The children who were doing their homework suddenly saw a snake with a hood; then, they were.....(rattled, panicked) How do you describe the mental condition of the children.
In similar case like that is:
The burglars who were packing the stolen goods suddenly saw the home owner standing before them. How do you describe the mental condition of the burglars.
Dear Dr. Appalayya:
I think the children would be more likely to panic. 'Rattled' is used when something happens that causes one to lose one's composure, but it is less dramatic than 'panicked':
As I was speaking, the projector lost power and I was forced to go on without the visual component of my presentation. Needless to say, I was a bit rattled at first, but I got through it.'
As for the burglars, they may have been 'speechless', and/or 'stunned.' They may have begun to 'tremble in fear' or they may have regained their presence of mind quickly and fled through a window.