When you’re trudging through a leafy path, there’s probably nothing more alarming than a camouflaged snake biting you on the ankle. That’s why this photo, which showcases the cunning camouflage of a certain Copperhead snake, is giving the internet major anxiety. Why? No matter how long you stare at the image, you can’t see the snake at all. But it’s still there, lying in wait.
Posted by a Florida Institute of Technology PhD student on Twitter, the photo was taken by Jerry Davis somewhere in Texas, and it’s conjured quite a bit of confusion.
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Among the many people guessing the snake’s whereabouts on Twitter, some were wrong:
The student, whose first name is Helen and who specializes in pythons, boas and pitvipers, eventually revealed the snake’s actual location:
As indicated above, copperheads, a.k.a. Agkistrodon contortrix, aren’t poisonous, but they are quite venomous. The difference is indicated by the physical contact, inhalation or ingestion of poison, versus the injection of venom from a skin puncture. Helen also laid this out with a graphic:
According to TED-Ed, 20-80% of snake bites aren’t even venomous, as snakes sometimes don’t want to waste their precious reserves, preferring just to send a message to those encroaching on their territory. Nonetheless, they can be scary good at camouflage, so it’s always best to tread with some vigilance.
[h/t Daily Dot]
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