Real Zombies That Are Already Found in Nature

Meet some terrifying real-life zombies.

Bodyguard Caterpillar

A parasitic wasp has brainwashed this tobacco hornworm caterpillar. The caterpillar is now a wasp bodyguard and will whip around and defend the parasite’s cocoons from any threats. Photo Credit: Alex Wild / Visual Unlimited

Species Hopping Flatworm

A parasitic flatworm commands fish to flash their white bellies to the sky, making them easy prey for circling birds. The parasite needs to get into the bird to travel from estuary to estuary so it can get inside its third host - a snail. Photo Credit: Kelly Weinersmith

Zombie Ant

When infected by the Ophiocordyceps unilateralis fungus ants abandon their queen and colony, climb the closest vegetation and bite hard onto a leaf vein. Next, the fungus grows a stalk out of the ant and showers the jungle floor with spores to spread to more ants. Photo Credit: David Hughes

Feline Fatal Attraction

The single-celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii turns off rodents’ fear of cats and, in fact, makes them sexually aroused by the smell of feline urine! What better way for the parasite to get inside a cat, where it needs to be to reproduce. Photo Credit: Eye Of Science/Science Photo Library

The “Eat Me, Eat Me” Snail

The Green-banded Broodsac, a parasitic flatworm, makes the snail’s tentacles flash brightly and orders the snail expose itself to predators. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Suicidal Grasshopper

A hairworm parasite has infected a grasshopper and devoured most of its innards. But it’s trapped inside the insect away from water. The parasite needs to be in water to complete its lifecycle. So the parasite brainwashes the grasshopper by producing proteins that affect its central nervous system. The disorientated grasshopper commits suicide by leaping into the nearest body of water. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Watch Invasion of the Brain Snatchers online for more. 

Available on CBC Gem

Invasion of the Brain Snatchers

Nature of Things