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Found this little one blocking the trail in front of me. I took a picture and left him alone, he was not very happy.
Hognose play dead as a defense mechanism, and that includes holding their mouth open and sticking their tongue out. They also flatten themselves out almost completely to look larger to a predator, also another defense mechanism. I promise this is an Eastern Hognose. If you just zoom in on the picture you will very clearly see the upturned snout, it can't be anything besides a Hognose.
After I took this picture, he sat with his mouth open for a while and it was very white. I didn't think a hognose would do that. Also the body seems a little wide and flat to be a hognose. But I could see it not being a water moccasin, as he was about 100 yards away from the water.
I'm really glad you left this snake alone since it is a harmless Hognose. You can clearly see the very pointed snout, and the tail curling is a very common thing this species does. They are highly variable in pattern, this just happens to be a very dark one with faint bands, but it is definitely not a Cottonmouth.
Spotted on May 16, 2013 Submitted on Sep 29, 2013