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Content tagged with "snake"

Photo of an orangish eastern hog-nosed snake.

Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake

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.

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Photo of a coiled eastern hog-nosed snake showing tongue.

Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake

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.

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Photo of an eastern hog-nosed snake.

Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake

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.

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Photo of an eastern hog-nosed snake.

Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake

Heterodon platirhinos
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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Photo of an eastern hog-nosed snake.

Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake

The eastern hog-nosed snake is a medium-sized snake with a heavy body and an upturned snout. It is found throughout Missouri.

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Photo of an orangish eastern hog-nosed snake, head spread.

Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake

For defense, the eastern hog-nosed snake can hiss loudly and spread its neck like a cobra. It may even “strike” — though it does so with its mouth closed. This is a harmless and nonvenomous snake.

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Photo of an orangish eastern hog-nosed snake playing dead.

Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake

If hissing, spreading its head, and pretending to strike fails to ward off an enemy, an eastern hog-nosed snake may play dead: Go into convulsions, open its mouth, let the tongue hang out, writhe about and roll over on its back, and release feces from its cloaca.

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Photo of an eastern hog-nosed snake on back in defensive pose.

Eastern Hog-Nosed Snake

If left unmolested, an eastern hog-nosed snake that is playing dead will eventually, very slowly, roll back over, look about to make sure it is safe, and retreat to a nearby shelter. These are harmless snakes, and their defensive behaviors are their way to keep from being eaten by other animals.

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