SCIENTIFIC NAME: Heterodon nasicus
HOUSE NAME: "Wilbur"
HABITAT: Prairie land throughout the High Plains
CONSERVATION STATUS: Least Concern
Occasionally hognose may strike at an intruder, but in all instances, the strike is short and the mouth is closed. If this fails to frighten off the intruder, it will writhe and contort, disgorge recently eaten food and roll over on its back and play dead. It may remain “dead” for up to 5 minutes.
DIET: They forage for small rodents, nesting birds, lizards and especially amphibians (frogs and toads). Will occasionally eat small snakes and reptile eggs. It detects prey by smell, digging a food item from its burrow beneath the soil, issuing its spade-like snout.
The snout of the Western Hognose Snake is sharply turned up (hence its name). The body varies from gray to light yellow to brown, with dark brown blotches down the back and smaller ones on the sides. Adult males have few blotches on the back and have longer tails than females. The belly has jet-black patches similar in appearance to piano keys. Scales are keeled, thus rough to touch. Adults usually grow from 14¾ inches to 27-5/8 inches. Females grow larger than males. The largest specimen from Kansas was a female measuring 30¼. Maximum size for this species is 35¼”.