I had some time to kill today while I was waiting for the Nascar race in Talladega. That's a great track by the way. I was sitting on a swing that is next to a fence around my property. On the other side of the fence is a row of trees. In the leaves I heard something moving. That's nothing odd, there are always birds looking through the leaves for food. I was looking expecting to see a bird pecking at the ground. When I finally located what was making the noise I saw it was a black snake about 3 1/2 to 4 feet long.
Of course I had to try and catch it. I only saw the snake for a brief second, but I was sure it was a black racer. If I wanted to even have a chance to catch it I had to hurry. The gate is in the front of my yard. So I ran top speed to the gate, down the road, around the trees and then back towards the fence. I started looking for the snake and then I saw it's tail. I looked at it and realized it wasn't a black racer, but one of my favorite snakes, a hognose. He was frozen solid hoping I wouldn't see him. When he realized that I saw him and I was reaching for him, he opened up his hood. I grabbed him and as soon as I did he started to do what hognoses are famous for, writhing and then playing dead.
I was walking back to my front gate and he started to really musk. So hoping to avoid getting this foul smelling musk on me, I set him down. When I did I saw something come up out of his mouth. It was a medium sized toad. Another trick hognoses do is regurgitate their last meal. I looked at the toad and it was covered in slimy digestive juices. After laying there about 30 seconds it took a breath. That's right, it was unconsciences but it was still alive. I really wasn't sure if it was alive or if it was just nerves making it move. It just laid there on it's side. It took that one huge breath, but wasn't moving. So I touched it and it jumped. It wasn't a real jump since it was laying on it's side. I was sure even if it was alive that it wouldn't survive more than a few minutes. Hognose snakes has fangs in the rear of their mouth that it uses to puncture the lungs of toads and then inject venom. There was no way that it would survive that on top of being totally swallowed for who knows how long.
My wife loves toads and I knew this would upset her so I called my her over to look at it. lol
She touched it and it jumped again without going anywhere. I picked up the snake and took it back to my yard, to take pics of it. I'll post those pics maybe tomorrow.
As I was taking pics of the snake she was watching the toad. Believe it or not, within a few minutes the toad was back to normal and showed no signs of anything being wrong. My wife put the toad in my bog to let it recover.
The title of this says Two tales of survival, so here is the second. I went inside to watch the race. It was a great race. After the race, I went outside to pull some weeds out of my bog. I noticed a housefly struggling on a D.capillairis. I knew that the fly was too big to be caught the sundew, so I just watched it as it tried to pull itself free from the dew on the plant. It only took it about a minute to completely get off the plant. After it was free, it slowly walked away from the plant cleaning the dew from it's legs. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw something move. About 2 feet away from the fly was the toad. I didn't even know it was there until it started moving. It showed no fear of me at all and hopped straight toward me. In a blink of an eye I saw the toad make a weird movement with it's mouth and then the fly, that I had just watched for over a minute struggle for it's life, just disappeared.