Jake said, “C’mon, let’s go hog-nosing.”
That’s not much of an incentive for me as hog-noses are just not my favorite critters.
But then Jake said “Good chance for a Florida pine, too.”
“Oh,” I replied. “You mean southern hog-noses, eh?”
Well, southerns are a bit better, and somewhere in the sandy country where they live Jake almost always runs afoul of sand-spurs, the latter occasion usually being an interesting interlude. Now we were looking at southern hog-noses, southern pine snakes, and sand spurs. Taken together this was a little more to my liking, so off we went.
And an hour and a half later we arrived. It was a dry, relatively cool, and very sunny day; the kind of weather which makes all good snakes active.
This hour and a half drive brought us to a grid of southern hog-nose, Heterodon simus, habitat that until recently was not well known to the herping community. Sadly (from a conservation viewpoint), one well known and very garrulous herper learned of the area and broadcast its potential far and wide.
This, of course, led to an influx of hog-nose hunters whenever weather conditions allowed. It led also to an adverse and vocal response from the homeowners who were suddenly faced with a notable change in traffic volume in their quiet, if sandy, community.
So, in the hope of avoiding controversy, Jake and I agreed to drive slowly, carefully, and to leave immediately if challenge seemed imminent. And not only did we follow these self-imposed rules, taking care that no roostertail plume of dust followed us, but we stopped and explained to a homeowner or two what we were doing (photographing wildlife) and that we would be very careful while looking.
This courtesy paid dividends. We spent an unchallenged hour and a half, found and photographed a beautiful adult male hog-nose, and left feeling pleased. Mission accomplished – uneventfully.
But, darn it! No sand spurs on this trip.
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