An ode to the toad eaters

Yesterday, I found North America's rarest and most secretive toad-eating specialist, the Southern Hognose Snake (Heterodon simus). It may not look all that different from its more common relative, the Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterodon platirhinos), but it occurs in a much narrower range and in much lower numbers.

Southern Hognose Snake:

This last one is a video:

Now I'll include some examples of the more common and more variable Eastern Hognose. A photo and a video have been included on my past blog posts, but I like them and felt like reusing them.

juvenile doing some impressive displaying

juvenile playing dead (if you try to flip them over, they'll flip back to belly up to continue playing dead)

adult displaying

Here's a video:

I've also recently been seeing individuals of the black (or melanistic) morph of the Eastern Hognose

Here's a video:

And now to make good on the "ode"

Oh stocky serpent with upturned nose,
unarmed with weaponry, but with bravery you bluff.
Capable of consuming toxic toads,
you're a behavioral wonder; what great stuff!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The simus nose looks upturned more so than platyrhinos noses...am I just imagining this? Very cool find!