How can I have lived almost 50 years in Ohio and never have heard of or seen this beautiful snake? I knew so little about our native snakes before volunteering at Shawnee State Park. The knowledge I gained was invaluable. Thanks, Jenny!!
Piglet was playing in the rain with Matty when I took these shots. His little Piglet snout looked especially cute sprinkled with raindrops, but it has a function too. He uses it to dig in sandy soils, sweeping his head back and forth.
...beautiful markings, but the pattern scared some of the parents who thought he might be an Eastern Massasauga (poisonous). A lot of people had never heard of a hognose, but soon overcame their fear when they saw how docile and harmless Piglet was.
...the longer you look at this guy the cuter he becomes. It's amazing what a week with these critters can do for you.
...all the kids who came into the Nature Center ended up falling for Piglet! Here a little boy gently holds Piglet who gives us a nice profile shot!
Hog-nosed Snakes actually have fangs (or large teeth) in the rear of their mouths, and their saliva is slightly toxic to their prey but harmless to humans. Piglet was so friendly, we didn't get to see the act a hognose puts on when he feels threatened. A hognose will rear up, flatten its head, inflate its body and hiss...and if that doesn't scare his enemy away, he might just flop over and play dead like an opossum. Either way, it would be quite a sight to see...
...for a post on a native Eastern Hognose Snake and his "playing dead" antics, click here.