Hognose snakes cannot be beat at “playing possum.” This reptile is so theatrical, it will literally stage its own murder by spewing blood and smelly fluid from its mouth and anus while writhing in feigned painful last breaths.

Apparently, its predators are often more interested in killing it than eating it.

The horned lizard has a similar morbid skill. It actually shoots blood out of its eyes when threatened. The macabre shocks its predator. Apparently, the blood also stinks, ruining the predator’s appetite. (To be clear, I do not recommend stinking out opposing counsel as a trial strategy.)

To the point, my recommendation relating to the hognose snake and horned lizard is “playing possum” isn’t always a bad idea. It bleeds (no pun intended) over into the camouflage octopus and swimming elephant theories. If you aren’t seen, respected or appreciated as a contender, you may be holding a distinct advantage.

In some cases, it may be productive to let your opponent speculate over your intentions. Never be dishonest, of course, but do be conscientious in your communication with the other side. Is opposing counsel convinced you will settle at the courthouse? Are you being underestimated? Are there essential facts the other side missed? If so, perhaps you play dead for now and spit blood from multiple orifices later.

Posted in Trial By Nature

Other Posts in this Series
January 5, 2017
Trial by Nature #1 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
March 1, 2017
Trial by Nature #2 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
April 11, 2017
Trial by Nature #3 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
May 22, 2017
Trial by Nature #4 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
July 13, 2017
Trial by Nature #5 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
October 7, 2017
Trial by Nature #6 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
January 23, 2018
Trial by Nature #7 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
February 15, 2018
Trial by Nature Tip #9 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom
February 20, 2018
Trial by Nature Tip #10 – Tips to Survival in the Courtroom

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Tricia M. DerrCo-Founder, Attorney
Tricia Derr is the co-founder of Lincoln Derr and serves at the helm of the firm leading all practice groups through active counsel, litigation, and advising. Ms. Derr is a litigator specializing in innovative multi-media communication, practical business-minded advice, and speaking to audiences in a “real”, non-technical way.
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