Those who do it for a living - so-called ‘snake-charmers.’ Most are illiterate or barely educated and it’s generally a hereditary profession. Between Mysore and Bangalore alone there are about 119 families, while the number for Karnataka is approximately 1,000. More >>
Many snake charmers live a wandering existence, visiting towns and villages on market days and during festivals. With a few rare exceptions, however, they typically make every effort to keep themselves from harm's way. For one, the charmer typically sits out of biting range, and his animal is sluggish and reluctant to attack anyway. More drastic means of protection include removing the creature's fangs or venom glands, or even sewing the snake's mouth shut. The most popular species are those native to the snake charmer's home region, typically various kinds of cobra, though vipers and other types are also used. More >>
Conservationists or rescuers: They catch a snake in as humane a way as possible, and then release it into a safe habitat like a wildlife sanctuary/forest. There are about 15 in Karnataka. And since they don’t get paid for it and are doing it out of a passion for the snake, they hold regular bread-and-butter jobs.