Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterodon platirhinos)

Description: Nose upturned, variable colors ranging from brown to yellow to red, with 20-30 dark blotches; Belly may be darkened, but the underside of tail is lighter than the belly.

Habitat: Deciduous forests to prairies but prefers sandy soils along rivers and streams.

Size: Typical adult length: 51-84 cm (20-33 in); Maximum 42 inches (Collins & Collins 1993).

Diet: Mainly toads.

Natural History: Diet consists mainly of toads, which are seized with the mouth and swallowed. The Eastern hognose snake shows amazing behavior if distrubed. If you approach this snake it propabpy will hiss and flatten the head and flare the neck, which gives its head a triangular appearance. They may even raise the head and strike with mouth closed. Hognose snakes almost never bite but tihis threat-like behavior is very convincing and usually frightens people or predators away. If pressed further, the snake may roll over and play dead. When turned right side up it immediately turns belly up and resumes playing dead.

The odd, upturned nose is used for digging its most common food, toads. Another adaptation for eating toads are enlarged teeth at the rear of the upper jaw. A toad under attack can inflate its body with air to avoid being eaten. The hognose's enlarged teeth can puncture and deflate the toad so it can be swallowed easily.

Similar species:

  1. Upturned nose separates this snake from all others except Western Hognose Snake. In Western Hognose Snake, the underside of tail is dark (similar to belly) while in Eastern Hognose Snake the underside of tail, lighter than belly