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This site was created by students in the herpetology class at Towson University.  Site last updated: 05/21/07.

Acknowledgements: Herb Harris - Range Maps;  Mark Tegges - Photography; Dan Lapascha & Gigi Forester - TU Herpetology Logo

Eastern Hog-nosed snake

(Heterodon platirhinos)


    This snake is usually 51-84 cm long, and it is named for its distinct upturned snout.  The coloration is quite variable; they may sometimes be completely grey or black, but most often they are spotted with brown, yellow, gray, olive, or red.  The venter is mottled with a light background of yellow or gray, and the underside of the tail is lighter than the belly.  The scales are keeled, and there are 23-25 dorsal scale rows at midbody.  Young are more brightly colored than adults and are 5-12 long at hatching.  This snake will loudly hiss and strike (with its mouth closed) when threatened, and may also 'play dead' by rolling over on its back with its mouth open until it feels safe.  



    This snake is most commonly found in sandy or loamy areas, but it can also be found in heavily wooded areas, prairies, and grasslands where it hunts its favorite prey item, toads.    


    The hognose snake breeds in the spring just after emerging from hibernation.  Females will lay 10-30 eggs in a sandy area where they are left to incubate for around two months before hatching. 


Distribution in Maryland

Range map adapted from Harris, 1975.