Things That HYPNOTIZE Every Animal

Things That HYPNOTIZE Every Animal


Animals are known for acting a little crazy sometimes. It’s why we love them, right? But did you know you could instantly calm your cat down with a simple pinch in the right place? Or that even scary sharks can be made docile and harmless in mere seconds? Let's check out some surprising things that hypnotize all kinds of animals!

Hypno Hen

By holding a chicken down by the head and drawing a straight line in front of it, you can get any chicken to completely freeze for up to half an hour! It’s not magic. Researchers call the phenomenon “tonic immobility”, and it’s apparently a fear response to being restrained.

Essentially, when you grab a chicken like this, it innately senses that it’s in danger. So, it seizes up and fakes its own death. This sounds like a pretty terrible defense mechanism, but it actually makes sense. If a predator thinks its prey is dead, it’s more likely to relax its concentration, giving the hen an opportunity to break free of its paralysis and escape.

But what’s the line got to do with it? Well, it turns out, not a lot. The technique actually dates way back to the 1600s, when Italian monk Athanasius Kircher first started the strange practice as an experiment.

Kircher chicken experiment

Kircher would tie the hens’ feet together and lay them on the ground. After a short struggle, they’d stop moving. Then, Kircher would untie the hens and draw the chalk line. Still, the hens wouldn’t move, or even attempt to do so.

Therefore, Kircher believed that the hens thought the line was the string, still bound to their feet, and accepted their fate.

Since then, scientists have proven this to be untrue, and thus have also proven that the line does absolutely nothing. Though, you’ve gotta admit, it does give the whole trick a certain dramatic flair, which is no doubt why people still do it today.

Emusing Display

Some animals are cute as hell. Others are less so, and most people would put emus firmly in that latter category, as they’re absolutely terrifying. But if you ever come across a mob of those winged beasties, don’t worry!

One simple trick and you’ll have rendered them docile and curious rather than aggressive. And no, using a pocket watch like you see in the movies doesn’t work. Instead, simply lie back on your shoulders, peddle your legs like you’re riding an imaginary bicycle.

Watch on YouTube

Bizarrely, this very specific set of actions will trigger the emus to become overwhelmingly fascinated with you. So much so, they won’t be able to resist coming over to check out what’s going on!

Naturally, they’re very curious animals, so if they see anything out of the ordinary, they’re compelled to investigate. And what’s more out of the ordinary than a person lying on the ground, acting like they’re riding an upside-down bicycle?

We’re not sure why this exact technique was settled on, but supposedly it’s an old aboriginal trick used to lure in emus and catch them. The lanky birds can run up to a startling 30mph, so the aboriginals had to get creative about ensnaring them. In the end, curiosity killed the emu.

emu hunting

Hypno Hopper

You might be familiar with Futurama’s hypno-toad, but I bet you never thought it had any basis in reality. Unlike hypno-toad, real toads can’t hypnotize people, but they can be hypnotized! And you can do it with the very device you’re holding in your hands.

Just bring up a video of a spiral, whack it in front of them, and you'll have one hypnotized toadie. Or, if you’ve got more than one phone to hand, you can really trip them out. Spinning spirals are a common trope of hypnotism, but there’s no real evidence to suggest they should work on anything. So, we’re not sure why they work so well on toads.

Hypnotise Animals Thumbnail Creative 04

Perhaps they’re stunned into submission by the sensory overload. If you were suddenly surrounded by huge, bright, spinning spirals, you’d probably be a little off whack too. Or maybe they just find it too riveting to look away.

Charmed, Not Charming

Snake charmers play a special reed instrument called a “pungi”, which they use to entrance their serpents. Or, at least, it looks like they’re entrancing them.

When the snake sees the pungi, it perceives it as a threat, and responds to it as if it’s a predator, by rising up in a defensive pose. As the snake charmer moves the pungi from side to side, the snake matches this movement, in case the pungi attacks.

playing pungi

But the snake won’t attack first, because snake charmers always use cobras, which are naturally very non-aggressive! As for the music? The cobras can’t even hear it! They don’t have external ears, so the most they can pick up are low-frequency rumbles. The tune is just for dramatic effect.

They’re not exactly getting hypnotized then, but it still counts as the snakes can’t help but respond to the pungi! Even if it’s not quite hypnotism though, it’s definitely hiss-notism.

Shook Up Sharks

Remember how the chicken from earlier was put into a state of tonic immobility? Well, sharks can be put into this state too! However, not with the same technique: you'd need to turn them upside down!

With a hell of a lot of skill, it’s possible to flip a shark over, and in doing so, paralyze it. Turning one upside down is thought to trigger the same fear response chickens have when you hold them down, forcing it to enter the trance-like state known as tonic immobility.

paralyzing shark

The muscles of the shark relax, and its breathing becomes slow, deep, and rhythmic. Then, it’ll zone out for several minutes, as if sleeping! And there you have it: one of the biggest predators of the sea, reduced to a floating seafood stick in seconds.

Why such a formidable creature would have an innate fear response that renders it completely vulnerable isn’t entirely known, though. For this reason, some scientists disagree with the theory entirely, and instead reckon it’s something to do with their mating rituals.

