Fido isn’t the only one who can do this cool trick.
Several creatures in the animal kingdom fake their own death — to escape predators or even find a mate! Keep reading to learn more about these five cunning tricksters!
These marsupials used to exist only in the southern United States. But lately they’ve been showing up in Canada too. They’ve been spotted in British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario. But they’re no safer here than they are in the U.S. They’ve still got plenty of predators here, like owls, foxes, eagles and even dogs and cats.
So how do they make a getaway when a predator is lurking around? They flop on the ground and pretend to be dead. Sometimes that alone will stop a predator from chowing down on them straight away. But Opossums go one step further to protect themselves by releasing a nasty odour. It smells like the Opossum has been dead for days. If that doesn’t turn a predator’s stomach, I don’t know what would!
Nursery Web Spiders
Not all animals play dead to avoid being eaten. Some play dead … for mating purposes. Female Nursery Web Spiders usually make males jump through hoops before they mate with them.
Males shower females with lovely gifts like silk-wrapped insects. But that doesn’t always impress females — sometimes the females will try to grab the insect and run! However, these males are rather clever. They play dead and let themselves be dragged along with the silk-wrapped insect. Then they wait for the female to start to eat before they “come alive” again reading and willing to mate with the female!
Eastern Hog-Nosed Snakes
Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake populations have been dropping for years now. This snake has even been listed as Threatened in Canada under the Species at Risk Act. So, it needs all the help it can get. Luckily, this snake will go out of its way to protect itself.
Many animals prey on this snake, from bigger snakes to coyotes, skunks, weasels, eagles, wild turkeys, cats and dogs. But this brave snake has a few tricks up its sleeve to get out of trouble. First, it rears backward and hisses at the predator. It may even strike out. But if the predator keeps attacking, the snake will drop to the ground and play dead. It rolls onto its back with its tongue sticking out and might even defecate!
Frogs particularly love to snack on grasshoppers. But grasshoppers don’t particularly love to be eaten. And so they’ve come up with a pretty fascinating way to avoid becoming lunch.
When a frog gets its hands on a grasshopper, the grasshopper pretends to be dead. Its body becomes stiff, and its limbs will stick out in all sorts of awkward positions, making it hard for a frog to swallow the grasshopper. This buys the grasshopper a bit of time to escape the frog’s clutches!
Black Widows get a bad rap when in reality, they are actually kind of shy! If they’re threatened, they usually run away as quick as their eight legs can carry them. They might also throw silk at a predator (it’s actually called silk flicking!).
They play dead in the hopes that will stop predators from hurting them. Black Widows bite only if they don’t feel like they have much of a choice.