Herpetofauna: One Life's List

Heterodon platirhinos
Eastern Hognose Snake

St. Louis Co., Missouri. February 17, 1976

I was exploring a small cave with a couple friends when I found my first Hognose. I emerged first, wet and muddy and blinking in the sunlight, and in front of me this creature reared up and spread its hood, hissing at me. It was a good-sized snake, close to three feet in length, and shot with gorgeous browns and dark orange.  I've not seen one like it since.

It is interesting to watch Hognose Snakes feign death the first few times.  They flip over on their backs and writhe a bit; saliva oozes from the slack mouth, and the forked tongue hangs limp. Come back in ten minutes and it may be still upside down.  Sometimes I just want to take a picture of a Hognose not playing dead, and so it becomes rather irksome when they promptly roll over and do their bit.  No need to go through all of that for my sake - after my picture we'll go our separate ways.







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