Children and large snakes
Even 1–4-year-old children devote greater attention to both non-dangerous (hamsters, fish) and dangerous animals (snakes, spiders) than to inanimate toys. Humans share the tendency to fear snakes with many primates, e.g., chimpanzees, macaques, tarsiers or marmosets.
In Asia, even nowadays, children and women are more likely than men to die when attacked by a large constrictor snake.
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Ptáčková et al. 2016: Are the aesthetic preferences towards snake species already formed in pre-school aged children? European Journal of Developmental Psychology
The study evaluates and compares aestethic preferences towards boa and python snakes among pre-school children and adults. Yes, little children like snakes, see photographs. Photographs of 56 species of snakes were presented to repondents, which were asked to select the five most preferred and five least preferred species.
There was a high agreement among diverse children in the respect of beautiful and ugly species. There was also strong positive correlation between the preferences of children and adults.
The children preferred green snakes and snakes possessing glossy blue tint. Similarly to the adults, they
liked patterned snakes, as both ‘beautiful’ and dangerous. But unlike adults, they preferred thinner snakes with lower maximum body width and inconspicuous head. Few species of pythons and boas are large enough to ingest a child, but pose low threat to a full-grown adult, and we may speculate that young children tend to avoid large snake species, which is reflected in their low aesthetic preferences.
Illustration of snakes preferred or neglected by the children and adults: (a) Rubber
boa liked by children more than by adults for its blue, glossy tint (b) Ball python liked more by adults
than by children; (c) Green tree python, liked by both children and adults;
(d) Puerto Rican boa, disliked by both children and adults.