Eastern hognose snakes are stocky snakes whose name is derived from their upturned snout. They are highly variable in color, but are usually patterned above with large brown blotches on a brown or gray background. Some individuals have extensive reddish or orange suffused into the general pattern; some, however, are patternless, appearing solid gray or black. Eastern hognose snakes have keeled scales and can be distinguished from southern hognose snakes by the underside of the tail, which is lighter than the belly.
Ten Facts about Eastern Hognose Snake
- Adults average 71 cm (28 inches) in length, with females being larger than males.
- Common names spreading adder, hog-nosed snake, adder, bastard rattlesnake, black adder.
- When threatened, the neck is flattened and the head is raised off the ground, not unlike a cobra. They also hiss and sometimes feign strikes, but are not apt to bite.
- The eastern hognose snake specializes in feeding on toads, having an immunity to the toxins toads secrete. They will also consume other amphibians, like frogs and salamanders.
- These snakes live for approximately 12 years.
- The females, which lay 10-30 eggs at a time, do not take care of the young. The eggs hatch after about 60 days.
- Hognose snakes lay from 5-50 eggs in June and July.
- If threaten the hognose snake will feign death by opening its mouth, rolling over on its back, and writhing around.
- Predators of hognose snakes include: hawks, owls, Red Fox, Virginia Opossum, and other snake predators.
- Eastern hognose snakes prefer woodlands with sandy soil, fields, farmland and coastal areas.