A photograph shared to Reddit by user InspktrGdgt shows a snake lying dead outside on a man’s porch railing with the middle of its body tied in a tight knot.
“This snake that knotted themselves up and died on my deck,” a caption to the photograph on Reddit said.
Wildlife experts say that it is possible for a snake to do this to itself by accident, however, the behavior is often observed in pythons, boa constrictors, and species that coil around its prey in order to suffocate it.
Although it is not clear the exact species of this snake, the photo has gotten more than 60,000 reactions, with some of the users suspecting that the snake did not do this to itself.
“With the experience with snakes I have I would says I’ve never seen a snake get themselves into a knot they couldn’t easily get out of. Especially not a tight one? How would a snake honestly tie themselves [into] a tight knot like this,” one Reddit user wrote.
“Bro.. did you tie a snake into a knot?” commented another user.
Another Redditor wrote, “I’ve heard before that snakes can’t actually tie themselves in knots like that, and imagining a scenario where a snake decided to and had the full physical capability to have its front half go full speed ahead and its back half go full speed backwards while it just so happened to be twisted around itself is implausible to say the least. Someone left him like that.”
If someone didn’t do this to the snake, the most likely reason for why this happened could be due to a rare disease called inclusion body disease (IBD).
IBD was first discovered in the 1980s and it affects the central nervous system causing them to sometimes tie themselves in a knot and die.
Another strange behavior observed in snakes with IBD is they roll over on their back and seem to be unable to flip themselves back over.
They’ve also been known to move their heads back and forth as if the snakes were drunk or under some sort of mental alteration. Again, the virus mainly affects pythons and boa constrictors.
Wildlife experts said once the snakes have accidentally gotten themselves knotted, it’s very difficult for them to become untangled without help. However, IBD doesn’t usually cause very tight knots.
InspktrGdgt commented on the Reddit post, saying they lived alone and couldn’t imagine “someone sneaking into my back yard in the middle of the night to do this.”
“I don’t like snakes. I don’t touch snakes. I saw this in the morning, snapped a pic and then used a leaf to push it into a bucket and threw it in the compost,” the Reddit user said.
The user said if they find more evidence of how this happened, they will do another post to update everyone.