Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Hognose Snake ... "I'm NOT A Pygmy Rattler Dammit!"

After the bat incident a few weeks ago, I sent out an email to the staff and told them they could call on me if any critters showed up on campus where they didn't belong.

(The bat was negative for rabies by the way)

So this week the receptionist called my class and asked if I could go catch a snake at the gym. The gym teacher was a little freaked out by it's presence. Another teacher covered my class for a moment and I went down to find this ...

Pretty scary, huh? Why this baby Hognose snake might have eaten half the 7th grade had I not arrrived quickly on the spot.
The gym teacher made a common mistake, thinking this was a pygmy rattler. I imagine alot of Hognose snakes meet the hoe or shovel blade because of that.

The poor, completely harmless hognose has a body type and coloration which does make you think rattler when you first see them. Their only defense is a flattening of the head and hiss, ... which does NOT help their case when a frightened human is holding a shovel poised to strike.
Or, they will flip over and play dead ... again, not the best tactic when a snakeaphobe is about to whack you into snake nuggets with a garden tool.

Here he is where he belongs, safe in my woods after a ride home in a box. Take a good look at these pics, so you can recognize this little cutie when you come across them.

This is a pygmy rattler, a much prettier snake to be honest. (Sorry hognose, but it's true.)
This one had the misfortune to be crossing the road at the same time a snake hater drove by. There is vast wooded acreage on either side of this road and no reason, not one, to have run over it as it crossed.
It was still twitching and moving when I came along. Just a few minutes earlier and the story would have been different, because I would have scooched it off the pavement.

You know, humans pay big bucks for a pert, upturned nose like that.
Don't squish it.


tai haku said...

cute little guy - I'd have thought more people would find their slightly ridiculous play dead response endearing - its hilarious

Doug Taron said...

Hognose is the species that gave me my first good musking. I've never quite forgiven them.

Dani said...

I'm in love! :)

It's so sad that some people go out of their way to kill a living, breathing critter. I really just don't understand it.

nfmgirl said...

What a beauty! I would never kill a snake, but thanks anyway for pointing out the difference between the two. I was home alone once as a kid, was probably 10 or 12 years old, when I spotted a snake in the crevice of where the wall met the ceiling on the porch. I called Mom, who called the park handyman to ask if he could check it out. He proceeded to spray it in the face with bug spray to make it fall to the ground, and then chop it in half. His justification was that it was a pygmy rattler. I was furious! There was no justification-- it wasn't hurting anything!

The Florida Blogger said...

Thanks for posting the difference between the two snakes. Hope I can tell the difference when I meet 'em in person.

cinbad122 said...

Ewwww....guts! Oh and you're welcome!

MamaHen said...

I don't know about the pygmy being prettier...I think the little hognose is so cute with that little snout and those big, cartoony eyes! and very interesting design on the back of it's head. but that's just me!

Deb said...

They're both pretty darn cute. That's good news about the bat, although the bat probably didn't see it that way. ;)

threecollie said...

I think the hog nose is much cuter...really. Thanks for sharing the nice baby snake. I have only ever seen two of his kind, one in the Albany Pine Bush and one right here. The one here was plumb ferocious, or pretended to be, but we just enjoyed him and let him be.

Bill said...

My ex-wife was terrified of snakes and once insisted I kill a green snake. I vowed after that to never ever kill another snake. So far I have been fortunate not to have any poisonous snakes to deal with in my yard. Did you see the extremely large eastern diamondback that was killed in St. Johns county over the weekend? I can e-mail you the pictures if you like. They are saying this morning that it measured 7' 3" after originally saying they failed to measure it.

Thanks for the pics,

h said...

Glad that e-mail saved the Hognose. I volunteered to be "critter remover" at a Job-Site once for similar reasons. Never had to kill ANY of them. And as they got used to humans being on THEIR turf, they stopped coming close enough to scare anyone.


Unknown said...

He's cute!!

R.Powers said...

I love to flip them upright and then watch them flip back over playing dead.

Ratsnake for me. P U

I thought you would be! I don't understand it either.

That guy didn't know his snakes. Rattlers don't climb. Probably a harmless rat snake.

When in doubt choose life.

Got guts?

I guess I meant more vibrant colors ... which is not what I said huh? LOL!

I know, it stinks that the bat got sacrificed for nothing.

I didn't hear about that snake! Wowsers. That's a bigun.

I'll head on over!

Big eyed like you!

who wouda thunk it?? said...

LOVE a Hognose!! UR right, cutest little snake there is is

Miz S said...

Aw, the poor rattler! I HATE that! And don't even start with me about the people who swerve to hit turtles.

rick said...

When I used to kill snakes I probley made that mistake and killed a harmless snake.Now just let em crawl

Sharon said...

He is kinda cute and cartoonish for a snake, with those big 'ol eyes. (CanNOT believe I said a snake was cute, I hope you're happy, and somehow I know you are! LOL)

R.Powers said...

Who woulda,
Puppysnake eyes!

Miz S,
You have a good heart!

It's their misfortune to look rattely.

Whoa! I'm impressed at your progress! I can't believe it either, but you are right, I am. :)

Ericka said...

people swerve to hit turtles?!? seriously? further proof, if i needed it, that we are a virus upon the planet and should be vastly reduced in number.

but the snake is adorable. i'm so glad you saved it! they usually call me at work to, after hearing me yell "DON'T KILL IT!!!!" anytime anyone finds anything. it's much easier than dealing with my tirade if they hurt it. :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow what odd colors for a southern hognose. All grey! And the pattern is odd too. Would love to see that one as an adult

Anonymous said...

i don't have a problem with snakes at all i actually would like to have a few but i would like to know how to find the hog nose so i can remove it from my yard for the sake of my child i found one sat morning at my front door and again tonight about 12 ft from the door so where do i find the mother so i can relocate them