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This Snake Plays Dead When Threatened

The North American hognose snake, aka “puff adder, aka “zombie snake”, has a taste for the dramatic. When threatened, this natural-born artist likes to play dead in the most overacted way imaginable.

The hognose snake got its first nickname, “puff adder”, for its main defense mechanism. To scare away threats, it sucks in air and spreads the skin around its head and neck like a cobra, hissing loudly and pretending to prepare for a vicious snake. But if that doesn’t work, it has another intriguing trick up its sleeve. And that’s where the second nickname, “zombie snake”, comes in. According to the Amphibians and Reptiles of North Carolina, if a predator isn’t impressed by the snake’s threatening display, it “will then feign death by opening its mouth, rolling over on its back, and writhing around. If turned over onto its belly, it will immediately roll again onto its back”.

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Meet the Man Who Gave Up His Job to Earn a Living from Playing Dead

56-year-old Chuck Lamb is quite literally dying to succeed. In 2005, he quit his job as an IT engineer to pursue a very, very bizarre hobby – playing dead. Today, he earns up to $1,500 a day for playing the dead guy in various films and TV shows. Who knew there was so much money to be earned in the afterlife, right?

It all started one evening when Chuck was watching an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, with his wife Tonya. He suddenly realized that he could actually put his corpse-like appearance to use. In the next one week, he set up his own website and uploaded a series of photos and videos with elaborate setups and one common element – ‘dead guy Chuck’. Tonya was brilliant with creating the scenes, making fake blood and having Chuck pose as being run over, crushed under a garage door, electrocuted by a toaster, and more.

“It started as a joke, we live in the mid-west and there aren’t many film opportunities,” said Chuck. “I just thought: ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to be on TV?’ How could we do that being nobodies. I had a dream that I was the dead body on Law & Order. I woke up and realized: you don’t need any talent to play dead! So Tonya made up fake blood and started photographing the poses. She’s the brains behind it, I’m just the hunk of meat that lies around ‘getting slaughtered’.”

Dead-Guy-Chuck

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