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Georgia's Reptiles and Amphibians

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Eastern Hognose Snake

Heterodon platirhinos

NON-VENOMOUS

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Photo by John C. Zegal; Found in Gwinnett County, Ga

Description:

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.

 

Habitat:

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.

 

Prey:

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.



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Live and Let Live

All photos are taken by myself unless noted otherwise. All photos are Copyright 2005-2006. If you would like to use any of my photos just email me and I will be happy to let anyone use them.

 

Need Help Identifing a Snake In your area? First though look through the photos of the snakes and if still have questions email me at timberrattlesnake89@gmail.com and I will take a look at it. And most likely be able to get you a correct anwser. Also please do not send me pictures of snakes that have been choped up into pieces. This really distresses me and I have gotten several emails where there were people who showed me pictures of snakes that they killed and all have turned out to be non-venomous.

 

Never Pick Up, Handle, or Try To Kill Any Venomous Snakes! Most Bites Occur That Way! Never Pick Up A Snake That You Are Uncertain About!

 

Disclaimer!!! Please do not do anything you see me do on this website. Some of these animals are very dangerous and I understand the risk of working with them. The bite from some of these animals can easily kill me or do extreme harm. If you do want to get into venomous herpeculture please do as much research as possible about them before considering working with them. Also I would suggest getting proper training from professional before working with them too. I do not accept any responsibility for anyone elses actions.