Eastern Hognose Snake Conservation - Least Concern
Scientific Name
Heterodon platirhinosa
All of Virginia
Also Known As
Puff Adder, Spreadhead
Plays dead dramatically if approached
Litter Size
8 - 40 Eggs per Birth
Life Span
5 - 9 Years (20 in Captivity)
20 - 33 Inches

Quick Links for Eastern Hognose Snake

Eastern Hognose Snake Description

Eastern Hognose Snake Appearance

The color of this snake varies wildly. However, there are 2 types of appearances that are common here in Virginia. One is the pattern phase with black or brown blotches with body colors being a bunch of combinations of gray, tan, pink, yellow, orange, and red. The other common phase here in Virginia is the Melanistic phase, where this snake is uniformly black with no discernible pattern.

The name “Hognose” comes from the shape of it’s upturned nose, which looks like the nose of a hog or pig. They use their noses for digging.


This snake is usually between 20 to 33 inches long, however, the record length for this snake is about 45.5 inches. The record found in Virginia is 44.5 inches.

Juveniles tend to be 7 to 10 inches long.

Hognose Snake

Pattern phase of this snake. Look closely at the shape of it’s head.

Eastern Hognose Snake Behavior

When approached these snakes will flatten its head and raise it above the ground, like a cobra. It will hiss and headbutt but not bite. If this doesn’t work then this snake will play dead. First it will roll on it’s back, and then have it’s mouth open with it’s tongue hanging out. If touched this snake could start writhing around as if it was in agony. If left alone for a while it will look to see if the coast is clear and then will crawl away.

It is illegal in Virginia to keep Wild Snakes as pets

Range and Habitat of The Eastern Hognose Snake


These snakes can be found all throughout Virginia. These snakes can be found in every state in the United States east of Colorado.


These prefer the forests, but can be found in tall fields and areas near the forests’ edge. Here in Virginia, these snakes are starting to adapt to the developed areas, and sometimes can be seen in the treeless suburbs.

Eastern Hognose Snake Map Range

This snake can be found everywhere in Virginia

Diet of Eastern Hognose Snake

They eat a variety of animals including salamanders, frogs, toads, small mammals and other invertebrates. Their main source of food are frogs and toads.

Reproduction and Young


Mating season for these snakes is in April and May, and only mate once. If the snakes cannot mate then then there will be a second mating period in September and October. If that happens then the female will lay eggs in the early summer.

Eggs and Young

Females usually lay between 8 to 40 eggs per nest. These eggs are often laid beneath rocks and buried about 6 inches below sandy soils.

The juveniles when born have the same colors and markings as the adults but tend to be more pinkish. Juveniles tend to be 7 to 10 inches long when born.

Juvenile Eastern Hognose Snake

These snakes never bites humans.

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