Nature has a way of helping out even the smallest creatures escape predators in many different ways, including bio-mimicry to such amazing degrees such as those exhibited by the larva of the Elephant Hawk moth.
This moth has a unique larva that looks like a snake! Of course, it would be difficult to mistake it for snake if its entire body is exposed as people would recognize it as a caterpillar because of its small size yet its markings are so vivid and cleverly placed that it does look like a real snake at first glance.
The caterpillar’s appearance scares off a lot of predators, especially because this monster caterpillar is not just large in size (3 inches long; a giant among caterpillars) but it also makes quick striking movements similar to what a snake does!
Just imagine how creepy that must appear to predators such as birds looking for a juicy caterpillar to munch on. It is not known whether the predators mistake the caterpillars for real snakes or whether they know these are caterpillars but just do not want to make the mistake of trying to catch one just in case it was a real snake.
Still, an Elephant Hawk caterpillar in snake pose does look rather intimidating. If I were a predator, I would certainly stay away from this one.
The species lives in Britain and Ireland; though it does have relatives of similar markings and properties in the Amazon region.
Though the caterpillar is quite scary, the moth looks rather beautiful and does not retain the snake markings.Check out the caterpillar in snake pose here: