This past week, my six-year-old was playing in the backyard, when he discovered a snake close beside him. He called to his sister who then called to me, saying there was a baby copperhead in the grass. I rushed outside and caught it by the head with a stick; on first glance, it did look like a copperhead. I told my oldest son to bring something to “take care of it” with. He came from the house with a container to put it in — not quite what I had in mind — so we pushed it into the clear little bowl.
The snake immediately flipped over, opened its mouth, and dropped out its tongue! It was playing dead! Though the copperhead would have wanted it’s life spared, they don’t know that trick. A few years ago, we had found a much-larger, black-colored snake that did the same thing. This snake was a hognose snake.
Just to be sure, I did a quick Internet search of photos and found pictures of hognose snakes that are similar in color to copperheads — and just like ours. Through the bowl we looked at his nose; it was a little upturned. We now had a confirmed hognose on our hands.
Much relieved, I took out the snake so the children could hold it. When we found the previous snake, we learned that hognose snakes aren’t poisonous, rarely bit, and can make good pets. The snake cooperated; within a few minutes, it was no longer frightened.
That was on Sunday…we still have the hognose. His name now is Snake-ily, and he lives in our house. Fortunately, we had a “spare” reptile set-up in storage, so he’s very comfortable and doing well. And next week, we’ll be starting a unit study about snakes. 🙂