With one notable exception...
I found myself in Adams County, Ohio yesterday, along with some friends. More posts on that mission will probably follow at some point, as we were up to some fairly interesting things. Anyway, we stopped in to the Eulett Center to meet up with some people, and our arrival coincided with that of Eric Davenport, who serves as Chief Naturalist for the Edge of Appalachia Preserve. Eric had a bag dangling in his hand, and within was this gorgeous Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, Heterodon platirhinos.
By now, most people will be headed the other way, but if you persist the snake begins Act II. It'll roll over on its back, dangle its head loosely, and loll its tongue from its mouth. This is an excellent imitation of playing dead. If you attempt to right the reptile, it'll often just promptly roll back over and continue feigning dead. As good as this performance is, it all too often works against the snake when humans are involved. Ignoramuses sometimes kill them, thinking the hognose to be dangerous.
The Eastern Hog-nosed Snake is yet another facet of Ohio's declining natural heritage. At one time, this species occurred in at least 30 of Ohio's 88 counties. Today, it still persists in perhaps nine of those counties. These charismatic and fascinating animals should be protected at all costs.