Even though the words reptile and amphibian may conjure up images of biology classes or laboratories, the tattoo world of animals simply could not get by without them. The snake is an excellent example, used in many different types of tattoo designs from the Classic Americana Battle Royale to the circular snake that eats its own tail (ouroboros) or the snake that encircles a dagger proclaiming “Death Before Dishonor.”
One of the reasons that reptiles and amphibians can find their way into so many different types of tattoos is that their symbolism is one centered around change, much like the forms that they take during their lives. There is a distinct cyclical nature to the snake shedding its skin, for example, or of the cycle of life that leads from tadpole to frog. In addition, amphibians also carry their own traits of being able to exist in two worlds, in two types of environments.