Species group: Hognose Snakes
Scientific name: Heterodon platirhinos
Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes are found on the eastern side of North America, from southern Canada to southern Florida. Their natural habitat includes coastal areas, woodlands, farmlands, fields, and sandy areas.
Appearance / health:
Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes average 30 inches in length. They are thick-bodied with keeled scales. Body color varies from shades of yellow and orange to olive, brown, and black. Markings include large rectangular spots or dark blotches on the back with smaller blotches on the sides, although the black phase snake is all black. The distinguishing feature of the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake is its upturned snout.
Behavior / temperament:
Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes are active during the day. They may inflate, hiss, and lunge when threatened but they almost never bite. In fact, when seriously threatened, they would rather play dead (lie on their backs, motionless, with eyes and mouth open and tongue sticking out).
A small to medium-sized woodland or savannah-type terrarium is sufficient for this relatively short snake. The cage must have a sandy substrate of about 4-6 inches deep to allow the snake to burrow as it pleases. Roots, bark, stones, rocks, low climbing branches, and patches of grass will make the cage similar to the snake’s natural habitat. A small water pan is necessary for drinking and soaking. Day temp: 77-81F; night temp: 64-71F; basking temp: 90F; humidity: 50%; lighting: 10-12hrs, partly UV
Eastern Hog-nosed snakes are well liked in the pet trade because they are small, attractive, docile, and easy to care for. They can be kept singly or in a group.
Like their western counterparts, Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes prefer to feed on toads, especially those that hide in the sand. They also prey on frogs, insects, small rodents, lizards, birds and their eggs, and other reptiles and their eggs.
Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes are egg-layers. They mate in the spring and deposit 20-60 eggs in sandy soil or under mulch piles and logs sometime in June or July. The eggs hatch in August or September.
fantastic little snakes, voracious appetite, healthy snakes, good pets
musk, defense moodmusking, wild caught hoggies, toad supplier, feeder toads
rear fanged snake, great pretender, Bluff Adder, generally relaxed demeanor
The Bluff Adder
This was the snake that got me into herps as a kid. I was 8 years old and in front of my house in Maryland waiting for my friend's mom to pick me up for school when I saw this 8" snake slithering through the beach sand in our yard. I screamed "Copperhead!" before realizing it was not a pit viper, much to my mother's chagrin. I begged her not to kill it with the shovel, so she put it in a jar, brought it into the house, and set it up in a 10 gallon aquarium for me while I was at school. Before Herbie, whenever we found a snake, we assumed it was "poisonous" and killed it. Thanks to that little snake, my family kicked its irrational hatred and fear of snakes and ended up respecting and loving the legless wonders that share our environment. 28 years later, I still miss that little guy - his upturned snout, his voracious appetite for toads, and his generally relaxed demeanor that made him a great first snake.
Keeping eastern hognoses is a bit tricky though. Caging isn't too much of an issue, as they don't get larger than 3-4'. We always used beach sand as a substrate so he could bury himself and hide when he didn't want to be bothered. Handling was a dream as he never "played possum" like other wild caught hoggies I encountered. My mother used to carry him around in her purse - she said it was better defense than a firearm because "Everyone's afraid of snakes!". The major issue with keeping these guys is food. Herbie only ate toads - in fact, eastern hoggies pretty much spend their entire lives in the wild eating nothing but toads. I have heard of people keeping them fed with a 50% mouse, 50% toad diet, but finding feeder toads in the winter can be a problem. As much as I'd love to have another hoggie, until I can find a toad supplier that can guarantee product in the dead of winter, I'll have to pass on this species. Unless you've got a toad hook-up, I'd suggest looking into the western variety of this snake as they take to mice far more successfully than Heterodon platyrhinos, the Eastern Hognose Snake.
From wendiigo Jul 25 2011 4:50AM
Very cool species that requires specialized care
One of my favorites - this species is a great pretender. If harassed, it will puff up its head and neck, and strike like you'd expect a cobra to, but rarely even opening its mouth. If that doesn't fool you, it will roll over on its back, stick out its tongue, and release musk to make you think it's dead. If you roll it over on its stomach again - it rolls back on its back. A dead snake should be on its back, right? See my photographs for an individual in the wild exhibiting this behavior.
Eastern hognose tend to eat amphibians in the wild, so it may be hard to get them to eat in captivity. This being said, many people are successful in doing so, not only by feeding toads, but by rubbing toads on mice and gradually switching the snake over.
It should be noted that this species is venomous, but not in a way that is dangerous to humans. People have had reactions to the bites, but only after the snake is able to "chew" for a while. The delivery device for the venom (fangs) is located in the rear of the mouth, and helps reduce handling time for prey in the wild.
From Occidentalis Aug 3 2012 3:53PM