Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hog-nosed Snake at Our Back Door

Remember that toad that was outside my back door? Well he may be dinner by now! This is an eastern hog-nosed snake (Heterodon platirhinos), blotched phase. It feeds almost exclusively on toads. And it was in the corner by the back door. Ah well, that's life.

From the VDGIF webiste: This docile snake is also identifiable by its tendency to inflate its head and neck, coil, hiss and strike when initially disturbed. It does not bite, however, and if this display does not scare away the predator, the snake will writhe and feign death.

We got him a little riled up by moving the roll of drip-edge (or whatever that stuff is that we haven't used yet) and he started really making some noise! The whole body puffed up a bit as well.

He did not, however, feign death, even though Eddie tried to get him to by moving things around him. I thought the poor thing had been through enough and we left him alone. Although I did get some nice video, too.

More facts: This species will burrow to capture buried prey. Hognosed snakes are almost exclusively predators of toads, although other prey are occasionally taken, including frogs, newts, salamanders, and even small rodents. Toads inflate themselves as a defensive measure, but hognose snakes have a pair of enlarged teeth on the maxillary bones that are used to deflate them, thus aiding in swallowing. The toxins found in the skin glands of toads are neutralized by enzymes in the snake's digestive tract.

Top view

If you want to see what species are living in your area of Virginia you can enter your long/lat, or town here and a list will come up that you can print out.

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Lois C said...

Cool photos, Silvia. My family and I enjoyed them. See you at the conference!

Lonnie said...

Yeah, cool photos!

I love hognose snakes. They are so incredible beautiful and fascinating. We came across one hiking a while back and it had the most stunning orange and brown colors. It was also a delight to watch it puff up, even though I didn't want to disturb it too much.

I wish more people had appreciation for snakes in our area. They really are remarkable creatures.

Silvia said...

Thanks! My son wants to get a pet snake, which I am not opposed to, but he's really not ready to care for it himself yet. Especially if it needs live food. ;)

cindywatson223 said...

I wish I could remember the book I read as a young girl about a boy who had a hog-nose snake as a pet. It was published by Scholastic and I think the author might have been the one who wrote Casey, the Utterly Impossible Horse, but they could be linked in my mind for any number of reasons. It's an older chapter book, very boy! If anyone knows it, I've wanted to share it with my boys.

Silvia said...

This probably isn't the book because it was published in 1987, but here is one that sounds similar: The Snake That Went To School