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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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Caterpillars Don’t Have Lungs, But Somehow This One Can Scream to Keep Predators Away

Apart from the sound they make while chewing on leaves, the vast majority of caterpillars are silent creatures. However, the Nessus sphinx hawkmoth caterpillar is able to produce clicking noises that sounds a lot like static, as a self-defense mechanism, and scientists believe they discovered how.

Insects have no lungs, but some of them can be really noisy. While humans and most other vertebrates make noise by forcing air out of their bodies, insects and larvae don’t have that luxury. Some of them have adapted, rubbing, knocking or vibrating parts of their bodies to produce distinctive sounds, the kind you hear when you open a window on a quiet summer night, but the Nessus sphinx hawkmoth caterpillar doesn’t fall into that category. When threatened, it produces a strange sound that resembles a combination of cracking and spitting, by pushing air through a constriction between its two foregut chambers, even though it has no lungs.

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