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Eastern hognose snake facts for kids

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Eastern hognose snake
Eastern Hognose Snake.jpg
eastern hog-nosed snake
(southern Georgia morph)
Conservation status
Scientific classification
  • Heterodon platirhinos
    Latreille in Sonnini & Latreille, 1801
  • Coluber heterodon Daudin, 1803
  • Heterodon niger Holbrook, 1842
  • Heterodon platyrhinos [sic]
    Baird & Girard, 1853
  • Heterodon platyrhinus [sic]
    A.M.C. Duméril, Bibron & A.H.A. Duméril, 1854
  • Heterodon niger
    – A.M.C. Duméril & Bibron, 1854
  • Heterodon browni
    Stejneger, 1903
  • Heterodon contortrix
    – M.J. Allen, 1932
  • Heterodon contortrix – Burt, 1935
  • Heterodon contortrix
    – Grant, 1937
  • Heterodon contortrix browni
    – Carr, 1940
  • Heterodon platirhinos
    – Conant & Collins, 1991
  • Heterodon platirhinos
    – Crother, 2000
  • Heterodon platyrhinos
    – Purser, 2003

Heterodon platirhinos, also known as the Eastern hognose snake, is a species of mildly venomous colubrid snake. It lives throughout North America.


The average length for an adult eastern hognose snake is 71 cm (28 in) in length. The most amazing feature is the upturned nose. It is used for digging in sandy soils. It can be red, green, orange, brown or gray to black depending on where it comes from. The belly tends to be a solid gray, yellow, or cream-colored.

Distribution and Habitat

It is found from southern New Hampshire south to the southern tip of Florida and into the central United States. Eastern hognose snakes are also found as far west as Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and into the southern tip of South Dakota. In total, they are found in about thirty states in the United States and are also found in southern Ontario.

Eastern hognose snakes are mostly found in places with dry, sandy, or mixed sandy soils. They are usually found in grassy fields, fields that contain crops, and along woodland edges. Sometimes they can be found near small bodies of water. Eastern hognose snakes are also sometimes found in buildings such as greenhouses and barns.


The Eastern hognose snake eats mainly frogs, lizards, salamanders, insects, other invertebrates, and small rodents. It is only mildly venomous. That means that, much like garter snakes, there's only enough toxins in their saliva to paralyze small animals.


The predators of the Eastern hognose snake are raccoons, Virginia opossums, red foxes, hawks, common king snakes, cottonmouths, tarantulas.


Eastern hognose snakes are diurnal animals. They will swim to cross between habitats and to find food or mates. Eastern hognose snakes are mostly active from early April until October or November depending on the temperature. Eastern hognose snakes usually begin hibernation anywhere from early September into November. If the temperatures drop to 19 degrees Celsius, they will begin their hibernation. Eastern hognose snakes hibernate by themselves in either burrows made by themselves or abandoned mammal burrows. Eastern hognose snakes tend to burrow at night into sandy soil.


Eastern hognose snakes mate in April and May. They lay 8 - 40 eggs in June or early July. They do not take care of the eggs or young. The eggs hatch after about 60 days, from late July to September. The hatchlings are 16.5–21 cm (6.5–8.3 in) long.


When threatened, the hognose will play dead. It sometimes even lets its tongue hang from its mouth.


It is often thought to be nonvenomous because it is not harmful to humans but it does have venom. Bitten humans who are allergic to the saliva have been known to experience swelling, but no human deaths have been recorded.

Conservation status

Eastern hognose snakes are listed as least concern on the IUCN red list. In the future, they may be threatened because of habitat destruction and decrease in the number of toad in their native areas. Eastern hognose snakes are sometimes mistaken for pygmy rattlesnakes and are often killed because of this.

Economic importance

Eastern hognose snakes eats lots of small mammals, insects, and amphibians and therefore limit their populations. They have the strongest role in limiting toad populations. Eastern hognose snakes have been reported to be mildly venomous to humans.

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