If you know me, you know I HATE snakes! I don’t mean I just don’t like snakes… I mean I hate snakes with a passion! So spring to me means the snakes are awake! They scare me to death! When God said He was putting enmity between woman and the serpent, He was NOT kidding! (Genesis 3:15)
Today we spent the day helping Gage get his brooder box ready for the 30 chicks that are arriving this week. When Gage and I were about to walk out of the garage, he calmly announced “SNAKE”. There slithering off of our front walkway into the shrubs is THE snake. I immediately froze. My hubby, David, was there with us so he grabbed a shovel and a hoe. When Hubby approached the snake, he could not immediately tell if it was poisonous or not because the snake was acting so aggressively. Well, it turns out it was a two foot Hognose snake! And, to make matters worse, David does not believe in killing the wretched things unless they are poisonous… but he will take it off, at least. Even though I completely abhor snakes, there are some good lessons here to learn. And yes, I took these pictures!
Hognose snakes are hard to tell apart from a Water Moccasin (Cotton Mouth) snake when they are little. If you are like me, kill the darn thing and worry about if it is poisonous after the threat is gone … but that is not hubby’s mode of operation so we have to learn this stuff when he is around.
The color of a Hognose snake varies widely, so using color as an identifier is not viable. As always, we look at the face and eyes. But this guy was so small, we couldn’t see his eyes. We did, however, notice its snout was upturned. But that actually made it hard to determine if it had a triangular or round nose.
When threatened, a hognose snake will flatten their neck and raise their head off the ground and hiss like a cobra … behaving quite aggressively. This also makes it hard to determine if they have a triangular or round head. Our little snake was doing a fabulous job at acting all aggressive, hissing, flaring, etc. He almost lost his head cause he is such a good actor! So, needless to say, putting our face down there to see its eyes was completely out of the question!
If flattening and flaring their neck and hissing fails to thwart their attacker, the Hognose snake will literally roll over and play dead, with their tongue hanging out of their gaping open mouth. (Ugh!!! Have I mentioned I hate snakes… ).
The Hognose Snake will continue to play dead until the threat has disappeared. I can assure you, no snake was harmed during this event (although this one is an excellent actor at faking it). This snake WAS personally escorted off the property, by my hubby.
Something every family that lives in an area where there are snakes needs is a great snake identification book! Just in case the internet is down when you stumble upon one of these! (Note we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. Any money received via this relationship is used for our homeschool! PS. I’ve made a grand total of $0.00 from affiliate marketing… but the FTC says I have to tell you that IF you buy it, I will make 4% of the sale as commission.)
Side note: There is some controversy over if the Hognose snake is venomous or not. Here is a Quote from Wikipedia:
The venomous nature of Hognose snakes is controversial, however it is generally agreed upon that they are not venomous. A bite from a hognose can result in swelling and numbness at the site of the bite, though this is likely the result of a simple allergic reaction. Similar symptoms can result from dog and cat bites, and even from human saliva. There does not seem to have been any scientific studies to determine the existence or characterize the nature of hognose “venom.”
The most reliable identifier of the Hognose Snake is the upturned nose. It uses it to dig out toads, their primary diet. These snakes are stout bodied and do not grow very long, adults are from 14 to 40 inches long. They are diurnal (means they are active during the daytime), and burrow into loose soil. Hognose snakes are not constrictors, they are rear-fanged. Their venom enables them to overcome toads to allow the snake to swallow the toad. Hognose snakes have mild dispositions and rarely bite. Apparently this makes them attractive for those that like to keep snakes.
I can assure you, this is one pet this household will NOT have (at least not while they are living here)!
Until next time…..
Note we are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.