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Two-Headed Snake That Baffled the Internet Turns Out to Be a Caterpillar

Mar 27, 2017 11:02 AM EDT
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False alarm! Remember the photo of the two-headed snake that went viral over the past few days? It might actually be just a caterpillar.

A Spanish woman named Lujan Eroles posted photos and a video showing the weird creature. On the photos, she said it appeared to be a thick four-inch snake with "two heads, three eyes and weird skin."

While most were amazed and perplexed with the photo, experts shared their knowledge and suspected that it might just be a gaudy sphinx moth caterpillar or an elephant hawk moth caterpillar, United Press International reported.

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National Geographic said most hawk moth caterpillars are known to disguise themselves as snake-like creatures to appear dangerous and protect themselves from predators.

"Caterpillars are nature's hot dogs, with many other animals regarding them as a tasty snack," Katy Prudic, an entomologist at the University of Arizona told National Geographic.

"You think you've got this tasty hot dog you're going to eat, but it turns around and puffs up its head to make it look more like a snake," she says. "What happens is, the predator will often drop the prey or run away," she added.

What Eroles have captured is the hawk moth caterpillar's underside, which is color brown. In its defensive position, the caterpillar pulls his legs in and expands its front part to make it look like a serpent's head.

Hawk moth caterpillar are found in a range of habitats, including open countryside and gardens. They are one of the largest and most distinctive caterpillars to be found in the British Isles.

Daily Mail said that aside from mimicking a snake, other species of caterpillars have their own way to ward off predators. The report cited that the elephant hawkmoth caterpillar has two pairs of false big eyes to scare predators while saddleback caterpillars have hairs that secrete a toxic venom.

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