Saturday, April 16, 2011

Western Hognose Snake

The Western Hognose Snake (Heterodon nasicus) is a species of snake found in North America.  It is a colubrid and therefore is not very venomous. 

Physical Features
The nose of a Western Hognose Snake.
The Western Hognose Snake measures 45cm to 90cm.  Their body color is normally brown but can appear to be yellowish due to the blotches on its back.  They have an inky black, yellow or white checker pattern on their belly.  While shedding their skin, they act more aggressive as they cannot see while shedding.  Their snout is pointed and turned upwards.  They have a stocky body and their scales are heavily keeled.  Their necks are quite thick.  Western Hognose snakes are rear fanged and their venom does not pose any threat to humans.  The Eastern Hognose snake has a less upturned snout and more squarer blotches and therefore are different from Western Hognose snakes.

Distribution and Habitat
The Western Hognose snake is found in North America.  They are found in the central states of America.  They are even found in the southern part of Canada and northern part of Mexico.  Western Hognose snakes can be found in human surroundings, drained short-grass prarie, rocky semi-deserts and deserts, wood edges and fields and chaparrals.

Western Hognose snakes are mainly carnivores.  They eat different amphibians like toads and frogs.  They even eat reptile eggs, lizards, snakes and birds.

Life Cycle
Western Hognose snakes are oviparous and can lay 4 to 23 eggs between the months of June and August.  The hatchlings reach maturity after two years.  The eggs take 60 days to hatch.

Conservation Status
The Western Hognose snake is rated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  This means that they are not endangered and are high in numbers.  However, the are considered as endangered in the state of Iowa and are threatened in the states of South Dakota and Illinois.

Source of pic 1 and pic 2

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