The well-known idiom “a snake in the grass” means a person whose actions are difficult to identify, but in this tweet that has gone viral there supposedly is a real snake in the grass which no one can tell for sure is really there.
The efforts of numerous Twitter users to solve the mystery is what, perhaps, drove the tweet to such popularity, but, at the end of the day, no one is really sure about the serpent’s presence. The bizarre image was shared by a certain Helen, a Ph.D. student from Florida studying snake biology.
Received this from a fellow HERper this morning. No caption needed, the task was implied: “can you spot the snake?” 🐍 pic.twitter.com/oVkjOm8ufy
— Helen🐍👩🏼🔬 (@SssnakeySci) April 23, 2017
Most people can only see leaves on a forest floor, but it was implied there is a snake of the venomous variety hiding somewhere in the picture.
The unnerving snap was originally taken by Jerry Davis somewhere in Texas before it was sent to the doctoral candidate. It has afterwards made its way onto Twitter before going viral as people were horrified how difficult it would be to pinpoint the slithery creature in a similar real-life situation.
— Helen🐍👩🏼🔬 (@SssnakeySci) April 25, 2017
After Helen tweeted the pic with the caption “Can you spot the snake?” on the 23rd of April, it has received more than 23,500 likes and has been retweeted more than 6,200 times on the social media platform alone.
@SssnakeySci I’m staring at a pile of leaves aren’t i.
— Chloe Warren (@sciencechloe) April 24, 2017
“I’m just staring at a pile of leaves aren’t I?” Chloe Warren tweeted, mirroring what a certain portion of people started thinking after not a single one out of the tens of thousands who have seen the post managed to identify a snake.
The following day, Helen – who pursues her Ph.D. at the Florida Institute of Technology – finally shed some light on the subject, drawing a shape around the sly snake. Even with the copperhead viper, it was still barely visible for most people due to its brownish color.
If y’all haven’t found it yet… Copperhead, aka Agkistrodon contortrix. Cute but venomous, so no touchy! ☺️🐍❤️ pic.twitter.com/pSVMIhFP0o
— Helen🐍👩🏼🔬 (@SssnakeySci) April 24, 2017
Helen used the popularity of the tweet to share valuable advice about snake bites and how to handle them.
“Thanks for the help! A cautionary tale for #birders who are generally looking up!” one user wrote, to which the biologist replied: “Definitely! I’ve even been looking specifically for these guys and still nearly stepped on them.”