Plains Hog-nosed Snake

(Heterodon nasicus)

Common Name: Plains Hog-nosed Snake (aka Western Hog-nosed Snake)

Scientific Name: Heterodon nasicus

Reptiles Alive Name: Ms. Piggy

Hisssstory: Donated to us from another wildlife education organization.

RA Diet: Thawed frozen mice

Natural Diet: Carnivorous. Toads are the main food item and can make up nearly 80 percent of its diet in certain regions. The plains hog-nosed snake searches for its prey, often by using its shovel-like nose to dig in the ground.

Range: The geographic range of plains hog-nosed snakes extend from southern Canada to northern Mexico. Their range is bordered to the west by Colorado and Wyoming and in the east by Illinois.

Habitat: The plains hog-nosed snake prefers areas that are for the most part dry and sandy like the chaparral, grasslands, and desert ecosystems. They are often found out in the open, in burrows, or under rocks.

Size: The plains hog-nosed snake is small to medium in size, with an average length of about 20 inches and weight between 80 and 350 g.

Lifespan: Up to 20 years.

Reproduction: The mating season is between June and August, when males begin to actively search for females in their range. The males pick up the scent of a chemical released by females and use it to seek out their location. Females lay from 4 to 23 eggs in the sand and the baby hog-nosed snakes hatch in 52 to 64 days.

Conservation: Due to habitat destruction, the population has declined greatly in certain regions. As a result, plains hog-nosed snakes are listed as threatened or even endangered in some states in their range. Many human developments have pushed plains hog-nosed snakes from their sandy habitat into more wooded areas, where they are less equipped for survival. In these states there are programs to help save the snakes’ sandy habitats.

Cool Facts: The first line of defense for the hog-nosed snake is to make itself appear larger by making its head and neck flatter. This flattening is accompanied by extremely loud hissing and blowing. If this defense doesn’t work, the snake will shift into phase two. Phase two begins with the snake spasming uncontrollably, emitting a “death stench,” and then rolling over on its back, lying motionless and playing dead. Do not worry though, as soon as the predator leaves, the hog-nosed snake flips back over right side up and goes about its day. Below is a video of our completely harmless native eastern hog-nosed snake doing is best bluff. Our native eastern hog-nosed snakes come in a wide variety of colors and most have a obvious pattern. However, the one featured below is a melanistic or all black specimen.


 

“We’ve had other animal shows, none compare.” – Patti Ryan, Cultural Arts Chair, Green Acres Elementary School

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We had a great experience with Reptiles Alive for my daughter’s 6th birthday party. Rachel arrived exactly on time, set up quickly, and immediately engaged the group of curious children. We had an impromptu dance party while waiting for last minute guests and Rachel was very accommodating. The children LOVED the show!! And my soon-to-be 11 year old wants them to come for his birthday! I highly recommend Reptiles Alive for your next event!read more

Kelly Maguire

Kelly Maguire

22:57 12 Mar 18

We just had Reptiles Alive come to our preschool and the kids loved it!! We had 4 shows over 2 days to accommodate all our children and everything went great! Caroline was very easy to work with and quick to respond to all my emails. She was our presenter too and was early each day and ready to go when the kids arrived. She really geared her show towards our audience (2-5yr olds) and had them laughing and answering her questions and touching the animals. It was perfect… we would definitely book them again!!read more

Lauren Dolinski

Lauren Dolinski

20:47 01 Mar 18

We booked Reptiles Alive for our son’s 7th birthday party. Miss Rachel put on an amazing show for the 20 kids we had over. The highlight was when my son and I had the chance to hold a long and surprisingly heavy boa constrictor named Sunflower. The show was both educational and fun for the kids, and it kept them captivated for a full hour – priceless!!read more

Rick Jandrain

Rick Jandrain

01:53 06 Feb 18

Rachel is an awesome instructor and very good with many kids. The reptiles were fascinating. This was a great birthday party for my daughter and her second grade class.read more

Robert McKeon

Robert McKeon

23:26 26 Feb 18

We invited Reptiles Alive for our birthday party. Ms. Rachel did a wonderful job to educate the kids about the fun facts of Reptiles and also kept them entertained and focused. It’s not a easy job facing a bunch of 7-year-old boys and 3-year-old preschoolers. We highly recommend Reptiles Alive show. It’s fun and full of knowledge!read more

Tianchan Niu

Tianchan Niu

22:09 17 Dec 17

We had Reptiles Alive join us for a country club event and they did an outstanding job! Ashley was amazing and so professional. She was very interactive with the children and played the role perfectly. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience!read more

Chelsea Barb

Chelsea Barb

20:20 28 Mar 18

We’ve been working with Reptiles Alive for the past 4 years now and they show up and show out every time. Everything from booking to the day of is efficient and friendly. At our past event, presenter Liz did 6 shows back to back for our campers, which is truly impressive and phenomenal. We will continue to work with Reptiles Alive for years to come and really appreciate the work and educating that they do!read more

Lydia Vanderbilt

Lydia Vanderbilt

21:09 05 Apr 18

Reptiles Alive gave an awesome show at our elementary school! The presenter was so much fun and really engaged the children. Very cool reptiles and a great interactive meet and greet at the end. The kids loved it!read more

Jonathan Grau

Jonathan Grau

14:52 07 Apr 18

I am in charge of grade level assemblies at our school and our 3rd grade has RA in for their Rain Forest show every year to reinforce the things they have learned about in class. This is my second year working with them and I have been absolutely thrilled with the interaction to book the event and with the presenters. They engage the kids and help make them a part of the show. I can’t say enough about this wonderful program and the amazing people that work there.read more

Kim Painter

Kim Painter

23:32 07 Apr 18

We love this show at our preschool!! The kids have so much fun and learn a lot! They are very organized and always start on time. We have always had a wonderful experience with Reptiles Alive and can’t wait to have them back again!read more

Melissa Jones

Melissa Jones

15:06 20 Apr 18

Reptiles Alive LLC visited our 1st grade friends and did the “Reptiles Alive!” show. They exceeded all of our expectations and were excellent at keeping the students engaged. The students have talked about it for days after, even repeating some of the facts they have heard! I would highly recommend Reptiles Alive!read more

Brittney Gjorgjievski

Brittney Gjorgjievski

16:12 14 May 18

Reptiles Alive was a MAJOR hit at the Mattie Miracle Walk & Family Festival. Rachel was incredibly professional, engaging, and clearly loves what she does. She made the show and meet & greet fun for both kids and adults. Can’t wait to have Reptiles Alive back next year to our event. We received a lot of positive feedback from our guests and we were thrilled to see how well attended the show was at our event. Thank you Reptiles Alive!!!read more

Peter Brown

Peter Brown

01:58 22 May 18

Caroline did an awesome job for our kindergarten Reptiles Alive performance. She held their attention and told fun stories. The reptiles are so cool! Every time she introduced a new reptile, the kids were amazed. I recommend the “meet and greet” time as well. My students will never forget touching a boa constrictor! Thanks Reptiles Alive!read more

Michelle Baldwin

Michelle Baldwin

03:00 09 Jun 18