Hi, Donna would you maybe be able to answer a few questions regarding snakes and their behaviour? We are doing an inquiry project on snake charming but haven't had much luck on direct info regarding the practice. Any information regarding snake charming would be awesome if you have any!

No problem.  I can tell you that in the vast majority of cases, 'snake charming' is a scam.  The animals have their fangs pulled, and/or their mouths sewn shut, so they are harmless.  This results in a slow and painful death for the animal.

While snakes are not, as is commonly believed, deaf, they don't have very good hearing.  They have no open ear canals, but they do have an inner ear.  However, cobras aren't interested in the sounds the flute player makes - they're simply reacting to the movement of the flute, turning to face the potential threat.

Cobras aren't actually interested in biting anyone - their display is meant to frighten away an attacker.  As a result, people can sometimes take what seems like foolhardy liberties with them, without the snake striking.  It's also possible to distract a cobra with movement (such as waving a hand), and touch the top of its head since its focus is elsewhere.

Snake charming is ALWAYS stressful for the snake (even in the best of cases), and very few snake charmers have the knowledge or means to take proper care of their snakes (even if they believe they do).  It is not a practice that should be encouraged.


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Donna Fernstrom


My particular focus is on snakes and lizards, but I have a decent smattering of knowledge of turtles and crocodilians as well, plus the experience to get relevant information quickly if I don't have it on hand in my brain. I can answer questions on captive care, diet, breeding, incubation of eggs, starting hatchlings, and more. I am particularly experienced with ball pythons, Lygodactylus geckos and other small lizards with similar care requirements, leopard geckos, and garter snakes.


I am a professional breeder of ball python morphs, Lygodactylus (dwarf) geckos, and mourning geckos. I have begun working with Irian Jaya carpet pythons, and plan to expand to include more gecko species in the future. I also have a background breeding leopard geckos, and have kept several other species of small lizards, snakes, and a water turtle.

Nebraska Herpetological Society (

I have many care sheets published on my own website.

High School Graduate. Extensively self-taught due to high interest in wildlife and reptile care.

Awards and Honors
Fauna Classifieds board of inquiry Good Guy Certification

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