wild florida ecotravel guide
Gators Crocs Birds Mammals snakes turtles frogs Lizards insects fish plants sharks
florida wildlife
favorite activities
florida destinations




Eastern Hognose Snake

Eastern Hognose Snake

Heterodon platyrhinos                                         Photo Fiona Sunquist ©


Hognose snakes are stout, thick-bodied snakes about 2-3 feet (61 – 91 cm) long.  They have a large head and a pointed, slightly upturned snout.  A dark line extends from the upper jaw through the eye.

These snakes are quite variable in color ranging from yellow, tan olive brown, gray or reddish brown with large irregularly shaped dark blotches on the back and sides.  Some individuals are all black (melanistic). 

Hognose snakes are found throughout Florida, mainly in dry sandy habitats, including scrub and long-leaf pine turkey oak.

The species is known as the ‘puff adder’, or ‘hissing adder’, from its defensive habit of hissing loudly when disturbed.  Some local people call the black individuals ‘spreading adders’ and believe they are deadly poisonous.  

Eastern Hognose Snake Melanistic

                                                                             Photo Fiona Sunquist ©

When alarmed or defensive, hognose snakes have a characteristic set of behaviors.  They bring their head up like a cobra, flatten their neck and hiss loudly.  (The snake in the photograph above has its neck partially flattened)  If the snake is provoked still further, it will go into convulsions, regurgitate food, defecate, and with its tongue protruding, it will lay belly up, feigning death.  At this stage, if you pick it up and turn it over right side up, it will quickly flip over onto its back again.

Hognose snakes use their blunt nose to push through the leaf litter and soil searching for their preferred food - toads and frogs. They use special enlarged teeth at the back of their upper jaw to puncture the toad’s body.



top of page | back to snakes

Wildlife of Florida 2011
Wildlife of Florida 2011
Fiona Sunquist
Download $19.99
Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Lizards book cover
Wildlife of Florida: Lizards
Fiona Sunquist
Download $2.49
Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Your Ad Here


gator/crocs | birds | mammals | snakes | turtles | frogs/toads | lizards | sharks

Wildlife | Favorite Activities | My Destinations | about us | resources | site map | home

contribute templates web site development by Creative Communications