Remember the story of the bear and his friend in Aesop’s Fable? In the story, the man who meets the bear to escape hopelessly escapes by pretending to be dead. It should be reminded that this is only a story, real life when encountering bears, pretending to die is not a good way to escape. But for some animals, when they face external threats such as attacks from other animals and can’t escape, they really choose to pretend to be dead.
“Bears and Two Travelers” illustrated by Aesop’s Fables by Miro Winter, Source: Wikipedia ‘Bears and Two Travelers’ Entry.
Perhaps in our eyes, animals pretend to be dead loopholes, we can instantly see their tricks, but in front of the hunters of nature, the strategy of pretending to kill is obviously effective, otherwise the dead animals have long been extinct.
Why do animals pretend to be dead? How do I choose the time to pretend to be dead? What are the techniques for pretending to die? What does death have to do with animal hypnosis? This article will answer these questions for you, I believe that after reading, you will find that the seemingly simple brainless behavior, behind the animals tens of millions of years of evolution and the food chain under the cruel positioning of the instinct to live.
Pretend to be dead and bet on life.
Pretending to die is also called false death, intended to kill, is an act of animals disguised as a state of death, intended to escape predators, it can be classified as a means of defense. From insects to amphibians, reptiles, birds and even mammals, animal actors are good at pretending to be dead.
From a human point of view, animal death seems too “mentally retarded”, so many people will inevitably ask: is it really useful to pretend to die? Can hunters be so picky about the quality of meat that they don’t care about the meals delivered to their mouths? In fact, pretending to die does work, but there is no secret, more of a dangerous game between survival and death.
In other words, animals do not pretend to die when they are in danger, and before the law of pretending to die is implemented, animals, regardless of intelligence, will use their own way to measure which survival probability of escape and death is greater. Once they decide to run away, they are bound to exhaust their lives to try to escape the day of birth. But once they decide to pretend to be dead, animals also pretend to be technical, to pretend to be dignified, to pretend to be born.
The Bermeister Leaf Frog, by Popovkin (Photo: Wikipedia’s “Dead” entry)
To put it enough, the strategy of pretending to die is, in the vast majority of cases, an animal’s choice to go no way. After choosing to pretend to die, it is equivalent to putting yourself in the position of artificial knife me for fish, so to fully calculate the benefits of gain and loss, but also to pretend to be like, pretend to have skills, otherwise it will never be returned.
“Oscars” tells you the trick of pretending to be dead.
One of the important reasons why pretending to exist is that many predators are inactive to stationary prey, such as frogs, so many insects choose to pretend to die in front of frogs. In addition, dead animals tend to show a defensive form of crouching bodies, or a rigid state of muscle, which makes it difficult for many low-level predators to mouth, on the one hand, they may not have the absolute strength to eat such “disobedient” “corpses”, on the other hand, they will be too lazy to spend energy and this “dead body” of the fight, so after some trade-off, predators will be more inclined to look for better nearby mouth-to-mouth prey.
Of course, not all predators are as deceptive and low-end as frogs. For animals that are keen and like to eat corruption, lying dead is tantamount to putting themselves on their table. So many animals don’t just pretend to be dead, they may deliberately show that they are poisoned or sick. It’s like telling the hunter that my meat is poisonous and that it’s up to you if I don’t eat it. At this point, “smart” hunters tend to abandon it rather than eat it.
Virginia possums in North America are such heart-tringing animals that they can reproduce from at least 20 million years ago to the present by relying on the superb ancestral “performance”. When threatened or potentially damaged, possums’ lips pull back, teeth are exposed, saliva creates foam around the mouth, eyes are closed or semi-closed, and foul-smelling fluid is secreted from the glands; It is believed that no one but the hungry animals will covet such a piece of meat that is suspected to be poisonous or diseased. After a few minutes to several hours of loading, the possum regains consciousness and begins to move freely. It doesn’t seem too much to award an animal “Oscar” to possums.
