Monday, January 3, 2011


Snout upturned, spadelike; upper scales keeled; 23 or fewer rows of scales on back and sides at midbody; underside of tail mostly black; maximum total length rarely more than 90 cm (35 inches), but in Colorado relatively few exceed 50 cm (20 inches) total length.
Description:Adults 16”–35" in length. Color light brown, with dorsal row of dark brown blotches. Row of smaller blotches on sides. Stout body; scales keeled. Enlarged and upturned scale on nose, giving snout a spade-like appearance (hence'hognose' snake). Divided anal plate.
Typical habitat includes sandhills, plains grassland, and sandy floodplains, often in the vicinity of, or along the margins of, streams, irrigation ditches, and ponds. Hognose snakes are terrestrial and fossorial. Periods of inactivity are spent burrowed in the soil, in mammal burrows, or less commonly, under rocks or debris. Throughout most of eastern Colorado at elevations below 6,000 feet. Fairly common. Records of this species in Moffat County in northwestern Colorado need to be confirmed.
Life History: Females produce a clutch of eggs in late June-July. Hatchlings emerge in August-September. Toads, lizards, and reptile eggs are the primary foods. Hognose snakes can use the spadelike snout to dig out buried prey.
Toads, lizards, and reptile eggs seem to be the primary foods, but mice, small birds, bird eggs, other reptiles and amphibians, and insects also may be eaten.

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