• Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Squamata
  • Family: Colubridae
  • Genus: Heterodon
  • Species: Heterodon nasicus

Geographic Range

  • The geographic range of western hognose snakes, Heterodon nasicus, extends from southern Canada to northern Mexico.
  • Its range is bordered to the west by Colorado and Wyoming, and in the east by Illinois.

Habitat

  • It is found in shortgrass prairie, dry rocky lands, and coastal islands.
  • It prefers areas that are, for the most, part dry and sandy.

Physical Description

  • Small to medium in size, with an average length of about 50 centimeters, and a weight between 80 and 350 g.
  • The dorsal side these snakes is grayish brown or a light olive green with approximately 40 dorsal spots that are a darker shade of olive green. Ventrum is mainly white, but is black underneath the tail.
  • The head is lighter in color than the body, but is strongly marked with dark brown bands across the top and behind the eyes.

Ecosystem Roles

  • Heterodon nasicus 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.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

  • 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.

Conservation Status

  • Not endangered or threatened.
  • Because of habitat destruction, the numbers of H. nasicus have declined by a considerable amount in certain regions, and as a result western hognose snakes are listed as threatened or even endangered in some of the states in which they reside.

 

Information courtesy of Animal Diversity website.