Can snakes hear? How do they respond to charmers’ mahudi?

Snakes are stone deaf, yet they respond to charmers’ mahudi. Though this appears a contradiction the fact is that snakes actually respond to vibrations produced on the ground and not to the sound waves produced by the mahudi, in the air. Snakes do not have ears; instead they have a long bony rod called columella auris that extends from fenestra oval is to the quadrate bone. It is this bone which helps the snake to detect the vibrations.

One would have noticed that charmers first hit the ground with the pipe before playing it. The snake picks up the vibrations on the ground thus caused and comes out. When the snake charmer sways his pipe as he plays, up, down and forward, the snake too sways its body in the direction of the mahudi, only considering it as an object to be targeted and not because it follows the music. In some experiments, snakes have responded even without the ground tap because in these cases the tin in which the snake is housed is made to vibrate by the music (air waves) generating from the pipe.