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Do snakes hypnotize their prey?

by jimmy1200
Tags: hypnotize, prey, snakes
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jimmy1200
#1
Jan31-05, 12:14 PM
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now most websites say "no they dont, but the animal may be paused in fear", and that obviously doesnt answer the question. what is fear? how do we know that the animal is not hypnotized by the snake. this question came from some book i found on mind power and the author mentioned it, so i went to google this subject and im still doing it now, but do any of you have info on this or any animal that is capable of doing this, or has been known to have a myth or two about being capable of this technique. its hard to say "no it doesnt do this". i believe its just some superior point of view man is trying to take over animals seemingly "mythical" abilities. rather than actually see whats really going on here. well back to researching. what could this mean if the snake is really doing this. the stories the author mentioned, not only were snake vs prey(animal), but also snake vs human, were the human started hallucinating, from things like the snake growing in size, to all kinds of colors surrounding the snake.
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NateTG
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Jan31-05, 01:03 PM
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Snakes typically strike (bite) very quickly, and then either wrap themselves around the thing they're going after (constrictors) or wait for it to die (venom). It's entirely possible that there are snakes that trigger various strange behaviors before they strike in particular animals, but 'hypnotism' is not a general snake behavior. Snakes in general have special mytical and folkloric importance and are frequently associated with cunning, intelligence, and mental ability so from a folklore perspective, they would be associated with it. There mythological associations with snake hypnotism like Kaa in Kipling's Jungle Books.
Gonzolo
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Jan31-05, 01:43 PM
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What kind of snake bites and constricts? I always thought a given species either did one or the other.

NateTG
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Jan31-05, 03:20 PM
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Do snakes hypnotize their prey?

Quote Quote by Gonzolo
What kind of snake bites and constricts? I always thought a given species either did one or the other.
AFAIK, constrictor snakes (typically) bite their prey so that they can hold on to it, and then wrap around it. They do not have fangs, but do have small teeth.
DocToxyn
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Jan31-05, 03:30 PM
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Quote Quote by Gonzolo
What kind of snake bites and constricts? I always thought a given species either did one or the other.
Many of the colubrids or constrictors will bite first (there's no envenomation, simply seizing the prey) then wrap, constrict and suffocate the prey item. The prey is generally held by both the jaws and the constricting body until it is no longer responding, after whih the snake releases the coils and sometimes the mouth, finds the head, and swallows the food item.

I don't buy the hypnotism idea, the predominant trigger for most snake species to bite, whether in defense or prey capture, is vicinity. Once the snake has determined it should bite the item it does so, and it is doubtful it waits to lock eye contact. I wouldn't expect eye contact to be a beneficial action in prey capture since this facilitates the prey seeing the predator. Along that vein, the majority of prey captures by snakes occur without the prey knowing it, good camouflage, night-time captures using infared detection (pit vipers), so again more fuel against the "hypnotic capture".
matthyaouw
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Jan31-05, 04:25 PM
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How exactly do you define hypnotism in this context?
Gonzolo
#7
Jan31-05, 05:29 PM
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Cool. I imagine they can stalk and bite, but assume they can't spring forward like the venomous kind. (a photo of an Anaconda in a "don't-bug-with-me" position would make my jaw drop.)
matthyaouw
#8
Feb1-05, 07:34 AM
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Hypnotise:

1- An artificially induced altered state of consciousness, characterized by heightened suggestibility and receptivity to direction.
2- Hypnotism.
3- A sleeplike condition.
From: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=hypnosis

With this defenition, I'd say no, a snake cannot hypnotise a creature. I would say the state which you describe is more like temporary shock, like an animal caught in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle.

An article about hypnosis: http://skepdic.com/hypnosis.html
jimmy1200
#9
Feb1-05, 03:20 PM
P: 46
well from the documented stories, snakes have been known to "stun" their prey before eating it,and in some cases they would open their mouth and wait for the prey to walk into its mouth. this is not done secretly, but within a wide open area, face to face, which brings up the question of why would the prey walk into a death trap, unless it was influenced to do so. thanks for the responses, but the question is still raised.

edited:is the prey really stunned, or is it being influenced by the predator
DaveC426913
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Feb1-05, 03:53 PM
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I think it's related to one of the following, but I don't know which is true:
- some animals tend to freeze when they spot certain forms of movement, in an attempt to evade predators

- some animals can't see movement very well if its slow enough. It's possible that snakes have adapted the ability to "sneak in under the radar" of their prey.
DocToxyn
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Feb1-05, 09:40 PM
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Quote Quote by jimmy1200
well from the documented stories,
It would surely benefit this thread if you could produce some of the documented stories for us to review. If the ability of snakes to compel their prey to willingly submit to consumption indeed exists, it would have to be widely documented and recognized.

Quote Quote by jimmy1200
snakes have been known to "stun" their prey before eating it,and in some cases they would open their mouth and wait for the prey to walk into its mouth. this is not done secretly, but within a wide open area, face to face, which brings up the question of why would the prey walk into a death trap, unless it was influenced to do so. thanks for the responses, but the question is still raised.

edited:is the prey really stunned, or is it being influenced by the predator
The word "stun" suggests incapacitation which would then make it difficult for the prey item to waltz on into the waiting jaws of the snake, some clarification is required.

I don't profess to be an expert on snakes, but I have made a significant effort to study herpetology by owning and/or working with numerous snake (and other reptile) species and studying with herpetology researchers. The closest thing I can relate your description to would be caudal luring practiced by certain snake species such as death adders, juvenile green tree pythons, some viper species, etc. The "influence" over the prey is by attracting them to approach the hidden snake by wriggling the tip of the tail to mimic a food item of the snake's intended prey. The animal could be viewed as "walking up to" the snake since it apparently is pursuing prey for itself, when in reality the opposite is true. However in this case I doubt the snake has its mouth open wide enough for the food to enter since snakes typically go after prey items much larger than the mouth and opening its mouth to accommodate such an item would restrict its senses of sight and smell (driven by tongue/Jacobson's organ interaction) thus reducing its ability to capture the prey.

It also stands that if snakes could simply convince the prey item to sacrifice itself, then why would they develop such elaborate (and risky) capture techniques as venom injection or constriction.


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