Apparent death  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Apparent death, colloquially known as playing dead or playing possum, is an antipredator behavior observed in a wide range of animals in which they take on the appearance of being dead to an observer. This could either be an involuntary reflex action, as in tonic immobility; or an adaptive behavior as in thanatosis, which is used both as a defense mechanism and as a form of aggressive mimicry.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Apparent death" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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