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Western hognose snake

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Western Hognose Snakes are little poisonous snakes that have a colorful attitude!

Hognose snakes are noted for their acting talents. They may act dead, flatten their neck ribs to “hood up” like a cobra, and fake strike.

This snake’s deadly nature is one of its most intriguing features.

Western Hognoses have rear fangs that create a little poison in their saliva to hunt. They also have a scoop nose for burrowing.

These snakes make excellent first-time pets because of their tiny size and friendly demeanor.

Western Hognose snake is endemic to central North America.

These poisonous snakes range all the way from southern Canada to northern Mexico. In these regions, they are also known as:

  • Prairie Hognose.
  • Plains Hognose.
  • Texas Hog.
  • The Puff Adder is a North American species.

The Hognose receives its scientific name Heterdon nasicus from the Latin word “nasus,” meaning “nose.”

They have a distinctive nose that scoops upwards to make digging simple. Their scoop nose and checkered body pattern make them one of the most gorgeous snakes in North America.

Western hognoses are poisonous and feature back fangs. This implies they are capable of poisoning their prey with venom during hunting.

They are somewhat poisonous to humans but are seldom aggressive. They produce local swelling and skin rashes for susceptible persons if they bite.

Frogs, toads, lizards, and tiny rodents are more at risk from their venom than mammals.

Western Hognose snakes are termed “faux vipers” because they can: flatten their head, offer warning strikes, shake their tail, puff out their body and act dead.

KINGDOMAnimalia
Scientific Name Heterdon nasicus
FAMILYColubridae
LENGTH38-51 CM
WEIGHT80-350 G
LIFE SPAN9-20 YRS

Appearance

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Western Hognose Snake
(Image Credit: Shutterstock)

Perhaps the most unusual element of the Western Hognose’s appearance is its nose. They have an inverted rostral bone that generates a scooped nose.

The Western Hognose Snake has a striking checkered pattern and keeled scales.

Their keeled scales make them seem like several species of the western rattlesnake, such as the Prairie, Western Diamondback, and Mojave. Scientists think their keeled scales are an evolutionary example of Batesian mimicry to protect them from predators.

Despite their capacity to shake their tail, they do not have a rattle and are readily recognized from rattlesnakes!

Distribution

Western hognose snakes exist from southern Canada across the United States to northern Mexico. They inhabit sandy or gravel soils, including prairies, river floodplains, vast valleys, scrub and grasslands, semi-deserts, and certain semi-agricultural areas.

Habits and Lifestyle

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Western Hognose Snake
(Image Credit: Shutterstock)

Western hognose snakes are solitary and predominantly diurnal species. They spend their day looking for food or resting burrowed in the dirt or in burrows formed by other tiny animals. These snakes brumate each year underground during chilly winter months. They usually are peaceful snakes (but known to be quite defensive in specific individuals) (though known to be highly defensive in some individuals). If attacked (or detecting a threat), they may flatten their neck (much like a cobra), hiss, and perform ‘mock’ or ‘bluff’ attacks if harassed; these strikes are done with the snake’s mouth closed. Even when further challenged, Western hognose snakes practically never bite as a self-defense tactic but will instead generally resort to feigning dead. Although it is more typical to flatten their head, certain people may puff out, filling the neck with air. This is more typical among teenage guys.

Diet and Nutrition

These snakes are voracious eaters and devour whatever smaller creatures they locate. Frogs, toads, lizards, tiny snakes, reptile eggs, ground-nesting bird eggs, rodents, and small birds. Carrion is also ingested, and juvenile snakes may supposedly devour insects. I spotted an adult male in Louisa County on 5 July who swallowed two turtle eggs. Other writers have documented plains hog-nosed snakes preying upon turtle eggs (Barten 1980, Iverson 1990, Kolbe 1999, Platt 1969). (Barten 1980, Iverson 1990, Kolbe 1999, Platt 1969). Plains hog-nosed snakes are not constrictors and merely consume food alive.

There is much dispute about the poisonous or toxic nature of North American hog-nosed snakes. Most commonly, bites create no symptoms in people. In contrast, medically necessary or clinical bites from North American hog-nosed snakes are uncommon, generate only transitory local effects, and mainly trigger a feeding reflex in confined individuals. Most of the argument is maintained and compounded by the lack of consensus and/or comprehension of numerous terminology such as “venomous,” “toxicity,” “fangs,” “allergy,” etc. Though contentious, most knowledgeable individuals think that North American hog-nosed snakes should be deemed harmless to humans.

Mating Habits

Western hognose snakes have a polygynandrous (promiscuous) mating system in which both males and females have many mates. They mate in spring, and females lay 4-23 elongate, thin-shelled eggs in June-August. The eggs hatch in about 60 days and the young are about 13-23 cm (5-9 inches) long. Babies of hognose snakes are not raised by their parents until they are around two years old, at which point they become sexually mature.

Related: How do snakes mate ?

Frequently Asked Questions

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Western Hognose Snake
(Image Credit: Shutterstock)

1. Threats to the population

No severe risks currently exist for western hognose snakes. In certain parts of their distribution, however, agro-industry is causing habitat loss, harming these snakes.

2. Venomous Hognose Snakes: Are they dangerous?

Humans are only a little harmed by the venom of the western hognose snake.

They have fangs that generate a little poison in their saliva. It helps them hunt frogs, toads, lizards, and small rodents.

3. What type of animal is a western Hognose Snake?

Western Hognose snakes are all the snakes that belong to the Colubridae family and genus Heterodon.

4. What class of animal does a western Hognose Snake belong to?

The snouts of Western Hognose Snakes are raised. As a result, they fall within the umbrella of the class Reptilia.

5. How long does a Western Hognose Snake live?

In captivity, western hognose snakes may live for 15-20 years, whereas they survive for nine-19 years in the wild.

6. How big is a Western Hognose Snake?

The eastern, western hognose snake is longer than a western hognose snake. The former length is roughly 46 in (115 cm), whereas the latter’s size spans from 15–20 in (40-50 cm) from the head to the tail.

7. How fast can a Western Hognose Snake move?

Western Hognose snakes crawl with their bodies to move, rarely swimming. They may travel fast or slow according to their desire and do not have any fixed speed range.

8. Western Hognose Snake weighs in pounds?

The western hognose snake’s weight ranges from 0.3-0.8 lb (150-350 gm) (150-350 gm)

9. How do they communicate?

The snakes usually communicate through hissing. They hiss after raising their head and neck. This habit of elevating the head and neck has garnered them the moniker puff adder.

10. How cute are they?

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Western Hognose Snake
(Image Credit: Shutterstock)

The upturned snouts of western hognose snakes set them apart from other snakes. This is also a cause for being a favorite cute morph of so many individuals.

11. Would they make a good pet?

They make fantastic pets amid the snakes. Western hognose snakes are lively and pleasant friends.

Also Read: The scarlet king snakes
Also Read: Banded water snake
Also Read: Chicken Snake

Reference

https://www.everythingreptiles.com/western-hognose-snake/

https://animalia.bio/western-hognose-snake

http://www.herpnet.net/Iowa-Herpetology/reptiles/snakes/plains-hognose-snake-heterodon-nasicus/

https://kidadl.com/animal-facts/hognose-snake-facts

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