Snakes do not have external ears and thus, they can’t hear the way we listen to sounds. How do they sway their head in-line with the tune?
Animal Nutritionals has investigated this phenomenon. Do snakes really dance? Yes! But not on the sound of a flute! 🤷♀️
The pungi (Hindi: पुंगी) is a wind instrument, originating from the Indian subcontinent. The instrument consists of a reservoir into which air is blown and then channelled into two reed pipes. It is played with no pauses, as the player employs circular breathing. In street performances, the pungi is used for snake charming.
Surprise! Snakes do not have external ears, and thus, they can’t hear the way we listen to sounds. How do they sway their head in-line with the tune?
Snakes have a hearing organ inside their head, which is connected with their jawbones. Snakes can detect vibration of any sound by this hearing organ. Snakes jawbones can move up, down, left and right independently. As they crawl on the ground, they can detect the location of a sound by the movement of their jaws.
The vibrations of the sound pass from the skin to muscles and from muscles to the jawbones connected with the inner ears. Thus sound vibration reaches the inner ears and snakes can hear the sound. But they don’t hear in the same way we listen to sounds. They may hear a low-frequency sound.
Thus, when you see a snake dancing, it isn’t dancing! Rather just following the source of those vibrations… 🐍
More information you can find in the article “The world from the eyes of a snake”.