Whatever the reason, researchers practice the technique frequently when studying the big fish. It only works with specific species of shark though, like reef sharks. So don’t get any ideas if you ever cross paths with a great white! If that happens, at least the shark will be getting a good dinner.


Controlling Cuttlefish

So far, we’ve only looked at animals being subjected to hypnotism, but one creature can actually perform it too! Cuttlefish are freaky looking mollusks, and their skin is made from millions of specialized cells called chromatophores, which allow them to change color at will!

This extraordinary power is brilliant for camouflage, but they use it for a lot more than just that. When cuttlefish hunt, they transform their whole bodies into bright, pulsating light shows.

Watch on YouTube

This hypnotic display grabs the attention of any shrimp, crab, or small fish that’s around, and lures them closer to the cuttlefish. Then, it’s time to strike! In a split second, the cuttlefish shoots its tentacles forward, grabs hold of its hypnotized prey, and pulls them in for the kill. Once that light show’s got you, you can’t scuttle from the cuttle.

cuttlefish hunting

Stupefying Spinner

If cat videos are your guilty pleasure, you’ll know the freaky felines can’t resist playing with a fidget spinner. The little spinning toys are so hypnotic, they can keep cats transfixed for hours. But have you ever wondered why your feline friends get so obsessed with them?

It’s all about their strong hunting instincts: cats think the toys could be mice or other small creatures, so they give them a good poke to investigate.

cat with fidget spinner

When a fidget spinner doesn’t squeal and scamper away though, you’d imagine the cat would quickly lose interest in it. However, they remain mysteriously mesmerized even despite knowing it’s not food. Perhaps that innate drive to hunt is so strong that it overrides any sense of logic.

Shell Shock

Did you know you can hypnotize a lobster into doing a headstand? No, I’m not joking, and at this point, you shouldn’t really be surprised. All you need to do is flip it over, using its claws for support, and stroke its back a few times!

Things That HYPNOTIZE Every Animal

As if by magic, the lobster will be rendered completely motionless! But why would anyone want to do this? Well, chefs use the technique to keep the clawed crustaceans still, before cooking them alive.

Despite how common the practice is, very little research has been done into how it actually works. Stroking it might relax the lobster in a similar way to a dog, so it drops its guard and allows you to turn it upside down.

Once upside down, some people reckon the blood rushing to its head causes it to pass out – the same as humans if we’re upside down for too long.

lobster immobilized

Others believe immobilization is a last-ditch defense mechanism to trick predators into thinking it's dead. Little do the poor critters know they’re just making their own demise even easier! What a claw-ful way to go.


If you’ve got a cat, you’ll know that as lovable as they can be, they can also be pretty darn feisty, especially if you need to pick them up. However, there’s a super-effective method you can use to instantly calm any cat down, no matter how riled up they are!

Just grab a bulldog clip or clothing peg, clip it onto the scruff of your cat’s neck, and they will calm down instantly!

Watch on YouTube

And all you have to do to lift the spell is unclip the peg again. Pretty crazy, but why does it work? Well, it’s all down to instinct. When you clip a cat’s scruff, the cat gets the exact same feeling of calm and protection that it did when carried by its mother.

This innate soothing effect is so strong that even without the mother actually present, cats will succumb to it almost immediately. Not that it only works on kittens, it has the same effect on many adult cats as well! So, next time you need to clip your kitty’s nails, give it a go, it’s a pretty paw-some hack!

cat clipping

Moo-sical Madness

It’s pretty rare to meet a human that doesn’t like music. We don’t really think of animals enjoying it but some really do, to the point it has such a dramatic effect on them, it’s like hypnosis!

And cows are one of the animals most affected by a banging tune. The musical mooers just can’t resist that sweet, sweet music! Before long, they’re absolutely captivated.

Watch on YouTube

It turns out, just like us, cows find music calming and relaxing. So much so that it has a sedating, hypnotic effect on them! And they have musical taste, too! Classical and jazz music has been proven to relax them, whereas more upbeat music can stress them out.

So, Beethoven is great for cows, but Skrillex not so much. What’s more, relaxed cows with low stress levels produce more milk, so farmers have good reason to put on gigs for them! Who’s ready for the next MilkFest?

Farmyard Fainters

For a certain breed of goat though, fainting is a big problem, because it can be triggered by anyone, without fail. All you have to do is give the goat a good scare, and it’ll seize up and fall over every time.

Watch on YouTube

Goats with the fainting trait are called “myotonic” goats, and the dramatic reaction is a result of a rare genetic disorder called myotonia congenita. They’re not actually fainting, their skeletal muscles are tightening in response to a shock, which causes them to fall over.

Usually, they’re awake throughout, so it’s just like they’re being hypnotized, they can’t help but fall over, even though they’re fully conscious! Luckily, it doesn’t hurt them, and they’ll bounce right back up again once the stiffness goes away.

goats fainting

Cat Trap

If you want to try a bit of feline mind control but don’t have any clips to hand, never fear! Just grab some tape, mark out a shape on the floor, and wait. Your curious kitty is pretty much guaranteed to walk over to it and sit in the middle! And it’s kicked up quite a fuss on social media.

