Snakes have a bad rap with people because so many species are known to bite when disturbed. An even smaller subset of snakes is known to be venomous, with some of those delivering spicy neurotoxins that can be lethal to fully-grown humans if medical attention isn’t sought immediately after the bite transpires.
While many snakes bite when they feel cornered, the science would show that different snakes behave differently when they face a potential threat. For example, this video showcases the differences in behavior between the spectacled cobra and the saw scaled viper when each prepares to go for the strike.
From what we can gather, the cobra will strike at potential threats, but it typically does so with its mouth closed. It’s an attempt to scare away potential threats, leaving its snakebite as an absolute last resort to save its life if its warnings to back off aren’t heeded.
The viper, on the other hand, strikes at potential threats with its mouth wide open and its venom-injecting fangs extended. It seems that the viper means business with every intended strike; in other words, no warnings or second chances.
To make matters worse, many snakes camouflage with their surroundings, which can make it challenging to tell if you’re approaching one or not. For this reason, many humans succumb to snakebites every year, many of which happen when the human doesn’t even know they’re disturbing a snake in the first place.