Category Archives: Safety Issues

Snake Charming Children

By Erika Chen-Walsh

Herp Alliance is strongly opposed to any contact between children and venomous animals.

These images depict children in Sri Lanka and India being trained in “snake charming.”  Snake charming is the practice of pretending to hypnotize 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.


18-Child Snake Charmers of India 14



Children and Large Snakes at an Asian Zoo

By Erika Chen-Walsh

These photos were taken at an Asian zoo.  Herp Alliance is posting them, not because we condone them, but because we invite a discussion on what is responsible and what is safe. Our records indicate that there has been no harm to a child by a snake in the context of an educational encounter, a zoo or a circus, at least since 1990 in the United States, suggesting that self policing by the people and organizations responsible for these opportunities have been successful in protecting the public.  Nonetheless, we invite your comments on these photos and on this topic here or on our Facebook page at