The geographic range of western hognose snakes, (Wright and Wright, 1957), extends from southern Canada to northern Mexico. Its range is bordered to the west by Colorado and Wyoming, and in the east by Illinois.
As soon as young western hognose snakes hatch they are fully developed, but just smaller in size at about 14 to 18 centimeters. Within hours the young are fully capable of actively searching out prey. (Shaw and Campbell, 1974)
These snakes are described as polygamous. Females will breed with more than one male throughout the course of the breeding season to ensure fertilization, but apparently males also will breed with multiple females. When a female sheds her skin, a chemical is released. Males pick up this scent and actively search for the females. If the female is receptive upon discovery the two will copulate. ("Western Hognose Snake", 2000; Johns, 2000)
The mating season for (Johns, 2000)occurs between the months of June and August, as males actively seek out females to breed with. Females lay from 4 to 23 eggs between June and August. Once the eggs have been fertilized they are buried in the sand and hatch in 52 to 64 days.
Western hognose snakes have an impressive bluffing display when threatened. They rear back, flattening their heads, take deep breaths which inflate their size, and make very loud hissing sounds. They will strike at objects, but typically have their mouths closed. They are not known to bite, even in self defense. ("Western Hognose Snake", 2000; Johns, 2000)will feign death when this bluffing behavior fails to ward off an enemy. In this case, the snake turns belly up. This behavior is apparently induced by parasympathetic arousal or adrenal medullary function.
The home range size of these snakes has not been reported. However, it is reported that they are not territorial, and that multiple adults will reside in the same area. (Rolling Hills Zoo, 2001-2002)
is a species that lives a solitary lifestyle, and the only time that it needs to communicate with other members of its species is during mating season. This communication occurs when the male snakes pick up a chemical scent that the female produces as she sheds her skin, signaling that she is ready for a mate. Males will track the female by the scent.
Some communication occurs with other species. This communication involves visual signals, noises, and sometimes tactile cues. When western hognose snakes encounter a potential predator, they will at first hiss, and flatten their heads and necks to make themselves appear larger. If this fails to ward off the predator, the snake may strike--although it does not bite, apparently, this movement is threatening. If this fails, the snake will feign death in hopes that the predator will lose interest. ("Western Hognose Snake", 2000; Allen, 1997; Shaw and Campbell, 1974)
("Western Hognose Snake", 2000; Rolling Hills Zoo, 2001-2002; Shaw and Campbell, 1974; Wright and Wright, 1957; "Western Hognose Snake", 2000; Rolling Hills Zoo, 2001-2002; Shaw and Campbell, 1974; Wright and Wright, 1957; "Western Hognose Snake", 2000; Rolling Hills Zoo, 2001-2002; Shaw and Campbell, 1974; Wright and Wright, 1957)has two main anti-predator adaptations, both of whihc are behavioral. The first line of defense for this snake is to make itself appear larger by making its head and neck flatter. This flattening is accompanied by extremely loud hissing and blowing, whihc apparently makes the individual seem enraged and dangerous. If this defense fails to ward off a predator, the snake will shift into phase two of its defense. This begins with the snake spasming uncontrollably, and then rolling over on its back, lying motionless. Western hognose snakes will feign death in order to make a predator lose interest. When an indivudual perceives an absence of danger, it will resume its activities.
does play an important role in its ecosystem by keeping toad populations from exploding. It is one of the few species that has the ability to cope with the toads' poison, so it is possible that the removal of this species could in fact alter that particular ecosystem.
Its mild temperament makesan ideal pet snake, because it is extremely docile and rarely bites. Once handled by humans enough, the snakes are calm and there is little or no danger of them biting. This snake has an extremely mild venom, and so does not pose a health risk to humans even if a human manages to get bitten.
In addition to their importance in the pet trade, these snakes help people by controlling toad populations. Without these snakes, the toad population could rise high enough so that the toads would infringe upon human establishments. Domestic animals eating toads might be harmed by their toxins (Allen, 1997). (Allen, 1997)
Various people have questioned whether or not this snake is actually venomous. However, an article published by Michael A. Morris describes the effects that the bite ofhad on him. He experienced swelling and tenderness of the bitten are for two days, and came to the conclusion that the snake does have venom with hemotoxic effects (Morris 1985).
Nancy Shefferly (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Matthew Kerns (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Kerry Yurewicz (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
uses sound to communicate
having coloration that serves a protective function for the animal, usually used to refer to animals with colors that warn predators of their toxicity. For example: animals with bright red or yellow coloration are often toxic or distasteful.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
active at dawn and dusk
union of egg and spermatozoan
Referring to a burrowing life-style or behavior, specialized for digging or burrowing.
the state that some animals enter during winter in which normal physiological processes are significantly reduced, thus lowering the animal's energy requirements. The act or condition of passing winter in a torpid or resting state, typically involving the abandonment of homoiothermy in mammals.
(as keyword in perception channel section) This animal has a special ability to detect heat from other organisms in its environment.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.
chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.
A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.
A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.
uses sight to communicate
2000. "Western Hognose Snake" (On-line). Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Accessed November 27, 2004 at http://www.desertmuseum.org/books/hognose_snake.html.
Allen, S. 1997. "Western Hognose Snake" (On-line). Colorado Herpetologial Society. Accessed November 27, 2004 at http://www.coloherp.org/careshts/snakes/hognose.php.
Johns, N. 2000. "Western Hognose Snake" (On-line). Accessed March 22, 2002 at http://www.rw.ttu.edu/sp_accounts/hognose_snake/Default.htm.
LeClere, J. "Iowa Herpetology (Western Hognose Snake)" (On-line). Accessed March 21, 2002 at http://www.herpnet.net/Iowa-Herpetology/reptiles/snakes/western_hognose_snake.html.
Morris, M. 1985. Envenomation From the Bite of Heterodon Nasicus (Serpentes: Colubridae). Herpetologica, 41: 361-363.
Rolling Hills Zoo, 2001-2002. "Rolling Hills Refuge" (On-line). Western Hognose. Accessed March 21, 2002 at http://www.rhrwildlife.com/theanimals/h/hognosewestern/.
Shaw, C., S. Campbell. 1974. Snakes of the American West. New York and Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc, and simultaneously by Random House of Canada Limited.
Wright, A., A. Wright. 1957. Handbook of Snakes. Ithaca, New York: Comstock Publishing Associates.