The Earth is home to many amazing and interesting creatures. It’s fascinating to see how different organisms adapt to survive in their environments and keep the balance of nature intact.
Recently, I saw some pictures of three “angry snakes” hidden in a tree. These images caught my attention, and I wasn’t the only one who found them intriguing.
Seeing three snakes together in a tree can be scary for anyone. But luckily, the pictures don’t actually show snakes. They represent something entirely different.
The natural world is full of biodiversity, which means there are many different species living in various quantities. Each species has a unique role in its environment, and animals and plants have developed incredible adaptations and strategies to survive over time.
For example, some insects have colors that blend in with their surroundings, making it hard for predators to spot them. Other insects have developed toxic substances to protect themselves from danger.
This fact became even more apparent when pictures of three seemingly angry “snakes” started circulating online. In 2021, someone named Rob Allam shared a puzzling picture on Twitter that seemed to show three enraged snakes hiding in a tree.
But people quickly realized that the situation was more complicated than it seemed.
The group of “snakes” is actually just part of the wings of two different species of Atlas moths. It’s an optical illusion.
These unique moths are found only in the jungles of Asia. They have a special ability to look like snakes. The Atlas moth is one of the largest types of butterflies, with wings that can span up to 24 cm (9.4 inches) and a wing area of over 160 cm2 (25 square inches).
The body of the Atlas moth is much smaller compared to its wings, which makes it look impressive. It was first discovered by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 and is named after the Greek mythological Titan Atlas because of its large size.
Rob, the person who posted the viral picture, explained on Twitter, “Attacus Atlas, one of the largest butterflies in the world, only lives for two weeks as an adult. During this time, its main purpose is to lay eggs and protect them, while also pretending to be a snake.”
At first, many people on social media didn’t realize that the subject in the picture was a moth.
One person commented, “The camouflage is really impressive.”
Another person was amazed and said, “How is the one at the top not a real snake? This moth would live longer if it didn’t look like something I’d want to swat away.”
Contrary to what people might think, Atlas moths are not good fliers. They prefer to rest during the day and fly at night to conserve energy.
When an Atlas moth senses a threat, it uses a defensive tactic by descending to the ground, wriggling, and fluttering its wings to resemble a snake’s head.
To see an Atlas moth in person, you would probably have to go to the tropical forests of Asia. However, there have been sightings of Atlas moths in places outside of Europe and the United States.
In an interesting incident reported by the BBC in 2012, a huge Atlas moth was found on a windowsill in Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester. The family who discovered it initially thought it was a bat because of its large size. It’s believed that this unique moth escaped from someone’s private collection. Unfortunately, the moth died shortly after it was found.
In July 2022, another Atlas moth was photographed in Bellevue, Washington, which was a significant event. It was the first documented sighting of this species in the United States. Another Atlas moth was also found in Sweden in the same year.
An entomologist named Sven Spichiger, who works at the state Agriculture Department, commented, “This insect is truly remarkable and makes people in awe because of its enormous size.” He added, “Even if you’re not interested in insects, this is the kind of thing that makes people take out their phones and capture a picture because it’s so visually captivating.”
Encountering this magnificent moth would leave me filled with wonder and amazement. I would want to capture the moment with my camera. However, if I noticed it starting to look like a snake’s head, I would be cautious and keep a safe distance.
If you find this post interesting, please consider sharing it on Facebook to spread awareness about this fascinating moth to a wider audience. Its extraordinary features and its presence outside its native habitat deserve attention and appreciation.
10 Mental & Physical Health Benefits of Having Pets
Pets are family members. Like humans, they need love, health care, and attention. But pet parents’ relationships with their pets are not one sided. Pets give so much back in return, improving the health of our minds, bodies, and hearts.
The benefits of having pets are plentiful — and scientifically proven. Pets help their humans live longer, happier, and healthier lives mentally and physically. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) gathers the latest information on the positive health effects of companion animals. These researchers help make the case for adding a pet to a household.
From reducing the risk of heart attacks to alleviating loneliness, these furry family members are contributing to healthy communities.
Let’s talk about those benefits.
Better Mental Health
Pets can contribute to positive mental health through emotional work and practical work. The emotional work can be described as alleviating worries, stress, and depression. You may have noticed that your pet wastes no time noticing and springing into action when you are upset or sad. Their intuition is what makes them great support and therapy animals, and animal-assisted therapy is effective in treating PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Then there’s the practical work that comes with caring for a pet. This means making sure their individual needs are met. Developing a daily routine of walks and feeding times can help pet parents with mental health conditions feel a sense of purpose that affects other areas of their lives.
The Data: Pets and Mental Health
A 2016 HABRI study explored the role of pets in the social networks of people managing a long‑term mental health problem.
- Pets were found to contribute to a stronger sense of identity in pet owners with mental health conditions, including reducing negative perceptions of a mental health condition or diagnosis.
- Pets provide a sense of security and routine in the relationship, which reinforces stable cognition.
- Pets provide a distraction and disruption from distressing symptoms, such as hearing voices, suicidal thoughts, rumination, and facilitating routine and exercise for those who care for them.
Better Physical Health
Every little bit counts when it comes to physical health benefits, and those daily walks really add up for dog owners. Since they are more likely to meet the criteria for regular moderate exercise, dog parents have lower instances of obesity.
Your heart is one of the biggest spots to see the full benefits of pet ownership. Just the presence of animals has significant impacts on blood pressure, with pet owners having a lower resting blood pressure than people without pet babies.
Cat parents aren’t left out of the healthy heart race. A feline friend in your home reduces your risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attacks. According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), people without cats have a 40% higher relative risk of heart attack than non‑cat owners.
The Data: Pets and Physical Health
- Approximately 60% of dog walkers met the criteria for regular moderate and/or vigorous leisure‑time physical activity compared with about 45% for non‑dog owners and dog owners who did not walk their dog in a 2005 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey.
- In a study of adults over the age of 50 with mildly elevated blood pressure, the presence of a pet dog or cat had a significant impact on blood pressure, with dog ownership being associated with lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure compared to people who did not own pets.
- A study of over 2,400 cat owners concluded there was a significantly lower relative risk for death due to cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attack, compared to non‑owners during a 20‑year follow‑up.
Healthier Aging Process
Research has shown that older adults get social and emotional support from their pets that combats loneliness and depression. Aside from promoting exercise and reducing stress, pets also assist in the treatment of long‑term diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Pet companionship is also key for hospital and cancer patients. When coupled with animal-assisted activities, pets help patients with pain management and in interactions with doctors and nurses. Those patients also responded better to treatments and reported improvements in their quality of life.
The Data: Pets and Aging
- Results of a study of older adults who live alone suggest that pet ownership may act as a buffer against loneliness.
- Results of a one-year study that examined the impact of animal‑assisted therapy (AAT) on patients with chronic pain demonstrated that, following AAT, patients reported reduced pain, discomfort, and stress. Additionally, stress among nursing staff was found to decrease significantly following AAT.
- A study of older adults with mental illness living in long‑term care facilities concluded that AAT reduced depressive symptoms and improved cognitive function.
When we look at the data on mental health, physical health, and aging, it’s clear that pets contribute much to people’s lives in these areas, as well as being the loving companions we’ve always known they are.