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Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterodon platirhinos)

Hognose snakeNH Conservation Status: State Endangered, Wildlife Action Plan Species in Greatest Need of Conservation

 

State Rank Status: Endangered.

 

Distribution: Southern NH along the Merrimack River, Concord to Massachusetts border.

 

Description: A thick-bodied snake measuring 20-35 inches. Has a characteristic upturned snout and keeled dorsal scales. Light and dark blotches vary in color from brown to red and orange. There is also a dark phase in which the body is almost uniform in and grayish-black color.

 

Commonly Confused Species: Garter snake; Timber rattlesnake

 

Habitat: Requires sandy, gravely soils such as open fields, river valleys, pine forests, and upland hillsides. Feeds predominately on toads; therefore needs breeding habitat (e.g., wetlands, vernal pools) for amphibians.

 

Life History: During summer lays eggs a few inches underground or under woody debris. Hibernates in mammal burrows, under woody debris, or under trash piles. Has a dramatic defense display including hissing, mock striking, and playing dead.

 

Conservation Threats: Loss of habitat from rapidly developing southern New Hampshire; mortality on roadways, loss of amphibian populations; people killing individual snakes because of fear (hognose snakes are not dangerous to humans or pets!!…unless you are a toad).

 

 

Hognose snake

Dark hognose snake with no obvious pattern. Photo by Mike Marchand.

Hognose snake

Hognose snakes put up a good bluff but are not dangerous. Hognose snakes often flatten and spread out their heads like a cobra. If this doesn’t work, they often flip over and play dead. Hognose snakes have an upturned nose that is helpful for digging in soil. Photo by Mike Marchand.
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Hognose snake

Eastern hognose snake, New Hampshire. Photo by Mike Marchand.

Hognose snake

Photo by Mike Marchand.

 

 

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Hognose snake

Eastern hognose snake, Alabama. Photo by Mike Marchand.