In snake-prone areas like Texas, finding a snake in your boot can pose a genuine threat, potentially leading to fatal consequences, especially if the snake is venomous.
The phrase's popularity grew with Woody from Toy Story, potentially linking it to the Old West's reality of snakes in cowboy boots.
In 1847, "seeing snakes" was used metaphorically to suggest Southern Federalists imagining non-existent scenarios, their minds deceiving them.
The idiom's colorful meaning of perceiving unreal things can be attributed to the tendency of individuals in snake-populated areas to mistake harmless objects, like sticks or hoses, for snakes, offering a plausible explanation for its origin.
Another theory suggests a darker origin, attributing the phrase to hallucinations experienced by heavily intoxicated individuals who might mistake untied boots for snakes.
Similar to seeing pink elephants during alcohol withdrawal, hallucinating individuals may exclaim "There's a snake in my boot!" when perceiving untied boot laces as snakes.