The Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterodon platirhinos) is a medium sized terrestrial snake. The snake usually will have blotches on its back
except for the pure black coloration. The colors of this snake are very variable. They can have a reddish to orange ground color, pure black, khaki-green, yellowish, a whitish cream color, and also
brown. Its color varies greatly on where it found. Some areas in their range they can be solid black. That coloration is not
typically found in Georgia. Some can be
hard to distinguish between the Southern Hognose Snake (Heterodon
simus) because their distribution range overlaps with each other. The juveniles
color can differ but they always have the blotched pattern. The average length for this snake is between 2ft to 3ft with the
max record just being less than 4ft at 46 1/2in.
The Eastern Hognose Snake found in
the Sandhill Habitat which is associated with the coastal plain region of the southeast. They can be also be found in rocky
forest hillsides, abandoned agricultural areas which that will have debris around them including sheets of tin and boards,
open pine forest including the Longleaf Pine and Saw-palmetto habitat in the south, and dried up creek bed which has loose
sandy soil. They are commonly found in areas that have very loose soil since they burrow using their up-turn snout.
The Eastern Hognose
Snake primary food source is toads but occasion eat frogs and salamanders. They have been known to eat lizards, small turtles,
mice, lizards, birds, smaller snakes, and some invertebrates. The Eastern Hognose snake has
at the back of the mouth two long teeth. The use for these is when the toad puffs up they are used to pop the toads so the
toad will be able to be eaten. They are considered to be immune to the venom of the toads.
Abundance and Behavior:
The Eastern Hognose Snake can be found
in ever state east of the Mississippi other than a few extreme
Northwestern States. They can be found in
every county in Georgia but seem to be more prevalent in the southern part
of Georgia. This snake’s behavior
is very different from other snakes. When threaten they will puff up and spread a hood behind the head and strike but will
rarely bite. If this doesn’t detour the threat then the snake will play “possum” which is that the snake
will turn on its back and play dead. The snake will also release a bad odor for its cloacae (the opening where the waste and
sex glands come out) which will make the threat think its dead. The snake will also open its mouth and if you try to turn
it over it will turn right on its back. It is a very spectacular display.