Page 122 - A Field Guide to Fairfax County's Plants and Wildlife
P. 122
tern Hog-nosed Snake

(Heterodon platirhinos)


This thick-bodied snake has a wide
head and flat, upturned snout. Its color
can vary a lot from place to place. Its
back may be gray, brown, tan, yellow,
olive, orangish, reddish or pinkish with
large dark blotches. It can also be all
black. It has a dark band behind the
eyes and two large spots behind the
head. It looks like a rattlesnake, but
does not have tail rattles or facial pits like rattlesnakes. It is nonvenomous. It
can grow up to 115 centimeters long. It matures at two to three years old. It
mates in spring after emerging from hibernation. In June or July, the female
lays eggs in a shallow burrow and offers no parental care. Young hatch in
August or September. It can live up to nine years.

To discourage predators, the Eastern Distribution and Habitat
Hog-nosed Snake will puff up its
neck, coil up with head raised, hiss It is native only in Canada and the
and strike without biting. If it is United States. It lives in all five
touched, it tries playing dead by physiographic provinces. It lives
rolling over and over with its mouth completely on land, in a variety of
open and tongue hanging out before habitats with loose soils.
going limp on its back.
Role in Food Web

It is specialized for eating toads and
frogs such as American Toads and
Wood Frogs. Its diet also includes
Eastern Red-spotted Newts, Eastern
Chipmunks, Field Crickets, Northern
Ringneck Snakes, Mourning Doves,
Common Five-lined Skinks and
Eastern Box Turtles. Its predators
include Red-tailed Hawks, owls, Milk
Snakes, Black Racers, Red Foxes,
Virginia Opossums and Striped

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