A Puff Adder Feigns Death

By William T. Hathaway

Puff Adder (Heterodon platyrhinos)

Most outdoor hikers are aware that the Puff Adder has several other names such as Hognose Snake, Spreadhead Moccasin, Hissing Viper, etc.

I spotted this specimen on the shoulders of a dirt/gravel road near Markham in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. I thought surely that the snake had been run over. When poking the snake with my walking stick, it was obvious that the snake was very much alive. After lifting this harmless snake to the safety of nearby bushes, I returned to the car and marveled at having witnessed another talent of the Puff Adder.

My color slide was dated May 1984.

(See also several photographic views of a Puff Adder; this photograph in larger format; and more snakes.)