Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterodon platirhinos)
East Texas, April 16, 2003 --
Non-venomous; Beneficial

This snake was photographed by D. H., at her home in east Texas. When we talked over the phone, she told me she had seen this snake (and others like it) near her home on several occasions. It would puff its mouth (notice the yellow area below the head, puffed up like a balloon) and spread its body out below the head the way a cobra spreads its hood. 

The Eastern Hognose snake is highly variable in coloration and dorsal markings; it is usually well-patterned, with a background color of yellow, pinkish brown, grey, black or olive. In the literature the most common marking on its body is a series of transverse saddles on the top, alternating with short transverse stripes on the sides. Often, though, its coloration is so dark (as in this specimen) that the markings are obscured or not visible. The body scales are keeled (with a ridge running the length of each scale, making the body look rough and dull, rather than glossy and smooth) and the coloration of the underside is lighter at the tail than at the remainder of the belly.

Mature specimens of this snake are commonly 20-33 inches in length, but some have been found as long as 45 inches. Its body is thick, and its snout is upturned. 

This is a thick-bodied snake with an upturned snout. It mates in the spring, and the females deposit their eggs in June and July. The eggs, usually 15-25 in number, are deposited in depressions under objects such as rocks or logs, in mulch, or buried in sandy soil.  The eggs hatch in August and September.

Eastern Hognose snakes require sandy soils for habitat, and are found in fields, farmlands, and along sandy coasts. Their favorite prey is the toad, but they will feed on a wide variety of marine and terrestrial animals as well. They seem to be immune to the poisons toads produce, and have large teeth in the distal jaw to allow them to puncture toads that have inflated themselves defensively. 

As a defense mechanism, the Eastern Hognose puffs its mouth and spreads its skin, and assumes a striking posture. If you get within range, it will lunge and strike at you in a show that is very convincing. However it almost never bites defensively. Instead of continuing its show of aggression, it typically feigns death, even to the point of rolling over on its back and becoming limp. 

* TERMITE ENCOUNTERS  *  SNAKE ENCOUNTERS SNAKE BITE FIRST AID * SNAKE EXCLUSION * SPIDER ENCOUNTERS * SPIDER BITE FIRST AID * SPIDER EXTERMINATION * PUSS CATERPILLAR ENCOUNTERS * PUSS CATERPILLAR FIRST AID * PUSS CATERPILLAR EXTERMINATIONAssembled & Edited by Jerry Cates. Questions? Corrections? Comments? BUG ME RIGHT NOW! ---- Ph: 512-331-1111 ---- E-Mail ---- Privacy ----BugsInTheNews * --0a0s--