The Living Dead: Animals That Pretend to Go Belly-Up

Many types of animals play dead. But they do it in different ways and for different reasons.

Anyone planning a fright for Halloween might learn a trick from a South American frog that dramatically fakes its own death, according to scientists.

Leaf litter frogs (Ischnocnema aff. henselii) of southern Brazil were recently observed playing dead by turning belly-up, shutting their eyes, and throwing back their arms and legs. The frogs stayed in their exaggerated death pose for about two minutes, according to a team lead by biologist Vinicius Batista of the State University of Maringá in Brazil and reported in the fall issue of the Herpetological Bulletin.

The behavior has not been seen before in this species, and it’s more dramatic than scientists are used to seeing in other animals. But it’s not uncommon for frogs to play dead

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