NC Snake Pictures / Eastern Hognose Snake

Heterodon platyrhinos

Nonvenomous; adult size 20-47 inches (508 to 1,194 mm); common
distribution map
Distribution key: blue=where snake is found

The hognose snake is sometimes nicknamed the "Puff adder", because one of its bluffs when threatened is to swell its head and neck so it looks larger. This king of bluffs will also hiss loudly and thrash its tail to try and scare away intruders. If these efforts fail, sometimes it will play dead (see lowest picture). It almost never bites, even when handled. This snake feeds on toads, insects, frogs, and mice. Colors and patterns vary greatly between individuals; headshape and behavior are better identifiers. It has an upturned point on its snout instead of the rounded oval head shape.

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This 11 inch juvenile northern hognose snake displays the swollen, flattened head and neck that have earned it the nickname "puff adder". This picture was provided by Steve Peterson, New Hanover County, NC.


If other bluff mechanisms fail, the hognose may roll over and "play dead". Picture provided by Nedra Headen, Sharp's Chapel, Tennessee.