The woman shared the image on a Facebook group in concern for the animal which she had seen at Rimrose Valley Country Park in Merseyside. The critter has snake-like markings, but is chunkier and smaller in length then a reptile.
The woman wrote: “I have just seen this caterpillar. Does anyone recognise it and what it turns in to. It raised its head like a snake about to strike.”
But, posting comments under the woman’s image, some Facebook users expressed worry it was in fact some kind of reptile.
“It looks like a lizard to me,” one user wrote.
Last year though, experts at Chester Zoo confirmed these creatures are not a type of snake but instead a type of caterpillar, reports The Liverpool Echo.
Mike Jordan, animal and plant director at Chester Zoo, said these creatures are called the Elephant Hawkmoth.
He said: “The caterpillar feeds on willow herb, but also fuchsias so is quite often seen in gardens. When disturbed, it inflates the segments behind the head to mimic a snake.”
When the caterpillar changes to the moth, it is mainly golden-olive with bright pink bars on the wings and body.
The similar Small Elephant Hawkmoth is smaller, yellower and less common and it is found in short grassland.
It comes as a woman got a fright when she accidentally mistook her garden hose with what turned out to be a “rattling” snake.
Sharing her experience, Dianne Martin, 69, says she was pottering in her garden in nearby Anfield, Liverpool on Saturday when a flash of red near her drainpipe caught her attention.
Initially, Dianne thought it her hose, but when the object started to move, she “froze”.
Dianne said: “I walked into my garden and out of the corner of my eye, I honestly thought my garden hose had turned red.
“My immediate reaction was that my hose had been bleached in the sun but, on closer observation, it was not.
“It reared its head and I was like ‘Oh my god!’ The only thing that kept coming into my mind was that it was poisonous, so I just froze.”