Western Hognose Snake

Heterodon nasicus, commonly known as the western hog-nosed snake or plains hognose snake, is a harmless colubrid species found in North America and northern Mexico. Three subspecies are currently recognized, including the typical form described here.

The Western Hognose Snake is a light sandy brown in color, with darker brown or gray blotching, their coloration is not nearly as variable as the Eastern Hognose, Heterodon platirhinos, but they often have an ink-black and white or yellow checker patterned belly, sometimes accented with orange. They are very stout for their size (a full grown 24-inch female is as bulky as a five-foot corn snake) and can grow from 15 to 33 inches in length, with females generally being larger than males. The characteristic of all hognose snakes is their upturned snout, which aids in digging in the soil. Hognose Snakes are considered to be rear-fanged colubrids, and do not pose any danger to humans and will generally only bite as a feeding response, rarely in defense. The defensive bite response is usually due to the temporary blindness experienced while shedding. Because the snake cannot see while shedding, it becomes skittish and more prone to bite in defense. A defensive bite may also occur in gravid (egg carrying) females. The saliva they excrete is considered toxic to prey (frogs and toads) but not dangerous to humans. There has been some debate whether or not hognose are venomous. Their saliva has some toxicity to smaller prey items, such as toads and frogs. Toads inflate their lungs to make swallowing difficult, but the fangs would penetrate the lungs and deflate them. However, whole toads with intact lungs are commonly regurgitated by recently captured wild hognoses.

blow snake, bluffer, (western) hog-nosed snake, faux viper, prairie hog-nosed snake, puff(ing) adder, spoonbill snake, spreadhead snake, Texas hog-nosed snake, Texas rooter, western hog-nosed snake, plains hognose snake.