Skip to main content
 Home  »  Species at Risk  »  Eastern Hog-nosed Snake

Eastern Hog-nosed Snake

C. Sissions

Heterodon platirhinos

Species at Risk Status

Federal Government status: Threatened

Provincial Government status: Threatened


  • Adult body length of 50 to 84 cm (20 to 33 in.). Body is quite thick and the tail short when compared with other snakes.
  • Colour is variable. Some individuals may have dark spots on a light background, others are a creamy olive, grey or brown colour, and others are completely black (melanistic).
  • A dark elongated spot stretches along both sides of its neck;
  • An obvious upturned nose for which it is named.


  • Feed almost solely on toads. Their “hog nose” helps them dig for toads.
  • Other food may include amphibians, small mammals, birds, and insects.

Habits and Reproduction

  • Will burrow underground in loose soil when not feeding throughout the day.
  • When harassed or afraid the hog-nosed snake will raise the front of its body off of the ground and spread its neck, similar to a cobra. It will hiss and strike out harmlessly at its opponent. If the harassment continues the hog-nosed snake may show signs of distress, produce musk, turn over on its back and play “dead”. It will remain in this position until the potential predator retreats.
  • Mating in April or May and maybe September, approximately 20 eggs are laid in June or July in a shallow burrow in the sand and hatch in late August or September.
  • Young have dark blotches on their backs and light grey or brown spots on their sides. Their belly is dark, but the throat and underside of the tail are light coloured.
  • Grow quickly until their second or third year when they reach maturity.


  • Almost any terrestrial habitat type. Seem to prefer sandy, well-drained soils.


  • Habitat loss, road mortality and direct persecution are the greatest threats to this snake.

Conservation Actions

  • With its fake “cobra like” behaviour, the hog-nosed snake is mistakenly believed to be harmful. Help inform others of the behaviour of this snake and share the message to leave the snake alone.
  • Please report sightings of this snake!

Range Map

Support Your Biosphere

With your support, we can expand our impact in the Georgian Bay region through conservation and education.

We are a registered Canadian charity #87100 1335 RR0001