Opinions please on this unusual hognose encounter

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Jon Wedow
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Opinions please on this unusual hognose encounter

Post by Jon Wedow » June 17th, 2013, 12:56 pm

Has anybody seen behaviour like this from hognosed snake before?

We have had some really wet weather here in Southern Ontario so this probably has something to do with it but basically at about 9:45pm (maybe 20 minutes after dusk) I was driving home through a belt of rain and just as the rain stopped I straddled a 3' hognose crossing the road when I least expected it. This area had lots of rain just moments before I drove thorugh it. Shocked to see a snake it took me a few seconds to react. I ran out through the puddles with my flashlight to find the snake but it was gone. I'm guessing that it didn't feel threated and made a hasty retreat beyond the ditch. It was 18 degrees Celcius (64 F).

I was surprised to see a hognose active at night, and a rainy night at that! Considering they are amphibian eaters the rain my not be all that surprising but I have always found them to be a species that likes to keep dry, and even prefers dry hot habitats that most other snake species would avoid. The other thing that surprised me was it's speedy getaway. I don't think I have ever seen a hognose move so quick but then again I'm usually finding them in the day and they are well aware of my presence so more inclined to pause and puff up a bit than flee. I thought the car flying over it would have startled it a bit but it just seemed to keep trucking on course hence why I have no photos and only this story!

Any input?

Thanks!

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muskiemagnet
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Re: Opinions please on this unusual hognose encounter

Post by muskiemagnet » June 17th, 2013, 3:20 pm

you may have actually clipped it. that might explain the very quick retreat. it was dark and raining. how certain are you on the ID? could it have been something else?

-ben

gretzkyrh4
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Re: Opinions please on this unusual hognose encounter

Post by gretzkyrh4 » June 18th, 2013, 4:54 am

Jon,

I don't have anything to offer regarding the speedy retreat, but I have encountered one eastern hog under similar conditions. We were in the FL panhandle for the weekend a few years ago in March and decided to go cruising one evening after things had cooled for from a late afternoon rain. There was nothing on the road except southern and spadefoot toads. About 2 hours after sunset though, we swung around a bend in the road and locked up the brakes as we spotted a 2' long, black snake stretched out across the pavement. It kept moving after we straddled it, but not so quickly that we couldn't catch it before it left the pavement. Much to our surprise, it turned out to be an eastern hog. We were shocked, but like you assumed it was out due to all the toads on the move. We also thought it looked a little on the skinny side, which could explain the need for it's late night hunt.

Chris

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Don Becker
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Re: Opinions please on this unusual hognose encounter

Post by Don Becker » June 18th, 2013, 8:35 am

I found a fox snake out on the road in at night in a thunderstorm as well. I've also seen a race runner jet across the road at night in a thunderstorm. Animals have to move sometimes, and it's not always at ideal times. In the case of the hog, I guess it doesn't surprise me much. When your primary food source is amphibians, you would probably be out hunting when they are active. The roads can get loaded with frogs and toads around here when its raining.

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Jon Wedow
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Re: Opinions please on this unusual hognose encounter

Post by Jon Wedow » June 18th, 2013, 11:33 am

Thanks for the input guys,

Ben - I am very certain on the ID. The only other possibility would be a water snake, which is a pretty good match for size and colour, but they are extremely rare in this area and this was pretty far inland from the shoreline and creeks where they are still fairly uncommon. This snake was much more stout and had that protruding head and large eye combination which I noticed as I passed over. This along with the dull brown pattern was what ruled out Ratsnakes or Foxsnakes, which are the only other large snakes in the area. It had been raining but this was a break in the rain.

Chris - THANKS! You're account makes me feel like I'm not crazy! The snake may not have been incredibly fast but I was probably going about 70-80km and didn't brake as fast as I normally do... I was in amphibian-straddle mode on my hour long trip back home and was talking hands free in the car so fairly distracted. By the time I stopped and found a light this thing was long gone.

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Russ_Jones
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Re: Opinions please on this unusual hognose encounter

Post by Russ_Jones » June 18th, 2013, 7:47 pm

Jon,

I havn't seen a hognose at night, but I helped a foxsnake cross a busy road last year at night. It is the only time I have seen nocturnal behaviour in foxsnakes.

Russ

Bob McKeever
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Re: Opinions please on this unusual hognose encounter

Post by Bob McKeever » June 23rd, 2013, 11:36 am

In late May 2009 I was surveying a road in southern New Mexico beginning at sunset & continuing until midnight or so with multiple trips on this road. On the third pass over the road, at 9:25 PM in a steady, light rain & 58 degrees F, I found a small Plains Hog-nosed Snake DOR. Traffic was very light & only one only vehicle had passed within an hour or so. There were hundreds of toads & spadefoots active over the entire length of the road.

The snake was a small one (one of the previous year's young) & I can't guarantee that I hadn't missed it on my first two passes but I seriously doubt it (I was driving 15 mph at most & stopping to ID & photograph every amphibian). This is as close as I can come to your experience, but I have to stop short of saying that this was positively nocturnal activity on the part of the Hog-nose.

WW**
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Re: Opinions please on this unusual hognose encounter

Post by WW** » June 23rd, 2013, 11:32 pm

It's amazing what you can find out on the road at night.... in S. America, I have on two or three occasions found Ameiva ameiva, normally the ultimate heliotherm, running around on the road at night (dry nights, not particularly hot, no special weather conditions), and I once caught a juvenile common iguana on the road during a torrential downpour - although that one had probably just been washed out of its tree...

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