No Step on Snek – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Did someone just send you the meme of a hand-drawn snake with the caption, "no step on snek?" What are they trying to tell you? This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this proverb.


"No step on snek" is a rendition of the saying, "Don't tread on me." Don't tread on me is a common caption used on the "Gadsden Flag." However, the original flag has an artistic rendition of the coiled rattlesnake. The original meme of "no step on snek" features a crudely drawn snake that looks like it comes from a kid.

Benjamin Franklin said the rattlesnake never backed down from provocation, capturing "the temper and conduct of America." The original use of "tread" in the caption of the Gadsden flag means "stay away" or “leave me alone.” It refers to how government should not interfere in sovereign freedoms.

Right-wing affiliations adopted the saying as a motto in 2015, after the election of Donald Trump, as a sign of the resistance to the left-wing. However, the recent reiteration of the phrase is often used as an insult to right-wingers, claiming they are uneducated or stupid.

Example Usage

"A pedo was harassing me on VR Chat. I tried to tell him no step on snek. He went after me anyway, so I crashed his machine."

"The Canadian government is calling truckers terrorists. They keep telling them no step on snek."

"The Oath Keepers might as well adopt no step on snek as their symbol for their organization."

“Hey, no step on snek, okay? I've had enough of you guys pushing me around in this chatroom."


The origin of the proverb, "no step on snek," comes from the Gadsden Flag. The flag is a symbol of the civil war. After reading Benjamin Franklin's political cartoons featuring dismembered snakes, Christopher Gadsden ordered flags with the coiled rattlesnake design.

During 2015, a comic version of the flag surfaced featuring the badly-drawn coiled snake and the caption "No step on snek." Some people suggest that some parents' kids drawing they made at school went viral online.

However, it became a popular symbol for right-wingers. At the same time, some leftists would post the meme to mock the supposed "low IQ" of right-wingers and how their work looks like an uneducated person or a child.

Phrases Similar to No Step on Snek

  • Leave me alone.
  • I'm warning you.
  • Don't tempt the tiger.

Phrases Opposite to No Step on Snek

  • I submit.
  • I'm defenseless.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • No step on snek.

Ways People May Say No Step on Snek Incorrectly

Using "no step on snek" to warn people that there are snakes in the area is the inappropriate use of the phrase. This expression suits online use more than in real life, and if you were to use it in everyday conversation, not many people would know what you're referencing or what you are saying.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase No Step on Snek

You can use "no step on snek" in an online conversation in chatrooms like 4Chan and Reddit and streaming platforms like Twitch.

The meme is a crude rendition of the Gadsden flag, an image favored by right-wing supporters. You can use the phrase "no step on snek" when you're warning someone online to stop bullying you or that you won't tolerate their behavior.

Essentially, you are telling them to leave you alone. Some people suggest that the poorly drawn image and misspelling of "snake" are intentional and used as a mockery of right-wing groups that admire the flag.

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