Thursday, May 10, 2012
Animal Tips for Writers: Hog-Nosed Snakes
The hog-nosed snake is sometimes erroneously called a puff adder, but it is not venomous, so your hero has nothing to fear from it no matter what some people may claim. Hog-nosed snakes get their name from their upturned snout, which they use to help with digging. They are often brown with darker and lighter brown markings, but can also be a variety of other colors.
Some hog-nosed snakes eat only toads, while others eat rodents and lizards. Despite being pretty much harmless, they are sometimes mistaken for copperheads and killed. While the hog-nosed snake is unlikely to bite, when it is threatened it will sometimes raise its head off the ground and spread its neck out like a cobra, while hissing loudly.
If this does not scare a threat away, or if the snake is too scared to make such a display, it will roll onto its back and play dead with its mouth open and its tongue hanging out. On the rare occasions they do bite, their saliva contains a weak toxin that causes relatively mild localized symptoms.
Have you ever encountered a hog-nosed snake?
(c) 2012 Jonathan Garner