A reader just sent us a photo of familiar caterpillar and asked us to identify it. She said they found it underneath some Arum Lilies, and described it as looking like a snake. The creature does indeed resemble a snake. It is dark brown with tan stripes and two black spots on its head that look like eyes.
This is an Elephant Hawk-Moth Caterpillar! It gets its name from its trunk-like snout. When these caterpillars get frightened, they draw their trunk into their body. This positioning resembles a snake and is used to scare off predators. This species is known for having superb night vision and is distributed throughout Europe, Russia, China, and some parts of British Columbia.
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In summary, our reader found a caterpillar that we identified as the larva of an elephant hawk moth.
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