Southern Hognose Snake

Southern Hognose Snake: (Heterodon simus)

Southern hognose snakes (heterodon simus); commonly known as puff adder, hissing adder, spreading adder, blow viper and the hissing sand snake, belongs to the colubridae family. They average in size between 14 to 21 inches long, with the record being 24 inches long.

Southern hognose snakes are heavily thick bodied. Their snouts are just sharply turned upwards and pointed. Their color patterns consist of a light yellowish brown, some are tinted with an orange - red color, with dark blotches on their backs and smaller blotches on their sides. Their bellies and tail are the same light pale gray color. Their is a dark line that extends from its upper jaw thru the eye. Southern hognose snakes have round pupils.  

Southern hognose snakes are found in northern Florida as far south as Lake Okeechobee. Their preferred habitats include areas such as sand - hills, scrub, high pine and turkey oak hard - woods, hard - wood hammocks, meadows, dry river floodplains and cultivated fields.

Southern hognose snakes are carnivores, primarily consuming frogs, toads, lizards, small rodents and insects.

Southern hognose snakes are diurnal, active during the day and are rarely seen. Southern hognose snakes are declining rapidly in numbers, it has been classified vulnerable and is listed on the red list of threatened species.  These snakes burrow into the soil or they will making a den in abandoned woodchuck, skunk or fox burrows. When southern hognose snakes feel threatened, they will flatten their neck and raise its head of the ground hissing loudly and attempting to strike, rarely biting. If this attempt to ward off the predator fails, it will roll over onto its back, with its tongue hanging out playing dead also emitting a foul odor. They are rear fanged and non venomous, however they do have a toxic saliva, but it is not harmful to humans or pets. Although the southern hognose snakes are harmless to humans, some humans have an allergic reaction to their bite, causing slight swelling, itching and redness as well as a risk of a bacterial infection.


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