tl;dr: Snakes haven't really evolved in a significant way in quite a long time. Over eons of evolution of mammals, snakes were a persistent danger to them, thus mammals, in general, are predisposed to fear of snakes. We can spot their slithering motion more than other small animals based on this evolutionary drive, and the phobias against them are deeply rooted in our genetic makeup.
It's not surprising that people tend to be have a rather polar bias with snakes; many give in to that primal fear and never overcome it while others are likely attracted to them for the very reason that they trigger such reactions deep in their minds, as well as the very fact that they are so very primitive yet seem so deadly.
I know the people who read this are not really a "typical" sample of the human population, but I'm curious as to people's reactions to snakes, so I'm going to try another poll. This one's even a bit shorter. Thanks again... It's interesting to see what this community thinks about this sort of thing.
EDIT: Replace the "snake" in the first answer to the last question with whatever animal applies.
Pretty! Can I have one as a pet? (Or "I already have one as a pet.")
If the opportunity arises, I'll let one slither around my hand so long as it could be done safely somehow.
I wouldn't freak out holding one in a safe situation, but would rather not.
They're nice to look at... Inside a glass enclosure, where I'd rather them stay.
I'd really rather not see a live dangerous snake, even inside an enclosure.
Pictures of dangerous snakes make me uncomfortable.
I'm uncomfortable even talking about them.
Imagine a world mostly human but with a small percentage of people being "animal morphs." You're the human you are now, and a large snake-creature (the typical "snake with arms" naga sort of character) moves in next door.
The moment I saw him or her, I'd try to figure out how to get a date with them.
I'd go out of my way to be friends with such an interesting creature.
I'd certainly be friendly with them, but no more or less than the werewolf (or other "animal person") living across the street.
I'd try to remain friendly, but the things they eat are nearly as large as I am; it's hard not to be scared of them.
I'd be too scared of them / freaked out / creeped out to really interact with them at all.
In the same world as above, the company who makes the "body morphs" to let you become the "animal people" is coming out with the new "naga" model, the "snake with arms" sort of creature. You can't QUITE afford it but it's not entirely out of reach. (This presumes the "morphs" would be common enough not to leave you unemployable, or too much of a freak.)
Yeah, I was one of the beta testers! It was risky, but I got to be a snake before anyone else, at half the normal price!
I'll take out a loan and save every penny I can to purchase the transformation.
I can wait a year or so until I've saved up enough to afford it.
Maybe if the price comes way down. Maybe.
No, I'll pass.
Why would anyone willingly do that to themselves?
Just for comparison, in the same world, presume whatever species you are most interested in also has a similar "animal person" morph available. Same options as above, same condition that it wouldn't leave you unemployable.