In the wild, it’s important for insects to be able to protect themselves from animals that want to eat them. So many other creatures try to make them their next tasty meal, after all, so it helps for insects to have a special way to throw predators off their tracks.
For some insects, this means being able to blend in seamlessly with their surroundings in order to stay hidden and remain safe. Others might make a noise in an attempt to scare off anything thinking of turning them into lunch!
One insect takes this protective urge a little too seriously, however. One woman in Spain discovered this firsthand after she walked through her building’s courtyard and noticed a strange sound…
Luján Eroles was crossing her courtyard after working in her garden in Spain when she noticed something squirming at her feet. She bent down to get a closer look and gasped: it was a tiny, two-headed snake!
Baffled by her find, Luján snapped some images and shared them with her friends, who quickly weighed in. While the animal did look like some sort of mutant snake, the consensus was that it wasn’t a snake at all! Luján didn’t understand. If it wasn’t a snake, what else would explain the pattern on its skin and its two heads?
It turns out that this “mutant snake” was actually an elephant hawk moth caterpillar. These caterpillars camouflage themselves to look like snakes in order to scare off predators. Their “two heads” are another form of camouflage to confuse larger predators into thinking that the caterpillar is much bigger than he really is!
Grows On You
Elephant hawk moth caterpillars are named in part after the long, gray trunk of an elephant. The one spotted in Luján’s garden didn’t want to bite her; it was most likely feasting on the vines attached to her building.
Grows on You
Watch what the caterpillar does to Luján when she tries to touch it with a stick…
Can you even begin to imagine how shocking it would be to come across something like this? Just looking at it is enough to give a person the chills, even though it’s just a harmless caterpillar!
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