“I started catching snakes in 1990. I had a small cafe in my village Saboya. It was a traditional cafe, not a big deal. The snake hunters come a few times a week and stopped for a tea in my coffee because the area is known for its cobras. In general, the people of the region did not like the snake hunters nevertheless still felt comfortable in my cafe. They didn’t seem to be bothered. They used to find a lot of snakes in the forest around the village. When they returned from hunting, I was always afraid to see what they had caught. I was running upstairs while they were separating the snakes from each other. They were talking to them as they stood them out, with sacred phrases and words to make the other people believe that only certain people could manage snakes. But with time, I realized that none of this was true. It was just a game they were playing to keep people away from what they were doing. They never told me how to catch snakes or how to work with them. Instead, they told me to go away because the poisonous snakes are really dangerous. But from all I heard, at some point I found myself wanting to try to catch snakes. Most snake hunters have someone who teaches them how the process is, but I’ve never had any lessons from anyone. I am self-taught. In time, I discovered that I was literally addicted to snake hunting. No one in my family ever had to do with snakes, everyone was afraid them…The first time I went out to hunt, I found a place, I made some tea and started looking for traces of snakes. I found one near a big tree. After that I found some birds flying close to the ground. Normally, the birds follow the snake when it moves and I knew that some big birds eat the snakes. I could see from the traces that there was a big cobra somewhere there, and at first started following her traces and when I found her I was looking for to find the right place to catch her. . I didn’t know much yet. I was trying to get her into a hole, but later I found out that was easier to grap her out of the hole. Soon, I found the right time.I grabbed her from the back and held her head with a stick then grabbed her with my other hand and threw her into the bag.From that moment, I began to hunt snakes and give performances with them .The hunting of snakes more than anything else is an adventure!!Many people die because of them. There is no specific technique one can use. If they bite me, I’m in danger. You are always in danger until you stop a snake’s head. If you can control the head, you are safe As for the drums or the music that most people generally think they bring the snake into a state of ecstasy is not true.. Everything is just part of the performance, as the snake’s behavior does not change. The snake charmer profession I liked more than having a coffee shop. My photos are now everywhere in the world but I am still here in Bou-Jerif.”The Saboya snake charmer feels satisfied with his life. He says he has everything he needs and enjoys the challenge of what he is doing. He shows the place where he lives. He has bees , in the backyard of his home and cultivates various plants that give him food. His snakes live in buckets out there with no names he says the cobras seem to recognize him, “a little.” but the vipers do not seem to recognize him at all.
Trip to Morocco: A Moroccan snake charmer recounts