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Content tagged with "snake"

Photo of a cottonmouth snake in defensive posture.

Cottonmouth snake in defensive posture

A cottonmouth gapes its mouth open in a defensive posture, showing the white lining that is the origin of the common name.

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Cottonmouth snake

Cottonmouth snake in defensive posture

A cottonmouth gapes its mouth open in a defensive posture, showing the white lining that is the origin of the common name.

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A photo of a cottonmouth snake in defensive posture.

Cottonmouth snake in defensive posture

A photo of a cottonmouth snake in defensive posture.

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eastern coachwhip

Eastern Coachwhip

Coluber flagellum flagellum
This large, slender, nonvenomous snake usually escapes in an explosive burst of speed. It is fast-moving and thrashes when captured, which led to the stubborn myth that this snake can whip a person to death.

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Eastern gartersnake

Eastern Gartersnake (Eastern Garter Snake)

Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis
Of the five kinds of garter snakes in Missouri, the eastern gartersnake is the most common. Though the color is variable (dark brown, greenish, or olive), there are normally three yellowish stripes, one down the back and one on each side.

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Photo of an eastern hog-nosed snake.

Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake

The eastern hog-nosed snake is a medium-sized snake with a heavy body and an upturned snout. It is found throughout Missouri.

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Photo of an orangish eastern hog-nosed snake, head spread.

Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake

For defense, the eastern hog-nosed snake can hiss loudly and spread its neck like a cobra. It may even “strike” — though it does so with its mouth closed. This is a harmless and nonvenomous snake.

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Photo of an orangish eastern hog-nosed snake playing dead.

Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake

If hissing, spreading its head, and pretending to strike fails to ward off an enemy, an eastern hog-nosed snake may play dead: Go into convulsions, open its mouth, let the tongue hang out, writhe about and roll over on its back, and release feces from its cloaca.

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Photo of an eastern hog-nosed snake on back in defensive pose.

Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake

If left unmolested, an eastern hog-nosed snake that is playing dead will eventually, very slowly, roll back over, look about to make sure it is safe, and retreat to a nearby shelter. These are harmless snakes, and their defensive behaviors are their way to keep from being eaten by other animals.

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