The color of eastern hog-nosed snakes is highly variable. They are active by day, from mid-April to October. Individuals burrow into loose soil or sand or enter the borrows of small mammals. Sometimes they hide under objects such as rocks or boards.
Eastern hog-nosed snakes have no definite home range. A variety of habitats are used, but the preferred habitats have sandy or loose soils, including sandy river floodplains, old fields, open woods, and rocky wooded hillsides.
Eastern hog-nosed snakes are one of many snakes whose coloration helps them blend in with their surroundings. Because copperheads can also blend in with the same backgrounds, many people confuse the two. Learn to distinguish between them. It’s not hard.
Eastern hog-nosed snakes feed chiefly on toads but are also known to eat frogs and salamanders. Apparently, a pair of large teeth on the upper jaw, in the back of the mouth, assist in swallowing large prey.
The color of eastern hog-nosed snakes is highly variable. Sometimes there is a series of brown blotches on the back. Sometimes the snake is dull-colored and lacks markings. Some are jet black. But there is always a pair of large, dark brown or black blotches behind the head.
An eastern hog-nosed snake's elaborate defense tactics, ranging from a fierce (though harmless) attack display to a truly convincing death act, remind us that many predatory mammals and birds relish the meat of this reptile.
At this point, the eastern hog-nosed snake is the only hog-nosed snake known to live in Missouri. Two others used to occur in our state — the plains hog-nosed snake and the dusty hog-nosed snake — but they have, sadly, been extirpated.
The eastern hog-nosed snake has an upturned snout and can hiss loudly and spread its neck like a cobra. If this defense fails to ward off an enemy, the snake may thrash around, open its mouth, roll over, and play dead.
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