Essay

How Snake Charmers “Hypnotize” Cobras

Can you hypnotize a cobra, like snake charmers do?

When snake charmers hypnotise cobras, what exactly is happening inside? Are they merely agitated or are they hypnotised? Let’s investigate this age-old custom and discover the principles of snake charm.

What IS Snake Charming?

This ancient custom includes a human, a little reed pipe known as a pungi, and a snake in a basket. The several cobra species indigenous to the areas where snake charmers are from are the most prevalent snakes. While Egyptian and Indian cobras are the two most popular varieties, charmers also work with other kinds.

The origins of snake charm are so ancient that it is difficult to identify them precisely. While some argue in favour of India, others think it started in ancient Egypt.

Healers who were skilled in treating snakebites and removing them from dwellings were likely among the first people to charm snakes. As time went on, the custom became an art form in which charmers would accompany the snake while playing the pungi.

The snake charmers of today appear to be doing a complex dance with the serpent. Both snakes and audiences are captivated by the enigmatic and seductive movements. But how does it function?

How a Snake Charmer Charms a Cobra

During the show, the cobra captivates audiences with its astonishing actions of expanding its spectacular hood, lifting its body, and following the snake charmer’s direction. When you combine the unique, low-pitched drone sound produced by the pungi with its thin, higher-pitched sound, you have an amazing display that everybody can enjoy. It involves deft handling of snakes and a small amount of danger.

The snakes appear to be listening to the music, yet they are not equipped with external ears. Many claim that snakes are totally deaf and that the only sounds they can “hear” are vibrations coming from the earth. Even the experts disagree on the extent of their hearing.

Others, however, draw attention to the fact that many snake species have fully developed inner ear structures in addition to the jaw’s quadrate bone, which aids in sound transmission. According to certain research, snakes have a peak sensitivity of between 80 and 300 Hz, depending on the species, and can detect sounds in the 50 to 1000 Hz range both on the ground and in the air. However, nothing is conclusive.

Therefore, it’s very likely that the snake is reacting to the sound in some way. But our understanding of snake hearing is insufficient to say how it impacts them or how they react to sound in the air. The studies are still in their early stages and have a narrow focus.

Why Cobras Rise and Spread Their Hoods

Snake charmers profit from the cobras’ innate ability to repel possible attackers and be vigilant about objects that pose a threat to their life.

Yes, the hood of a cobra serves as a defensive device. Like other creatures, the cobra prefers to appear larger in order to avoid having to fight and instead live to fight another day.

Consider this: even if the snake wins a fight with a human, it still loses. Therefore, it puts on a good show by lifting its body off the ground and spreading its hood in an attempt to stop that fight from ever happening. Another benefit of lifting their body off the ground is improved vision! There are cobras that can even spit venom at their assailants.

The actions of the snake charmers keep the cobras agitated and focused on what they see as a threat, far from hypnotising them.

The Dark Side of Snake Charming’s Performances

Regretfully, there is more to snake charm than meets the eye. Some people keep the snakes hungry and thirsty, which makes them move more slowly. The snake’s mouth has been sewn shut by others! In other instances, the venom glands and fangs of the cobra are removed.

Aside from the brutality of some snake charmers’ acts, snakes are frequently taken from the wild and used for shows. Removing certain endangered snake species from the wild can have negative effects on wild populations.

they nations have outlawed the practice of snake charmers due to issues with the methods used to collect their performance animals and the cruelty they inflict on their snakes. Many snake charmers, however, have noted that by employing their skills to handle these deadly animals and remove venom, they may contribute to medical research.

It’s vital to remember that not all snake charmers mistreat their creatures. The majority revere cobras and other reptiles. These customs are passed down from father to son, and science and medicine may greatly benefit from the abundance of knowledge they hold.