Hognose snake: ‘The great pretender’

To the Editor:

I’ve been fortunate to see the Eastern hognose snake on three separate occasions, and all the sightings have been at the Brox town land.

My first sighting was several years ago of a juvenile looking very cute, as most young of wild species do. His presence meant that there was breeding of Hognose snakes at Brox.

Sure enough, a few years later I came across one adult, then sometime afterwards, another adult.

There is a population of these severely endangered snakes that the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Nongame & Endangered Wildlife Program is attempting to study right now, as The Cabinet’s Fast News story “Animal spotting” mentioned.

I hear that other people in the neighborhood of Brox have been seeing and photographing them, too.

Rest assured that the hognose snake is not to be feared, because they are all bluff. They are the great pretenders, expanding their head and neck cobra-style, but they are not dangerous and not venomous. This bluff is intended to scare you away. Unfortunately, their great acting skills get them killed by human ignorance.

The hognose snake is mild-mannered. The N.H. F&G’s fact sheet, as found at their website, implores people not to kill these snakes. In fact, no snake in New Hampshire needs to be killed.

The hognose snake has defensive mechanisms that might actually make you laugh, because they sometimes flip over and play dead.

So if you are fortunate like me to see one of these state-endangered snakes, then watch, maybe take a photo, and most definitely let the snakes continue on their merry way to where they need to go.

Don’t let the bluff scare you into harming one of these gentle creatures. N.H. F&G, nature and the snake will thank you.

Tom Gardner