Forget The Walking Dead. Try The Crawling Dead.

Animal specialists in the US have warned citizens about a "zombie snake" that knows how to play dead.

Pictures of the reptiles lying on their back were shared by state parks and recreation staff in North Carolina this week, along with a warning.

'It's not like your flesh is going to rot or you're going to lose a limb or something,' an expert said.
'It's not like your flesh is going to rot or you're going to lose a limb or something,' an expert said.

The Facebook post told people not to approach or handle the so-called "zombie" serpent.

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The eastern hognose snake - also known as the puff adder - may strike repeatedly if startled. It is commonly found in North America and can mimic a deceased state.

The tactic helps them to survive hostile environments and evade danger from aggressors, such as birds of prey, who feed on snakes.

Images released by North Carolina State Parks and Recreation (NCSPR) show one of the creatures lying on its back with its mouth open, appearing to be lifeless.

In reality, it is merely waiting for an opportune moment to escape.

"Who is this 'famous' NC snake? A cobra? A zombie snake?," the post said.

"It's a harmless one. Learn more in our Year of the Snake program."

Instead of watching clouds to see if we can keep weekend weather on track, let's play a game! Who is this “famous” NC...

Posted by North Carolina State Parks and Recreation on Thursday, 6 June 2019

According to the Amphibians and Reptiles of North Carolina, the eastern hognoses are not particularly dangerous.

Katie Hall of the parks department said that while the snake does have venom, it very rarely bites people, and the bites are treatable.

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"It's not like your flesh is going to rot or you're going to lose a limb or something," Hall said.

However, if attacked, they will hiss loudly, broaden their necks and bite.

Only if a predator continues to attack will it "feign death by opening its mouth, rolling over on its back, and writhing around".

This isn't the only skill they possess, of course - they also use their upturned nose to dig for toads, which is a staple of their diet.

Specifically, they also use sharp teeth in the back of the mouth to "pop" the animals for easier swallowing and digestion.