Eastern Hognose Snake

Common Name - Eastern Hognose Snake

Category - Reptiles

Scientific Name - Heterodon platirhinos

Kingdom - Animalia

Phylum - Chordata

Class - Reptilia

Order - Squamata

Family - Colubridae

Genus - Heterodon

Species - platirhinos


Description - Yellowish to greenish non-venomous snake; dark blotches down back, but may be all black with no pattern; spots on sides alternate with blotches on back; upturned snout; wide neck; enlarged tooth in back of mouth

Size - 15 - 36 in. (38.1 - 91.44 cm) long

Ecological Role - Hognose snakes are terrestrial snakes and prey upon toads, other amphibians, and fish. They are preyed upon by red-tailed hawks, barred owls and other snakes such as kingsnakes, racers, black rat snakes, and cottonmouths.

Fun Facts - The eastern hognose snake will flatten its head and neck and hiss loudly when threatened. It may also roll over and appear to be dead. When this snake is not feeding it can be found burrowed into loose soil. The upturned snout and flat head help this snake dig its own burrows.

This snake's scientific name Heterodon means different tooth, referring to enlarged teeth found in the back of the snake's mouth. The hognose snake will use their specialized teeth to assist when preying upon toads. Toads will puff themselves up with air, making it appear that they are too large to swallow; the hognose snake will pop them with using their teeth just like a balloon. This behavior has earned it some colorful names including puff adder and blow viper.

Food - Primarily toads; occasionally frogs, fish, newts, salamanders


Nest - Shallow cavity in loose soil or under rocks

Breeding - Spring, after emerging from hibernation

Eggs - 15 - 36 cream colored, thin-shelled eggs are laid June - July

Habitat - Open woodlands, especially along edges; fields; woodland meadows; prefers sandy soils

Kentucky Distribution - Statewide

Life Cycle

Life Span

Life Stage


Seasonal Changes - The hognose snake uses its upturned snout and flat head to dig a burrow for hibernation beginning in late October or early November. It comes out of hibernation during late March or early April.





Young - Born August - September; 6 - 9 in. (15.24 - 22.86 cm) long at birth; much brighter in color than adults; large heads

What We Can Do - Protect toad habitat. A decline in toads due to herbicides and pesticides could lead to a decline in this snake species.


Diagnosis and Control

Interesting Facts

Contributed By

Website - www.herpnet.net/Iowa-Herpetology