Friday, January 30, 2009


This is Harley, the latest addition to my snake collection. (Hey Elaine, where are you going? E? Come back, its just a photo. Remember, snakes need love too!!!!).

Harley is a captive-born western hognose (Heterodon nasicus), and he's probably about 8 to 9 inches long right now --- no formal SVL measurement so far. Initially fed live pinkies, he has quickly/easily converted to frozen/thawed. I know the photo's not great, but isn't he cool? You can probably tell from the photo that he has an upturned snout - he uses this to dig in soils, and if in the wild, to excavate a toad or two (yum).

So why a western hognose? Well, since I'm a sucker for a list, here are the primary reasons:

  1. Everything I read about them indicated that they are a species that does well in captivity.
  2. They don't get too large, so a huge tank is not necessary.
  3. Their temperament is supposed to be pretty relaxed.
  4. Their color and patterns make 'em a pretty good looking species.
  5. This species has some pretty cool defense mechanism which make them particularly interesting.

So far everything I have read about this species seems accurate. Harley seems to have manged the transition to his new home pretty seamlessly. He is very relaxed when handled, and shows no aggression. He's feeding regularly now, which is reassuring. So, things look good so far.

So what are its defense mechanisms? Well, when agitated it may spread out its head and neck, not exactly like a cobra, but more like a little junior cobra-wannabe. And it may hiss audibly, and false strike repeatedly. Harley did all of this the first time I tried to feed him - pretty impressive display for such a little guy. Now, what Harley hasn't done is play dead ... I think this is a hognose's most intriguing behavior. I've seen it with eastern hognose in the wild, and it is really something. When disturbed, the snake may flip over on its back, wiggle around a bit, flop its tongue out, and maybe even excrete on itself. I'm not sure how effective this is in discouraging predators, but it is convincing ... unless of course you start to walk away, at which point it flips back over and resumes its snake stuff. If you return to it, it may again flop back over and go back through the routine. "Look at me, see how dead I am? And dude, can't you smell me? You should probably leave me alone" Isn't nature cool?!?!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dornans - Wyoming Photos

If you're in Grand Teton National Park in northwest Wyoming, and you find yourself getting hungry, I highly recommend a restaurant called Dornan's. Its got a nice relaxed feel about it. The food is plenty good, with healthy serving sizes - but the location is really the key for this place. Dornan's is located near Moose Junction, not far from the new visitor center (which is pretty amazing, by the way). Situated along the Snake River, you are pretty close to the base of the Tetons. The view is just stunning. So after a morning of hiking, you can grab a big plate of pasta and head for the outdoor patio on the second floor --- put your feet up, refuel, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Ahhh, good stuff. Check out for more details.

Below are a few photos from my most recent trip to Wyoming (October 2008) to visit my big sister. She was a most excellent host, guide, and photo assistant. Thanks Kiki! As it turns out, I couldn't have timed my trip any better - the autumn colors were fantastic, and the bull elk and moose were quite active and vocal. Awfully peaceful hanging out at the foot of the Tetons, waiting for the sun to rise, with the sound of elk bugling in the distance.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Franklin Park Conservatory - Photos(1/10/09)

The weather didn't cooperate on Saturday, so I headed over to the Franklin Park Conservatory with my camera. It was the first day of their orchid exhibit, so there were plenty of photo opportunities. As is usually the case, I ended up deleting about 95% of my photos ... but here are a few that made it through the first cut. C'mon Spring, hurry up!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Downtown Columbus - Photos (Part I)

Went for a stroll not long ago in downtown Columbus with my camera - took a few shots,
but nothing too compelling. However, I think
there is some potential there, so I may need to try again.