Q. Can animals be hypnotized?A. “Tonic immobility” is the term for this, where you rub the abdomen of a rabbit or hold a chicken on its back and cover its eyes for a minute, then it will lie still for some time, says Cornell animal behavior veterinarian Katherine Houpt. Or you can swing the chicken back and forth with its head beneath its wing.Other techniques seem to bring on a trance-like state, such as stroking the tentacles of an octopus or the stomach of an alligator or crocodile–if you have the courage, adds University of Sydney, New South Wales, veterinary anatomist Michael Bryden. “In each case, the animal might just lie motionless, and permit simple procedures to be done on it.”This has also been used by fishermen, who grab the tip of a shark’s tail and bend it over, rendering the accidentally netted catch “immediately unresponsive, almost catatonic for 30-90 seconds,” reports “Diver” magazine. The hook can then be removed and the shark let free–and saved.Is any of this really hypnosis? “Tough to say,” answers Ohio State veterinary surgeon David Anderson. Animals can’t relate their experiences to us, at least not in a way we can understand. “I’ve observed alpacas and llamas ‘calmed’ into a state of relaxation by gently rubbing the upper gum just beneath the cleft in the upper lip. The animals stop resisting being held, and stop vocalizing.“But I have not observed any results from suggestions I have made to them while they are in this state!”... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.