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Snake Tattoos

Snake tattoos are popular body art designs for their meaning, symbolism and size versatility. Whether inked as a large back-piece or a small bikini-area graphic, snake tattoo designs can practically be positioned anywhere on the body: slithering up legs, wrapping around arms, or sitting tightly coiled on the bicep area.

The most commonly chosen snake tattoo designs pair serpents with beautiful roses, bold tribal patterns and sharp daggers. Although there are many snake varieties to choose from, cobras and rattlesnakes rank at the top of the snake tattoo request list.

Cobra Tattoos
There are hundreds of different types of cobra snakes, however, the King Cobra is the most popular. King Cobras are the longest of all venomous snakes, reaching up to 18 feet in length and are the only snakes able to spit their venom. When threatened, cobras can raise up to one-third of their bodies off of the ground to stare their competitors in the eyes. Their most notable physical features, however, are the “hoods” that flare out behind their heads to ward off threats.

In ancient Egypt, a cobra represented royalty, sovereignty and authority. It was known as Uraeus and its symbol prominent on the headpieces of pharaohs. Therefore, many Egyptian tattoos feature cobras.

Rattlesnake Tattoos
Rattlesnakes are venomous snakes are known for the rattlers at the ends of their tails (used to ward off potential threats) and their triangular heads. Each time a rattlesnake sheds its skin, a new rattler appears. These serpents are primarily found in the southern regions of the United States. Of the 16 rattlesnake varieties, the most well known is the diamondback. This particular serpent has a recognizable diamond pattern down the center of its back.

Rattlesnake tattoos are common choices for those wanting to combine snake tattoo art and a southwestern motif. These particular snake tattoos feature rattlesnakes coiled around boot spurs, slithering through cowskulls, or coiled among desert scenes of cacti and hot desert suns.

Coral Snake Tattoos
Coral snakes are colorful yet poisonous snakes found sandy, woody and marshy areas of the southeastern United States. Their vibrant bands of reds, yellows and blacks (warning coloration) makes them excellent choices for colorful snake tattoos particularly when featured among leafy green backgrounds. Coral snakes are the only snakes to eat their own species—which may be a hidden meaning for those choosing these particular snake designs.

Symbolism of Snake Tattoos
Evil: In the Bible, it was a serpent that tempted Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden – ultimately representing evil
Lies: The forked tongue of the snake can represent one who tells lies
Rebirth: The shedding of the snake’s skin is representative of change, or rebirth
Chinese Calendar: The snake represents those born in 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 2989 and 2001 in the Chinese calendar.

Oroborus Snake Tattoos
An Oroborus snake tattoo is one where the snake is biting its own tail – “ a self devouring snake.” It is representative of eternity, rebirth and the cycle of life. This symbol can be traced back to ancient Egypt.

Celebrities with Snake Tattoos
Snake tattoos are even popular among some of today’s most famous celebrities. Here is a small sampling of tattooed celebrities and where they bare their snake tattoos:

JEFF CORWIN / Animal Expert: Coral snake tattoo on left shoulder

ALYSSA MILANO / Actress: Snake biting its own tail tattoo on the inside of right wrist

BRAD ROBERTS / Musician: Snake tattoo on back left shoulder wrapping around to the side of his shoulder

SLASH / “Guns n’ Roses” Guitarist: Snake tattoo on right shoulder

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