This Viper is the Master of Deception: It Hunts Birds by Pretending to be a Spider

A species of horned viper turns hunters into prey by deceiving them with its tail.

This viper takes sneak attacks to a new level. Image credits: Omid Mozaffari
In 1968, scientists observed a horned viper in Iran that had a rather strange feature: its tail ended in an unusual growth, with long scales that resembled spider legs. With only one specimen, however, it was almost impossible to establish if it was truly a new species, or if the knob-like tip on the tail was just a cancerous growth.

A second specimen was only spotted almost 40 years later, in 2003. Although this second specimen was dead and badly preserved, scientists were able to officially describe the viper as a new species in 2006. Since the gut-contents of the newly discovered poisonous viper contained a half-digested bird, scientists speculated that the unique tail served the purpose of attracting prey with the appearance of a spider.