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Eastern Hog-nosed Snake

Heterodon platirhinos

Description:

This small Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (around 10 inches) was basking in an old field on a sunny, cool day after a couple days of storms and rain. They spend most of their time under ground or in leaf litter (using their unique snout to burrow), so the rains probably flushed him out. This species is well-known for it's defensive tactic of rolling on it's back and playing dead when faced with a perceived threat, which this individual displayed. If rolled over to an upright position by a predator or human during this "show", the snake will continue to flip over on to it's back, often with it's mouth open and tongue hanging out in a limp fashion. If this tactic doesn't work, Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes will puff up with air, breathe loudly or hiss, and repeatedly strike at it's attacker. This can be intimidating but the behavior is almost always a bluff and these snakes rarely deliver a bite; they use their upturned snout to bump the target instead. This species is often mistaken as the venomous Copperhead. Although not venomous, studies are currently being conducted to find out the potential toxicity of this species saliva. Reports have suggested that the snakes enlarged rear teeth may be used to deliver high concentrations of toxin-enhanced saliva into puncture wounds, which may effect prey items and has been noted to cause pain and swelling in some humans.

Habitat:

Old field near pond.

Notes:

One of my favorite native snake species, and the first one I've seen within the last 6 years.

No species ID suggestions

3 Comments

Caysee
Caysee 3 years ago

In the close-up shot of head dorsum, is there anything noteworthy about the number or placement, etc. of the scales?

AshleyT
AshleyT 4 years ago

Great series! These are also one of my favorites and always such a treat to see :)

ConorSheaWing
ConorSheaWing 4 years ago

Wow I've only read about these but never actually saw one from DE

Delaware, USA

Lat: 38.86, Long: -75.39

Spotted on Jun 19, 2013
Submitted on Jun 19, 2013

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