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Western Hognose Snake

Photo by Suzanne L. Collins

Common Name: Western Hognose Snake

SCientific Name: Heterodon nasicus


Size: Length in Kansas up to 36 inches


Kansas range map for the Western Hognose Snake

Range: Found from the Flint Hills west to the Colorado border; an isolated population in the Chautauqua Hills of Chautauqua, Elk, and Greenwood counties.

Description: Harmless. Rough scales. A serpent with a sharply upturned snout and a jet black belly edged with bright yellow; underside of tail jet black edged with yellow. Body covered with 23-50 dark brown blotches down back; rows of smaller spots on the sides alternating with those on back. Young are miniature adults.

Habits: Prefers grassland or sand prairie; often found crossing a road. Breeding occurs in May; an average of 9 eggs per clutch are laid in July. Eats anything it can swallow from toads to rodents. Never bites. When first encountered, spreads hood, hisses, lunges at the intruder, and eventually “plays dead.”