Monday, July 26, 2010
Harmless Hognose Threat Display
This Hognose snake was slipsliding across a woodsy road just after a rain yesterday as the JEEP and I came around the bend.
By the time I pulled to a stop, he had oozed off into the grass and was only a few feet from disappearing into the safety of a palmetto grove. At that point, he was in escape mode with no theatrics.
When I stepped between him and the palmetto, he reacted with an impressive threat display. The photo above isn't great, I was trying to get an angle on him, while blocking him, and he was constantly moving.
I think the video is better.
Let's watch it and then we'll talk about these harmless snakes.
You already watched it 3 times?
Okay, ... for those who did NOT jump ahead, let's check it out.
Pretty impressive display. It's an instinctive response to a threat ... in this case me ... as if,
I'm on his side.
Unfortunately, I think it usually triggers the "Grab a hoe and chop like there's no tomorrow!" response in humans.
Which is really too bad, because these little guys are just not dangerous in any way.
The flattening of the head might be construed as a form of mimicry ... if cobras existed in the wilds of North America.
Since they don't, it's probably just a "See how BIG I am? Fear me!" sorta response ... just like dog hackles or feathers on a rooster that's about to fight.
If the hissing bighead display does not scare away the predator, the Hognose may roll over, belly up, with his tongue hanging out ... playing dead.
I was hoping to illicit that response too, but as I filmed, he decided to make a swift slither for the safety of the palmettoes.
I was filming with one hand and trying to grab him with the other ... which is why the end of the video is all swooshy bumpy.
Sometimes my multitasking is ... lacking ... in the "multi" part.