Hognose snakes are considered cute by some, and some run away screaming because it is a snake after all. They are also known as blow snakes or blow vipers etc. Hognose snakes can raise and flatten their backside like a Cobra and hiss, also appear like Puff Adders. They act dead in such way that no animal would able to know whether it’s really dead or acting. As sounds, they are interesting indeed.
Here are some mesmerizing facts about them.
1. Hognose snakes belong to the family of Colubrid snakes. They have stocky body, flat head, wide neck and large fangs in the rear part of the mouth.
2. There are 3 sub species of them, such as-
Western hognose – They are found in Canada south through western Oklahoma, Kansas to New Mexico and Texas. Also some regions of Minnesota and Illinois.
Gloyd’s hognose – Found in all of Texas, southern Rio Grande Valley, eastern Oklahoma, southeastern Missouri and southeastern Kansas.
Kennerly’s hognose – They can be seen in Found in the southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, Texas.
There are some other species depending on physical characteristics also.
3. Adults can grow up-to 2 feet in length, whereas some are recorded up-to 3 feet. The species have sexual dimorphism characteristics, meaning females grow larger than males. Weight typically varies 80-350 grams.
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4. Their color and patterns also differ heavily. They can be orange, yellow, pale brown to tan brown or black With 2 additional rows of smaller, irregular and alternating dark blotches on either side. Whereas, Albinos are completely white. The belly is heavily pigmented with black, specially underneath the tail.
The name Hognose came from their unique upturned nose giving such hog like appearance. They use the nose to dig burrows in loose soil or sand. But, the body and color patterns resemble much like juvenile rattlesnakes.
They are typically docile in nature. But if feel threatened, they will spread the jaw and flatten the neck, which give them a Cobra hood like appearance. If threat continues, they will also hiss and make mock strikes with closed mouth.
Most interesting, if all defensive measures fail. They will act dead by lying upside down with twisted body and keeping the tongue hanging outside, even go as far as bleeding from the mouth. They remain limb less, lifeless and nothing can persuade them to move until threat is gone.
8. Hognose snakes are diurnal. They do bask in the sun to warm their body and store energy for hunting. While at night they rest in the self burrowed holes or under rocks.
They are carnivores. Juveniles do feed on insects and small lizards, whereas adults hunt larger lizards, frogs, toads and mice.
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10. Frogs generally Puff their body to show bigger and not suitable to swallow for predators. But, hognose snakes have fangs at the back of their mouth. They use it to puncture the frogs like balloons, which make the frogs easy to swallow. This is why they are known as Puff Adder or Blow viper.
Mating season is from April to May. Females lay 10-35 thin shelled eggs few inches under sand or soil. Incubation period is around 50-65 days.
12. Although they appear like Cobra or Puff adder, they are far not close to them and totally harmless to humans. They possess a mild venom which is effective for lizards and frogs. A bite typically cause slight itching and swelling.
Fully developed hatchlings (5-8 inches long) break the eggshell with their egg tooth and survive from the very first day without any parental care. They are much bright in color than adults and gain sexual maturity at the age of 20-24 months.
14. These snakes have an average lifespan of 12 years, but can live 15-18 years in captivity.
15. They have predators like owls, hawks, fox and other larger snakes and human often kill them by mistake thinking of a venomous species.
These docile species is an excellent pet but, only for experienced handlers. Due to human activities and habitat loss there is a slight decline in their population but, not considered as endangered and listed as least concerned.