Eastern Hognose Snake
Heterondon platirhinos
The Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterondon platirhinos) occurs across the eastern half of the United States and parts of eastern Canada. Its diet primarily consists of toads. It may be most common in the southeastern U.S. This snake is completely harmless, but when threatened it sometimes spreads its neck like a cobra and may hiss and strike (with its mouth closed) in an effort to drive away the attacker. This behavior has earned it the name of "puff adder" in some areas of the U.S. Unfortunately, some people fear this snake because of this behavior. The real Puff Adder of Africa is a dangerous animal, but our hognose is harmless.
Another interesting behavior of this snake is that if it fails to drive off the attacker with its aggressive but harmless behavior, it will play dead. Scroll down for some shots of this hognose playing dead. This particular snake was found in Bastrop Co., Texas in early November, 2007. This species displays an amazing variety of colors from black to brown to very patterned such as this individual. This one is really quite orange in color, a beautiful snake. These shots were taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mark III and EF 70-200mm F/2.8 L IS lens.
The shot shown here shows this hognose playing dead. Sometimes the snake will remain in such a position for many minutes until it thinks "the coast is clear."
After a while the snake will look around carefully to see if the danger is past before resuming its normal activities.