Eastern Hog-nosed Snake Playing Dead

The Eastern Hog-nosed snake is known for its distinctive upturned snout that gives the species its name and makes it easy to identify. Their habitat includes fields, forests, beaches and old dunes.  When a Hog-nosed Snake is threatened it puts on a very unique display. It will flatten its head giving itself a cobra-like appearance and strike at you with its mouth closed. If that doesn’t work it will throw up on itself and roll around in it. Then it flips onto its back and sticks out its tongue and pretends to be dead. If you flip the snake over while this is occurring, it will flip back over again as if to convince you that it really is dead.

Hog-nosed Snakes mainly eat toads such as the American Toad and the Fowler’s Toad, but also eats frogs on occasion. It is believed that the elongated teeth that are present in the back of the snake’s mouth are used to puncture the toads who inflate their lungs in order to make themselves harder to swallow.

The hog-nosed locates its prey primarily by scent which is shown by the fact that they can locate buried toads and then use their shovel shaped head to uncover them.

Predators of the hog-nosed’s nest include foxes, raccoons, and other mammals and the adults are eaten by raptors and wild turkeys.

Much of the habitat of the Hog-nosed Snake has been destroyed and turned into waterfront recreational areas and agricultural fields. Humans are also a threat as they kill hognose snakes when they put on their defensive display as they are perceived as dangerous.  

– V. Nolan (2014) 












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