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Dusty Hognose Snake in Missouri!!!

This species was considered extirpated in the state of Missouri until a lone specimen was discovered in a remnant sand prairie of south east Missouri in May of 2003 buy two biologists. Until this specimen was discovered there had been no recorded sighting of this snake in over forty years in the state. Unfortunately the sand prairies of south east Missouri have largely been developed for agriculture.
I had scouted around and found some of this habitat during the summer and planned on checking it out more thoroughly as soon as things cooled off. After a weekend at Snake Road (which I'll report on later) I stopped by one of these sand prairies. The weather was in the mid sixties and overcast so I really didn't expect to see anything out moving; not to mention, I didn't even know if this snake existed in this prairie. I decided to simply take a walk around the smallish prairie to enjoy the rare habitat. After a long walk I came across a large Southern Black Racer that had more blue than most Blue Racers I've seen (which makes me wonder if there is a genetic link to the Blue Racers that live in similar habitat in Illinois). I grabbed the racer for a photo, due to its striking color, and was carrying it to a clearing for the photograph; that’s when things get blurry; I remember seeing the snake out on the crawl right under my feet. The next thing I remember was looking at the snake in my hand and trying to come to terms with the fact that this was really happening and not just my imagination. Needless to say I quickly forgot about the racer and let it on its way. After recording the locality and taking a few photos I returned the hog to the exact spot I found him and watched him crawl away. As far as I'm aware of this is the second of the only two found and photographed in over forty years!




Since I wrote the above report Jeff Briggler of the Missouri Conservation Department has informed me that my Hognose was the fourth recorded in Missouri in the last two years.  Also, I was pleased to hear that my snake was from a different locality than the others.