In September 2022, readers inquired about a video posted to Facebook that appeared to show the head of a snake poking out of a woman's ear. The clip was uploaded on Aug. 31 with a Hindi-language caption that translated to "snake in ear."
The hands of a person with gloves could be seen using tweezers and other tools, purportedly to free the snake from the woman's ear. Various news stories from around the world referred to this person as a "doctor" or a "surgeon."
A Lack of Information
We grabbed several thumbnails from the video and ran them through reverse image search websites. However, those efforts returned zero results. This indicated to us that the video was likely relatively new and wasn't a repost from months or years before.
It's unclear in which country the "snake in ear" video was recorded. We also don't know the kind of snake that was shown, nor could we find information for the names of the woman and the person whose hands were visible. Several websites that appeared to be based in India published reports, but none contained any new details.
Possibly Recorded in India
The video was posted by an account bearing the name of Chandan Singh. The location information for the user displayed the city of Patna in India.
The account also showed that Singh had five Facebook friends and more than 20,000 followers. The disparity in these two numbers seemed a bit strange and reminded us of fake accounts from some of our past investigations of inauthentic content on Facebook.
The Decapitated Snake Theory
Comments under the Facebook video and on Reddit hypothesized that the head was cut off of the snake and then placed in the woman's ear. What would the point be of this? According to several comments, users believed the video had been faked to help it go viral.
For example, one Facebook user commented, "Looks like they cut the head off a live snake and shoved it in her ear. The head can remain alive and continue biting for some time. This is not a medical video but horrific animal abuse." (It's true that the head of a decapitated snake can still move and potentially bite, according to LiveScience.com.)
A Reddit user asked, "Wtf why does [the video] end without showing the snake coming out?" Another person answered, "Because it's just the head. They chopped off the head and stuck it in there to make it look like a whole snake was inside. The twitching is normal even after it's been severed."
We reached out to the user who originally posted the video to Facebook but did not receive a response.
The explanation of the decapitated snake might be the truth. Also, the idea of a small snake backing itself into a human's ear does seem unlikely. However, we don't establish one of our more conclusive fact-check ratings based on guesses of likelihood. Without further evidence, we have rated the rumor of the "snake in ear" video as "Unproven."
dmtoad. “Instructions Not Clear, Got Snake Stuck In.......” r/WTF via Reddit, 12 Sept. 2022, www.reddit.com/r/WTF/.
Geggel, Laura. “Decapitated Snake Head Bites Man. But How?” LiveScience.com, 7 June 2018, https://www.livescience.com/62771-decapitated-rattlesnake-bites-man.html.
Singh, Chandan. “Snake in Ear.” Facebook, 31 Aug. 2022, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100078698452814.