If you’re wondering why on earth this works, apparently, it’s all to do with making the cat feel safe and secure. You might’ve noticed they love tucking themselves into tight spaces, and that’s because it gives them a strong sense of security.

cat trap

Oddly enough though, they don’t differentiate a two-dimensional shape on the floor from something like a cardboard box. So, they’ll feel just as compelled to go and sit in it, even though they’re really no safer than they would be out in the open! It’s like hacking into their brains or something.

Therefore, if you want your cat to hang out in a specific room rather than jump all over your furniture, you know what to do! Now, if only there was a way to do this with annoying family members.

Beguiled Bunny

Everyone’s seen a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat, but that’s just a cheap trick. Something far more impressive is putting a rabbit into a legitimate trance, and it’s surprisingly easy!

Just place one on its back in the crook of your arm, raise its rump above its head, and give it a stroke. It’ll close its eyes and become immobilized in no time at all! This is another case of tonic immobility.

rabbits in trance

Rabbits are innately hardwired to think they’re being targeted by a predator if they’re flipped over. So, like other animals we’ve seen, as a last resort they go into this state in the hope the predator will let their guard down and drop them.

In days gone by, magicians would perform this trick as part of their act. Nowadays though, we know it’s actually very cruel. Despite their relaxed outer appearance, rabbits are put under a lot of stress when immobilized like this. Their heart rate can rise to a dangerous level, and even be fatal!

rabbit stress

So, if you’ve got a bouncy fluffer of your own, please, don’t do this to them, or it’ll be anything but a happy bunny. Fortunately, not every animal prone to tonic immobility hates it so much. Like rabbits, if a lizard is placed on its back, it’ll assume it’s under threat and fake its own death.

Unlike rabbits though, lizards don’t freak out when this happens. So, you can pull off a bit of reptilian hypnosis without any accompanying guilt. And when the little guy thinks the coast is clear, he’ll pop right back up and make an escape.

lizard faking death

Bobbin’ Birds

Sometimes a song is so good it can feel hypnotic. In fact, it’s well known that music has powerful effects on the human brain, and recent studies show that some birds can be heavily influenced by a funky beat too!

All you need to do is stick on a groovy tune and watch, they can’t help but bob along. One particularly musical cockatoo called Snowball became famous back in 2007, when he was found to both headbang and stomp his feet to the rhythm!

Watch on YouTube

Scientists studying the cockatoo discovered that the bird’s love of big beats was related to its ability to mimic sounds. Animals that can do this, like parrots, are more inclined to get down. Other animals, like cats and dogs, have no ability to mimic the sounds they hear, so lack the right brain circuitry to bop to the beat.

Music and rhythm are heavily intertwined, so if you can’t mimic the music itself, you’re gonna have a hard time mimicking the rhythm. The weird thing is just how much a tune seems to entrance the birds. It’s like they have no choice but to shake those feathers!

War Weasels

Despite looking a lot cuter than The Terminator, weasels are just as efficient at being ruthless killing machines. So, it’s no surprise that they’ve got it down to a rather hypnotic art.

Before the fierce furballs strike their prey, they begin darting about, twisting and jumping in an erratic performance dubbed the “weasel war dance”.

weasel war dance

The theory is, this wildly wacky show is an attempt to confuse and hypnotize their prey. You see, instead of running away, the victim is stunned by the dance and watches it, transfixed.

And by this point, it’s already game over. The weasel corners and grabs its prey, wraps its muscular body around the animal to restrain it, and then delivers a deadly bite to the back of its neck. There’s no way you’d be weaseling your way out of that one!

weasel attack

Laser Quest

When you’re lying all comfy in bed at night, there’s nothing worse than realizing one of the lights is on and having to get up to turn it off. But if you have a laser pointer and a pet cat, then that problem is a thing of the past.

Watch on YouTube

And it works so well because cats get absolutely obsessed with those red dots, they become completely hypnotized. So, if you get your hands on a laser pointer, you can make them go pretty much wherever you like.

Essentially, cats’ hunting instincts mean their brains are wired to follow anything that’s fast moving, because their prey tends to scurry about. Therefore, when they see the zipping red light, they’re compelled to give chase.

But if you try this, just be careful where you point that laser, or you could end up with a cat-astrophe on your hands.

Watch on YouTube

Trout Trancing

Fish are notoriously slippery suckers, which is why it’s hard enough to catch them with a rod, never mind with your bare hands. But there’s a hypnotic secret that makes plucking trout out of the water surprisingly easy.

If you can get close enough to the fish without scaring it off, quickly bend down and rub its underbelly with your fingers, as though giving it a tickle. Despite sounding practically impossible, it can be done.

And if it’s done properly, the tickled trout will slip into a dazed trance for a couple of seconds, making it just about possible for you to snatch it out of the water!

Things That HYPNOTIZE Every Animal

Trout tickling isn’t some new-fangled YouTube trend, either, it’s been practiced for centuries, and even comes up in a Shakespeare play! Apparently, they love the sensation, which is why they stop moving long enough for you to be able to pick them up. It all sounds a bit fishy, but it works!

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