The hognose snake has a unique ability- it can play dead!
This means that when threatened, this shy species will coil up and lay motionless on the ground to make itself look more like a dead animal. If necessary they even open their mouth as if being attacked for protection from predators while emitting a foul musk or fecal matter. This is persuasive enough in some cases, because many animals won’t eat what’s already been killed by another living thing (ejection reflex).
Its name comes from its hog-snouted nose.
They use this feature and its upturned mouth for burrowing in loose sand and soil. The ability to burrow allows them to hunt prey or hiding from predators. These snakes eat amphibians, reptiles, birds, small mammals, and invertebrates. The variety of colors ranges widely depending upon where it lives. Some examples include grayish-browns grays and blacks.Hogs noses generally range around 2 – 3 feet long.
Many mistake the hognose for more dangerous fanged snakes, such as the Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake. They have a mildly toxic saliva that fails to meet criteria of being venomous, because they lack an injection system.
So, the next time you see a hognose snake, remember it’s not venomous and give it an enthusiastic round of applause for its acting skills.