Angry-looking ‘snakes’ spotted lurking in tree, but everything is not as it seemed

The Earth and its natural environment are home to a vast array of unique and wonderful animals. The way that different creatures interact with one another and adjust to their surroundings in order to survive and maintain the balance of their ecosystems is truly fascinating.

It makes sense that when I saw pictures of three “angry snakes” sheltering under a tree, I became curious. And I’m not the only one who fell for these incredible images.

Anyone can receive shivers down their spine when they see three serpents in a tree together. It might be quite alarming to see only one serpent in a tree. Thankfully, the striking images depict something quite different than snakes.

Biodiversity refers to the enormous variety of species—millions in number—that can be found in nature. Within its habitat, each species serves a certain function.

Several animals and plants have also evolved incredible adaptations and survival strategies over time. For example, certain insects have developed poisonous substances to protect themselves from predators, while others have evolved colors that mimic their surroundings to elude them.


This reality was brought to light even further when images of three “snakes” with irate expressions began to circulate online. A picture that Rob Allam posted on Twitter back in 2021 confused some since it appeared to show three “serpents” sheltering in a tree, all of whom appeared to be furious. But consumers quickly discovered there was more to the story than first meets the eye.

The three “snakes” are actually only fragments of two distinct species of Atlas moth wings joined to create the illusion of three snakes.


The peculiar ability of this unique species of Asian forest-dwelling bug is to mimic the appearance of a snake. With a wing surface area of more than 160 cm2 (25 in2) and a huge wingspan of up to 24 cm (9.4 in), the Atlas moth is one of the largest species of Lepidoptera.

The wings and body of the Atlas moth are noticeably different in size. The body is much smaller. Carl Linnaeus made the first observation of one of the largest insects on the planet in 1758. It takes its name from the Titan Atlas of Greek mythology because of its enormous size.

A Twitter user named Rob posted the popular picture along with this explanation:

“Attacus Atlas is one of the biggest butterflies in the world. It barely survives for two weeks as an adult. Its main goal at this stage is to conceal itself as a snake while laying eggs and protecting them until they hatch,” the author explained.

At first, a lot of social media users couldn’t believe that the object was actually a moth.

One user commented, “It’s a really good disguise.”

Surprised, a different person commented, “How is that top one not an actual snake? If it didn’t seem like I wanted to beat this moth with a broom, it would live longer.

Atlas moths are not powerful or stable flyers, unlike what the general public believes. To save energy, these moths prefer to fly during the night and sleep during the day.

The Atlas moth employs a defense mechanism, according to the National History Museum, when it detects danger. It falls to the ground, writhes, and purposely flaps its wings to mimic the head of a snake.

The breathtaking presence of the Atlas moth is likely only to be seen in the tropical jungles of Asia. On the other hand, reports of seeing Atlas moths have also been made in other parts of the US and Europe.

In 2012, the BBC reported on an amazing sighting of a large Atlas moth that they claimed to have seen on a windowsill in Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester.

The family who discovered the moth initially mistook it for a bat because of its enormous size. It is believed that the uncommon species escaped from a private collection. Sadly, not long after it was found, it died.

This is a very historic photo of another example of an Atlas moth taken in July 2022 in Bellevue, Washington. Since it was the first recorded sighting of this species in the US, it was a historic event. In 2022, a second one was found in Sweden.

The managing entomologist at the state Agriculture Department, Sven Spichiger, explained, “This is a ‘gee-whiz’ type of insect, because it is so large.” ”

“Even if you aren’t looking for insects, these are the kind that people pull out their phones and take pictures of because they are so striking,” he continued.

If I was to come across this amazing species, I think I would be filled with amazement and shock. My first reaction would be to grab my camera and take pictures of the scene in order to preserve the moment as a memorable one. But if I noticed that it was beginning to resemble the head of a snake, I would stay well away.

To help more people learn about this massive and intriguing moth, would you kindly consider sharing this page on Facebook? Its remarkable attributes and uncommon occurrence outside of its normal habitat make it worthy of notice and appreciation!

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