The Puff Adder aka Eastern Hognose Snake

Eastern Hognose Snake

Eastern Hognose Snake, photo by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Of the approximately 2400 species of snakes in the world, Michigan has just 17. The State of Michigan’s page on the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon platirhinos) says (in part):

Description: A thick-bodied, slow-moving snake with a flattened, upturned “nose.” Color is variable some have dark spots and blotches on a yellow, orange, or brown background, but other specimens are solid black, brown, or olive with little or no visible pattern. Easily identified by defensive behavior (see below). Adult length: 20 to 40 inches.

Habitat and Habits: A snake of open, sandy woodlands – found in the wooded dunes of western Michigan. The upturned snout is used to burrow after toads, a favorite food. When threatened, hognose snakes puff up with air, flatten their necks and bodies, and hiss loudly. (This has led to local names like “puff adder” or “hissing viper.”) If this act is unsuccessful, they will writhe about, excrete a foul smelling musk, and then turn over with mouth agape and lie still, as though dead. Despite this intimidating behavior, Hog-nosed snakes are harmless to humans…

Range and Status: Though recorded from most of the Lower Peninsula and the southern tip of the Upper Peninsula, Hog-nosed Snakes are most common in the western and northern LP. Their numbers have declined in many places, in part due to persecution by humans who mistakenly believe they are dangerous.

View it bigger (if you dare!) on their Facebook and see more great shots of native flora & fauna on the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Facebook!

More Michigan snakes on Michigan in Pictures.

 

 

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