The Eastern hognose snake or eastern hog-nosed snake (Heterodon platirhinos) is a benign non-venomous colubrid species endemic to North America with no subspecies currently known.
The Eastern hog-nosed snake is native to the Nearctic ecozone and located from the southern half of the US from central New England to Florida, southern New Hampshire, eastern Texas, western Kansas and also in southern Canada.
The species is absent in some areas in the Great Lakes area including south of Lakes Erie and Ontario and eastern parts of Wisconsin.
The eastern hognose snake inhabits coastal locations, pine forests, deciduous woodlands, prairies, meadows, pastures, woodlands with sandy soil, fields, and farmlands.
The eastern hognose measures on average 20 to 30 inches (50 to 76 cm) using a thick body and a broad triangle-shaped head. The females are larger than males. Their color pattern is variable and ranges from even orange, olive, brown, gray, black, or yellow.
Occasionally they’re blotched or checkered with big rectangle-shaped spots and blotches their sides and back, but it can be a good colour. Its belly is grey, cream, or yellow in colour.
The southern hognose strength in the wild is unknown but have been known to live for 11 years . Birds of prey, owls, hawks, skunks, opossums and other snakes prey upon them such as the racer or the milk snake.
The southern hognose solitary animals and mainly active during the daytime, however they occasionally confine their activity to morning and evening time in warm weather. They are good burrowers and create their own burrows, utilize or expand dens of other animals such as skunks, foxes or woodchucks, to hibernate in the winter from late October.
The species has its name from its distinctive upturned snout, used to dig the soil and leaf litter. When faced or feeling threatened that the eastern hognose, will raise the head and puff and hiss loudly, flatten the throat skin, much like a cobra hood and lunge itself towards the threat.
Because of this behaviour, it is sometimes called the”puff adder” but it’s not to be confused to the”real” and highly venomous suck adder located in Africa. They play dead, then rolling in their back with their mouth excrete or open a foul musk to escape predators.
The eastern hognose are offered in the exotic pet trade, yet this sort of snakes are hard to keep because of their specific diet requirements, as they can develop liver problems if fed rodents.
The southern hognose has no subspecies currently recognized, and has been initially described by Latreille in 1801.
What does an eastern hognose snake eat?
The Eastern hognose prevents small mammals such as mice, salamanders, small reptiles and reptile eggs,frogs, small birds, and insects. But these snakes have specialized in eating toads with its own nose.
With their grinding skills, broad mouths with flexible jaws and curved teeth they hunt the wide-bodied toads.They are immune to the toxins toads secrete, their immunity stems out of enlarged adrenal glands which secrete massive amounts of hormones, used neutralize the toxins within the toads skin.
Although the toads will often inflate themselves with atmosphere in an attempt to escape being eaten by the snake they seldom succeed. The eastern hognose has a pair of teeth found in the back of the mouth which are considered to be employed to Heal those inflated toads.
The species has technical salivary glands that secrete a mild amphibian-specific venom which aids them subduing amphibians, even although it’s harmless to other animals and humans.
The southern hognose mating season occurs in the spring from April to May, plus they mate when they are about 2 years of age. They are oviparous and females set out of 8 to 40 eggs using a mean about 25, in June or early July, and also measure about 1 1⁄4 in × 1 at (33 mm × 23 mm
The eggs are laid under a stone or log or in a depression in the sandy soil and will hatch after about 60 days later, from late July to September.
Females won’t look after the eggs or the young snakes once they hatch. The hatchlings are born with a length of approximately 6.5 to 8.3 inches (16.5 to 21 cm).
The eastern hognose snake has been classified as a Least Concern species in the IUCN Red List, also because of the species presumed large population and wide distribution.
Although nearly all of their natural habitat remains untouched, during their scale habitat destruction impacts them and their numbers have diminished.
The people numbers may continue to diminish since the toad populations also decline, which is apparently true from the southern North America.
Though the eastern hog-nosed snake is benign it’s often mistaken for venomous rattlesnakes, and lots of encounters with individuals probably end with all the snake being murdered. They’re frequently victims of roadkill.
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