Reptile Symbolism in Dreams

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Reptile in Dreams: What is the Meaning?

Okay, some of us have a real penchant for reptiles … we have people who attempt to domesticate snakes, both big and small, alligators, turtles, tortoises, and a variety of lizards. But we also have those who shy away from reptiles due to a lack of knowledge about the animals or downright fear. In any case, when we encounter wild reptiles, we are always the wiser to maintain our distance and to simply let the reptiles do their own thing. (I, for one, would NOT go walking up on a crocodile as it sunbathes near the water’s edge, ya know … that’s just good old common sense and a solid sense of self-preservation).

Reptiles are associated with primal urges, basic instincts, and many of us have certainly heard of the “reptilian brain,” which is something based on pure instinct and no emotion or empathy. Reptiles are therefore associated with basic survival, fight and flight, and the very essence of what it is to be wild.

And with their primal, wild attributes one of the safest places to encounter these creatures is in the dream realm at a safe distance. It gives us a chance to learn the important dream messages of these creatures, all from the safety of our comfy beds! For starters, reptiles are creatures that have super thick and/or scaly skins to keep them protected from injury.

When a scaly reptile enters your dreams, it is a reminder to maintain a thick skin and to let negative things roll off your back. In your waking life, you should refrain from taking things so personally and shun anything that might strike a chord with you emotionally.

Reptiles are cold-blooded, meaning they have to spend some time in the sun to warm up their bodies. Their metabolic processes and diet differ greatly when compared to the diets of mammals, and they can eat less than mammals because they require less energy to function. If the cold-blooded reptile shows up in a dream narrative, it could be a sign you need to adapt to your environment, to strive for a state of internal balance, to attune to the natural rhythms of the earth, and to consider your dietary intake carefully.

Of course, the type of reptile that shows up as a dream symbol will be a big factor in the meaning you get from its appearance. Snakes, for example, carry the message of wisdom, cosmic consciousness, eternity, rebirth, renewal, and regeneration. Alligators and crocodiles carry dream messages related to potential aggression, predatory behaviors, and their connection with the water and earth make them symbols of consciousness and the deep subconscious.

Turtles and tortoises stand for self-sufficiency and adapting to one’s location, or making a place a home wherever one is. These animals are connected to the earth as well (in fact, some Native Americans depicted the earth on the back of a turtle shell), and so it is a sign that you need to reconnect with the earth and you should attempt to ground yourself. Also, with so many species of lizards and the like, these cold-blooded creatures can come to mean so many things: From the chameleon’s ability to camouflage itself and demonstrate the lesson of adaptability, to the Kimodo Dragon sharing the lesson of fierce power and aggressive action.

Finally, a play on words as they relate to some reptiles can present you with insight into what your dream symbol might mean. For instance, sometimes the term reptile is used to describe a person who is sneaky, contemptuous, loathing, or rotten. This might mean you need to look carefully at the people in your life to ensure they have your best interests at heart.

For more information on other animal categorizations and how the different species can express meaning through dreams, I encourage you to visit the pages here on, where there are details on mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects, birds, and aquatic animals.

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