hognose snake

When threatened, hognose snakes will flatten their necks and raise their heads off the ground, not unlike a cobra, and hiss. They may sometimes feign strikes, but are not apt to bite. This behaviour has earned them several nicknames, such as "puff adder", "blowing adder", "flathead", "spreading adder" or "hissing adder". Note, though, the nickname "puff adder" is only a nickname, and is not scientifically correct. There is a highly venomous viper from Africa called the puff adder, Bitis arietans. If this threat display does not work to deter a would-be predator, hognose snakes will often roll onto their back and play dead, going so far as to emit a foul musk and fecal matter from their cloaca and let their tongue hang out of their mouth, sometimes accompanied by small droplets of blood. If they are rolled upright while in this state, they will often roll back as if insisting they really are dead. It has been observed that the snake, while appearing to be dead, will still watch the animal that caused the death pose. The snake will 'resurrect' sooner if the threat is looking away from it than if the threat is looking at the snake.

The hognose snake is a type of colubrid snake characterized by an upturned snout. They are notorius for playing dead when threatened. The hognose snakes consist of three distantly related genera that are artificially grouped together by the "hognose" common name: Heterodon which are predominantly found in United States and northern Mexico. Leioheterodon the Madagascar hognose snakes, and Lystrophis the South American or tri-colored hognose snakes.


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hognose Snake".