Type: Other

Aliases: Wild, Classic, blow snake, bluffer, faux viper, plains hognose snake, prairie hognose snake, spoonbill snake, spreadhead snake, Texas hognose snake, Texas rooter, and western hognose snake.

Issues: N/A

First Produced In: 10.3 million years ago [1]

Availability: Rarest

Last Updated: 2022-01-31

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The Western Hognose Snake (Heterodon nasicus) is a species of rear fanged venomous snake in the family Colubridae. The species is endemic to North America. [2]

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Western Hognose have a tendency to display death feigning, where they roll onto their back and pretend to be dead.


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This snake gets its common name, “Hognose”, from the modified rostral (nose) scale that is formed in an upturned manner, providing a very “hog-like” look. Additionally, this adaptation makes these snakes adept burrowers. [3]


The Western Hognose Snake is a relatively small, stout-bodied snake. Its color and pattern is highly variable between subspecies, although most specimens appear much like rattlesnakes to the untrained eye, which appears to be Batesian mimicry. Males are considerably smaller than females, with adults rarely exceeding a total length (including tail) of 40–50 cm (15–20 inches). [4]


The tail follows the same patterning and coloration as the rest of the body but with tighter banding.


The species is not dangerous to humans, but there exists scientific debate regarding whether the mild toxins in the hognose’s bite result from saliva, harmful to its preferred wild food source – toads – or an extremely mild venom produced in glands connecting to the hognose’s minuscule rear fangs. In either case, no deaths or systemic effects from the extremely rare bite from this rear-fanged snake have been recorded. Although bites may uncommonly be medically significant, the species is not regarded as venomous. [5]

Although some local declines have been reported, the species H. nasicus is widespread, has a large overall population size (> 100,000), and is effectively protected by a variety of conservation programs. It is therefore currently classified as Least Concern by the IUCN. The Eastern Hognose Snake (Heterodon platirhinos) is classified as a threatened species in some regions of its range and is therefore protected under those states’ laws. [6]

Proven Lines

No known proven lines.

Related Traits

Gloyd’s Hog-nosed Snake, Mexican Hog-nosed Snake, Plains Hog-nosed Snake.


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