This Fake Snake Is Guaranteed to Freak You Out
It’s understandable that big-screen hero Indiana Jones is scared of snakes. Sure, there are plenty of harmless snakes out there that are good for the environment. But there are also plenty of dangerous snakes out there whose bites can easily bring pain, infection, and death.
That was what was going through the mind of one woman in South America when she encountered something that looked like a snake. He was in the woman’s garden and seemed reminiscent of the tempting serpent of the Bible, but it didn’t take too long before this woman discovered this “snake” was anything but. Just what the heck is this creature, and why does he look like a slithering serpent? Keep reading to find out!
An unexpected setting for this strange animal encounter
This strange story takes place in South America. Specifically, it takes place in Santa Fe, Argentina. If you don’t know much about Santa Fe, you might think this was a very strange place for a snake sighting. However, to locals, such sightings have lost much of their shock value.
That’s because Argentina as a country has plenty of snakes throughout. Santa Fe, meanwhile, is part of the eighth-largest metropolitan area in the entire country. The more people who live in an area, the more likely it is that residents will run into a snake on any given day. But that still didn’t keep the appearance of this seeming serpent from properly freaking out the woman who encountered it.
The sight of this “snake” freaked everyone out
The woman who encountered this tiny critter is named Lujan Eroles. It turns out that Eroles has something in common with Indiana Jones: she really, really hates snakes. So when she saw a snake in her garden, her first reaction was instinctive: she began to scream.
That scream brought her neighbors to the area, and everyone was understandably concerned for her safety. Once things had calmed down a bit, though, Eroles and her ersatz audience had time to take a proper look at the creature that had given her such a fright. The more everyone stared, the more one conclusion seemed obvious: whatever this thing was, it wasn’t a snake!
Going from fear to curiosity
Certainly, the creature Lujan Eroles encountered had some surface-level similarities with snakes. At the same time, its size, shape, and demeanor didn’t really match up with what she was expecting from a typical snake. This made her more openly curious about what she was seeing, but that curiosity didn’t make her any less cautious.
As Eroles would later tell National Geographic, “I have never seen anything like it. It looked like a snake, but his eyes were strange. I was afraid it was poisonous.” Once she was confident it wasn’t going to hurt her, the woman posted a video of the bizarre creature online in the hopes that someone could tell her what it actually was.
The internet weighs in on what this creature really is
Oftentimes, asking the internet for insight is something of a gamble: you’re just as likely to get nonsense answers as you are to get anything really insightful. Fortunately for Eroles, her video soon went viral, and that was enough to get some real experts to weigh in on the matter.
Eventually, the collective online experts agreed on one remarkable conclusion: not only was this “snake” not a snake, but it was not even a reptile. Instead, this is a caterpillar that is unique to Central America. And the reason that it looks so strange has everything to do with one of its unique abilities.
Why does this caterpillar look like a snake?
Getting a positive identification of the creature still left Lujan Eroles with a major question: why the heck does a caterpillar look like a snake? In this case, it all comes down to the little creature’s impressive defensive capabilities.
The caterpillar is naturally very vulnerable to predators, and it doesn’t have much of a natural ability to fight them off. Instead, this little guy mimics the appearance of a snake because predators naturally fear those slithering serpents. In this case, the caterpillar did his job a little too well because he had Eroles and her entire community thinking he was a snake when they first saw him!
What this strange sighting can teach all of us
If we’re being honest, most bizarre animal encounters don’t have much of an explicit lesson. Nonetheless, it seems there are a few clear lessons we could learn from Lujan Eroles’ bizarre encounter with a caterpillar who made himself look like a fearsome snake.
For example, we learned a bit more about Mother Nature and the surprises she constantly has for us. We also learned not to take the things we encounter (especially the strange things we encounter) at face value. Finally, we may have learned a bit of a life lesson from this little caterpillar: sometimes, “fake it until you make it” is a perfectly viable strategy!