WATCH: Hognose Snake Demonstrates Oscar-Worthy Skills with ‘Death Performance’

by Amy Myers

Overdramatic doesn’t even begin to describe this hognose snake’s “death performance” when it came in contact with a Georgia wildlife officer. But, as unnecessary as the display seems, it’s actually a crucial survival tactic for the nonvenomous species.

While collecting scientific data for the state’s Department of Natural Resources, an officer came across an Eastern hognose snake which has a very convincing way of evading its predators. The performance begins with a bit of mimicking as the hognose pretends to be a cobra. How, you ask?

“When this creepy critter feels threatened, it flares its neck and body by breathing in deeply and then expelling the air with an impresssssive hiss,” the department explained.

And if that doesn’t convince the lurking fox or hawk from choosing another prey, the hognose snake will then begin Act 2: the death performance. That means the hognose will “forcefully roll onto its back and begin to writhe violently as if in terrible pain. During this ‘death performance,’ the snake may also evert its cloacal vent, regurgitate its stomach contents, defecate, release musk and even bleed from its mouth.”

And that’s not all.

“Afterwards, the snake will appear lifeless and limp, confident that all potential predators have decided on a different main course,” Georgia’s DNR said.

Brava, little hognose, brava.

Hognose Snake Is Just One of the Creepy and Incredible Critters in Georgia

The hognose snake’s theatrics weren’t the only amazing display that Georgia DNR officers came across recently.

Following the death dance spectacle, wildlife authorities also came across two impressive finds during their day-to-day tasks. The first was another snake performance, and it was just as intense as the hognose’s display. This time, a pair of timber rattlers found their way onto a trail in the midst of a dramatic battle. This was the “combat dance.”

According to the DNR, at the time, “A wildlife technician was checking hunter access trails for obstructions on Lanahassee WMA when he happened upon these two timber rattlesnakes fighting over who deserves the female nearby.”

In a separate finding, another wildlife expert was demonstrating the bizarre nature of “meat-eating” plants like the pitcher plant. When he opened up the plant, he expected to find the usual contents like flying insects and beetles. What he got instead was much different.

“During a routine presentation on native plants with a group of elementary students, our biologists learned a valuable lesson: check the plant before you dissect,” the department shared. “To everyone’s surprise, they found a green anole.”