Life

This Instagram Collects Tattoos You Won't Believe People Have On Them Forever

We spoke to the man behind @snake___pit, the page that makes you say, "I cannot believe someone has this tattoo of a penis on their one and only human body."
15 July 2020, 8:00am
Who Runs the @snake___pit Instagram?
Photo via @snake___pit 

FYI: @snake___pit is extremely NSFW. So NSFW that it was difficult to find images to embed in this article.

If you've ever explored the depths of Tattoo Instagram – past the line drawings, the shaded sleeves, the cursive script and the many, many roses – chances are you'll have hit upon an account called @snake___pit. Run by tattoo artist Casper Mugridge, the account doesn't document the world's best tattoos, but those that stop you in your tracks as you're scrolling through your feed, and make you say, "I cannot believe someone has this tattoo of a penis on their one human body."

Genitals (a lot of them), sex, misspelled words and, in one case, a forehead tattoo of the Monster Energy logo are all represented down in the Snake Pit. It appears that this shock value is exactly what followers want, to the extent that the account now has an audience of over 600,000. People now clamour to get their tattoos featured on the page, the implication being not that the images on the grid are admirable, but that each is more eyebrow-raising and toe-curling than the last.

We called Casper to talk about running @snake___pit, the je ne sais quoi a tattoo has to possess to make it onto the page, and why these actually pretty disturbing tattoos are so popular.

VICE: Hey, Casper. When did you start the @snake___pit Insta, and why?
Casper Mugridge: I started in 2016, so it’s been four years now. I did have a couple of pages previously that were along the same lines. They were taken down by Instagram. I learned the hard way what I could get away with – apparently butt cracks are not acceptable. So I know what will get flagged and I know what won’t, and I think that’s why this one has become more successful. I’m surprised that this one has gotten as big as it has.

Originally I was just posting bad tattoos, but there’s really only so much of that. And people don’t really take pictures of bad tattoos – they have to be really bad for you to post them; just because it’s bad, doesn’t mean it’s interesting. That’s why I started diving into posting tattoos that are a little weirder. But that only goes so far, too. And that’s when I started to dip my toes into the really racy stuff, and it just blew up. People love that. I think, as far as tattooing goes, nothing’s shocking anymore. You get a skull tattoo – that’s not shocking. But you get a penis on you? Like, woah. That’s something to talk about. And now it’s got to the point where, at first, I was just posting what people were submitting, but now people go out of their way. Now people get tattoos and they try to get on the page. It’s bragging rights for a tattoo artist to get on it.

You have a really big following – when did the page start gaining traction?
It was so-so when it was just bad tattoos and weird tattoos, but the second it was, like, pornographic or really racy, that’s when it started to blow up. I have two other big accounts, and I could use them to catapult the page originally, but after that it did it all on its own. Originally I had to search for the content, but now the content comes to me.

How many submissions do you tend to get in a regular week?
I don’t even know. My DMs say “99+” all the time, so I just have to go in there and trawl through what people have submitted. There’s a never-ending supply, which I’m shocked about.

What’s your criteria for the tattoos you choose to post?
First of all, I really try to not post something I’ve already done. I’ve just been doing it long enough that I can tell what’s worthy of going on the page, versus what’s worthy of the story. I would say that a more B-list thing will go on the story. All the top shelf stuff goes on the grid.

Is there an indescribable quality which makes something “top shelf”?
Yes.

Why do you think people are so interested in seeing tattoos like the ones you post?
Because it’s exactly what it is. It’s shock value. Even if you have tattoos, you’re still shocked by them. I don’t think I’m shocked by much anymore – it still happens, but I think that whether you have tattoos or not, it’s crazy. Like, "I would never get that, holy shit. That’s happening! Someone has that on them forever." Every once in a while I get some stuff that I cannot post – I do get it. I know for sure it’ll get flagged in like two seconds.

Are any places particularly overrepresented in terms of weird tattoos?
Maybe Europe. People are a bit more willing to push the envelope. I see the same things with my other pages – North America is kind of safe images, the same body parts. Whereas stuff from other parts of the world are different subject matters, different body parts, pushing the envelope with images. So it’s the same thing.

What have been your most successful posts? Why do you think they did so well?
The biggest one that I noticed, because of the amount of comments and likes, was one where someone got a gigantic horse on their torso, and the dick of the horse was the dick of the guy. And it was huge. It was his whole torso. You can google it. It was insane. And huge. Maybe an average picture might get, I don’t know, 6,000 to 15,000 likes. It was like 67,000. It blew everything out of the water.

Do you have any personal favourite Snake Pit tattoos?
I think the stuff that’s not necessarily well done but, like, really bizarre. One of my very favourites is one that I posted a really long time ago, and was not well done. But it was a cat that was laying on a fishbowl, and the cat’s dick was in the water, being sucked off by the goldfish. It was very weird, and it was very badly done. But there was a certain appeal to it. Somebody at some point in time said, “This is a good idea. I would love to get this done on me forever.”

Have you got any Snake Pit-worthy tattoos yourself?
No. I’ve been getting tattooed for a long time. I have a few tattoos that are not my favourite, but they’re not nearly Snake Pit-worthy. They’re not funny, they’re not the best. At some point in time, I probably should get one specifically for Snake Pit. I probably have to.

What are your hopes for the future of the page?
Of course I want it to do well. I’m not going to go out of my way to do that, though. It kind of grows on its own. But I’m just trying to ride it, because I know that it could be taken down any day. I only need to get flagged so many times before Instagram will take it off. That could happen tomorrow, could happen two years from now. Realistically, I know that it’s just going to fizzle out in a ball of glory, so I’m trying to make the most of it while I can.