Dead possum, author: John Ruble (Photo: Wikipedia “pretend to die” entry)
But even if it is a severe pretend to die, there will always be a “hard child”. Some predators at the top of the food chain don’t eat the acting set at all, and in front of them, neither escape nor pretend to be dead. At this time there are still a lot of animals choose to pretend to die rather than die, because they consider that if the escape is not successful, will inevitably be severely beaten, it is very likely that in an instant physical disability, it is better to pretend to give up resistance, let the predator relax their vigilance and gentle wait, save the force of life and then wait for the opportunity to escape.
Too much play? Because pretending to die has penetrated into genes and bloodlines.
Pretending to die as a “stunt” for vulnerable groups in the animal world, the process of obtaining it belongs to the after-the-day learning and genetic inheritance, in which genetic inheritance may play a greater role. Moreover, pretending to die not only has commonalities, but also personality.
The study found that realistic deaths like those of possums were probably not voluntary or consciously controlled, but were caused by special “switches” hidden in possums. Many times, once dead animals are in a particular state, such as being flipped and their stomachs facing up, they automatically fall into false death. That is, in order to put the act of pretending to die throughout, many creatures have even evolved the corresponding reflex mechanism, once the trigger conditions are met, you do not want to pretend to die also have to “die past.”
The existence of “strong straight switch” is a good illustration of the commonality of loading death, in the actual operation process, loading death also reflects the obvious personality. From the point of view of the whole population, although there is a set of rules to pretend to die first, but the uniform pretend to die is obviously not as meaningful as the flowers in full bloom to pretend to die. If you immediately lie down for three minutes as soon as you encounter an attack, and then wake up and run wild, you can let the predator gradually figure out the number of roads, so as to ignore the pretend to die, while hot directly under the mouth.
From an individual point of view, the “parameters” of the act of pretending to be dead are characterized by diversity and randomization, such as the length of death and the timing of awakening. Complex and variable act of pretending to die makes predators confused, increases the cost of learning, and thus increases the chances of pretending to escape.
Lou Yan, author: Klaus Roggel (Photo: Wikipedia ‘Pretend to Die’ entry)
Hypnotized or deliberately pretended to be dead?
Years ago, on a variety show on CCTV, a little girl incredibly “hypnotized” puppies, rabbits, color changers and frogs, keeping the animals moving from the sky.
Lizards “hypnotic” on the show (Photo: Challenge Impossible)
In fact, this so-called “hypnosis” has not been supported by scientific research, and it is certain that they are not really “hypnosis”, but “deliberately”, but the answer behind this “deliberate” is different. It may not seem difficult for dogs to train them to do fake sleep, but it’s harder to train rabbits or even frogs and chromosomes, who can “hypnotize” because they’re “celebrities” in nature’s dead army.
Rabbits, for example, are docile “vegetarian” animals, and almost all animals of similar or larger size are natural enemies of them, so “pretending to die” has naturally become a very effective survival strategy for rabbits. Rabbits can easily trigger a “false dead switch” when they are passively lying on their backs, and thus enter a “hard straight state”. At this point they will stiffen their limbs, close their eyes, and their heart beats briefly stop. So, it’s not so much that the little girl “hypnotized” the rabbit, it’s that the little girl forced the rabbit into a dead state.
In everyday life, it may seem interesting to force the small animals around them into a false state of death, but it is very dangerous for these small animals. Many animals do not relax completely in a false state, but consume extra energy to maintain their peculiar rigidity. For example, a rabbit in a false death may break due to a stiffness in its normally curved spine, resulting in real death. There are many other species of animals that are so realistic that they may die of cardiac arrest or asphyxiation.
The act of pretending to die occurs in many animals in nature, even in the bodies of very large, high predators such as sharks, and also contains so-called “false death” switches. If the shark is turned upside down, the shark’s head will automatically secrete a unique chemical to calm itself, repeated this process will make the dose of the substance gradually increase, the shark becomes as if asleep or dead, motionless, this is the shark’s “strong straight still.” Marine animal researchers sometimes use this method to “hypnotize” sharks to deprive them of their aggressiveness, thus making future studies easier.
Given that humans also have so-called “frightened” false deaths in extreme cases, it may be useful to explore how animals respond to threats and fears, as well as to treat their own fear and anxiety disorders and repair trauma.
The dead eastern pig-nosed snake (a newly swallowed dragonfly for real life), by Benny Mazur (Photo source: Wikipedia’s “pretend to die” entry)