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Eastern Hognose Snake Playing Dead

Eastern Hognose Snake Playing Dead

C002/1935

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Credit

KENNETH H. THOMAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KENNETH H. THOMAS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Eastern Hognose Snakes (Heterodon platirhinos), also known as puff adders or flat-headed adders, consume amphibians (mainly toads) and use their snouts to dig them up, as toads spend much of their time in self-made burrows. They also consume small mammals, birds, bird eggs, insects, snakes, reptile eggs and carrion. They are immune to the toxic secretions that toads produce via their parotid glands. Eastern hognose snakes are not constrictors and swallow their prey alive. Though non-venomous, these snakes are opisthoglyphous (having fangs at the back of their mouth) and they use this feature to deflate toads which may puff themselves up with air to unswallowable proportions. If a predator or human continues to press this snake, it will open its mouth, writhe as if in pain and finally roll onto its back with its mouth open and tongue hanging out. It cannot be induced to move. If it is righted, it immediately rolls onto its back again and not until it feels safe will it right itself and continue with its normal activities. Eastern hognose snakes are diurnal and actively hunt for food and may be observed basking in early morning and again at dusk. Ludlow, MA. USA. Summer. Wild.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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