in some magical circles today.
Whether your connection with snakes and serpents is connected to its historical meanings or you just really love the creature, here are some snake tattoos to inspire your own ink.
23 Snake Tattoos
1. Neverending Story
These light and dark snakes are their own ouroboros and represent the Auryn necklace worn by Atreyu and the Childlike Empress in the Neverending Story.
2. Norse Ouroboros
3. Green Python Tattoo
This emerald green snake tattoo looks like scanning the horizon for lunch. Ink by Tom Bullets.
4. Snake Head Tattoo
Violeta Diaz‘s heart-shaped snake head tattoo might have you wanting to learn parseltongue.
5. Geometric Snake Tattoo
Why just get a ouroboros tattoo when you can get one reminiscent of the Tree of Life and the Two of Pentacles from the Thoth tarot deck.
6. Galaxy Snake Tattoo
This purple, blue, and green serpent by Joanne Baker is easily one of the prettiest snake tattoos I’ve seen.
7. Serpents and Antlers
In this black and grey piece, a snake winds itself around some deer antlers to find its own tail.
8. Snake and Moon Tattoo
This delicate fine line piece by Por Becca Luz of Sarita Tattoos features a cobra and a crescent moon.
9. Black and Grey Snake Tattoo
This is probably not what you want to find the next time you go to smell a flower. It clearly wasn’t what the snake wanted either.
10. Hogwarts Snake Tattoo
This series of colorful snake tattoos by 369 Ink Studios features Hogwarts, swords, shields, and crystals. What, no partridge in a pear tree?
11. Python Tattoo
Don’t worry, they don’t bite. Much.
12. Angry Snake Tattoo
This is really just a photo of me if I skip lunch. Tattoo by Taylor Estrella.
13. Intricate Snakes
This pair of colorful serpents feels almost dreamlike. Or like they got lost in my sock drawer.
14. Girl and Snake Tattoo
Alessandro Micci’s intense 80s-inspired ink of a woman holding a snake gives me both come hinter and go away vibes.
15. Hand Tattoo
When flipping the bird just won’t cut it.
16. Old School Snake
Daniel Ra‘s old school tattoo work is awesome. This fanged red and black snake is no exception.
17. 3D Snake Tattoo
I’m really regretting misplacing my 3D glasses right now.
18. Cartoon Snake
I can’t decide if this two-headed purple serpent tattoo reminds me more of Q-Bert or Super Mario 2, but either way, I’m going to spend the next two hours hooking up my old NES.
19. Cobra Tattoo
Her simple cobra arm tattoo is elegant and striking.
20. Medusa Tattoo
When it comes to maligned characters, Medusa is near the top. At least the gorgon’s beauty has been captured wonderfully in this tattoo by JUDITSABÉ.
21. Snake and Flower Tattoo
I’m starting to get the impression I should look more at the flowers before I smell them.
22. Green Cobra
This black snake has carefully camouflaged itself in a pile of green leaves. Probably not the best place for a nap.
23. Water Snake
This pretty snake tattoo reminds me of a water or ice dragon.