Snake Charming School for Kids

When other kids are going to kindergarten, the children of the nomadic Indian tribe of Vadi are also going to school of sorts. Except that the ABCs aren't in the curriculum - instead, these kids are learning to be snake charmers with real cobras:

Divided between the sexes, the act of snake charming with traditional flute is the role of the men, while the Vadi women care for the snakes and handle them when their husbands or brothers are not around.

'The training begins at two, the children then are then taught the ancient ways of snake charming until they are ready to take up their roles in our community,' said chief snake charmer Babanath Mithunath Madari, 60.

'At twelve the children will know everything that they can know about snakes.

'They are then ready to continue the traditions of the Vadi tribe which can be stretched back over one thousands years to India's great Raja's (kings).'

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Snake charming is illegal, and very cruel. Most of the snakes rescued from snake charmers suffer from severe dehydration. Some of the rescued snakes have badly infected mouths as a result of the improper and unhygienic techniques employed by snake charmers to remove their fangs and venom glands. Often, the mouths of pythons are tied with small plastic ropes to ensure that they do not bite when they are taken out by the snake charmer for display on roadsides, and used to beg for money from the general public.
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