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Snake charming is the practice of pretending to hypnotise a snake by playing an instrument. A typical performance may also include handling the snakes or performing other seemingly dangerous acts, as well as other street performance staples, like juggling and sleight of hand. The practice is most common in India, though other Asian nations such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Malaysia are also home to performers, as are the North African countries of Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. Snake charmers typically walk the streets holding their serpents in baskets or pots hanging from a bamboo pole slung over the shoulder. Charmers cover these containers with cloths between performances. Dress in India, Pakistan and neighbouring countries is generally the same: long hair, a white turban, earrings, and necklaces of shells or beads. Once the performer finds a satisfactory location to set up, he sets his pots and baskets about him (often with the help of a team of assistants who may be his apprentices) and sits cross-legged on the ground in front of a closed pot or basket. He removes the lid, then begins playing a flute-like instrument made from a gourd, known as a been or pungi. As if drawn by the tune, a snake eventually emerges from the container; if a cobra, it may even extend its hood. Snakes ANIMAL rights group PETA has called on India's snake charmers to use fake reptiles during an upcoming serpent festival and spare the animals their annual torture. The Indian unit of US-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said snakes were abused during the annual Naag Panchami festival, which is celebrated in honour of a Hindu serpent god and is scheduled for August 30-31. PETA claimed snakes were cruelly captured in suffocating bags, kept in tiny boxes, starved or forced to drink milk. Their teeth are often violently torn out, and many snakes' mouths are sewn shut, it added. "There is no place in a civilised society for yanking snakes' teeth out and sewing their mouths shut," PETA India campaign coordinator Chani Singh said in a press statement. "PETA India is calling on snake charmers to rein in this egregious abuse by using fake snakes for God's sake," Mr Singh added, saying that realistic plastic or rubber snakes could be used instead. The most influential people in Sport PETA's statement was swiftly condemned by the Bedia Federation of India, a non-profit agency which represents the nomadic snake charmer community. "How can PETA accuse us of torturing and abusing snakes? We worship snakes, we would never want them to suffer and die," Raktim Das, the general secretary of the federation, told AFP. Mr Das said the call by PETA was nothing short of a publicity stunt aimed at making life more difficult for their 800,000-strong community which had been "living a life of penury" in the wake of strict wildlife laws. "Our livelihood has been snatched from us. There is no alternative employment opportunity for us. Where do we go and what do we do to earn a living?" Mr Das said. The snake charmers have long been a favourite with tourists in India but the practice was proscribed under wildlife legislation implemented in 2002. The Naag Panchami festival goes ahead regardless, with devotees worshipping snake pictures, idols or in some cases live serpents. A small number of charmers can still be spotted around major tourist sites in places like New Delhi, risking arrest as they cajole foreign visitors into taking a snapshot for a small fee.
I was able to stroke the snakes hood. http://blog.projectnoah.org/post/4599109...