Eastern Hognose Snake

Photo by Suzanne L. Collins

Common Name: Eastern Hognose Snake

Scientific Name: Heterodon platirhinos

SPECIES IN NEED OF CONSERVATION

Size: Length in Kansas up to 43 1/8 inches

 

Kansas range map for the Eastern Hognose Snake

Range: Occurs throughout eastern three-quarters of Kansas, but undocumented from many areas in the eastern third. Invades the High Plains only along the aquatic corridors of the Arkansas and Cimarron river valleys.

Description: Harmless. Sharply upturned snout; rough scales; underside of tail much lighter in color than belly. Highly variable in color. Back, head and tail may be yellow, brown, reddish, olive or gray, with 20–30 dark brown or black blotches on back and similarly colored bands on tail. Sides of the body with 2–3 series of small, dark spots alternating with the blotches on the back. Belly may be yellowish, gray, olive or reddish; becomes darker toward the rear. Young same as adults.

Habits: Lives in forested areas of eastern Kansas west to open prairies along the Colorado border. Prefers sandy stretches along valleys of major rivers. Active from late April to October. Mating occurs during April and May; a single clutch of 4-61 eggs is laid; eggs are deposited in late June or July; incubation requires 50–65 days. Never bites. Feeds primarily on toads. When first encountered, spreads hood, hisses, lunges at the intruder, and eventually “plays dead.”