H. platirhinos is most commonly referred to as the Eastern Hognose Snake. They are found in the woodlands, meadows, fields, scrubs and sand hills of the eastern United States and southern Canadian states. These snakes are completely harmless to humans and are well-known for their 'play-dead' defence measure. Threatened it will produce a loud hiss and may strike, but don't worry this strike is more of a headbutt than a precision bite, Eastern hognoses keep their mouths shut when striking defensively. Further agitation will persuade the snake to adopt it's 'play-dead' routine, doing so by rolling onto it's back and continuing then to convulse and defecate, eventually lying their completely still until a time when the threat has passed.
The Eastern Hognose snake also has many other names, the Puff Adder, Hissing Adder, Spreading Adder, Blow Viper and the Hissing Sand Snake. Whichever name you hear, so long as the specimen is in fact H. platirhinosthen they are all completely harmless to humans despite many myths surrounding the species.
|Pet Reptile (Heterodon platirhinos) Care Information|
|Longevity:||About 20 years is the average.|
|Years to Maturity:|
|Adult Size:||Official record at 46 inches.|
|Temperament:||Heterodon platirhinos does not bite intentionally. They will hiss loudly, inflate their body with air, spread their neck similar to a cobra, and pseudo strike (fake strike). If none of this works they may continue on to play dead, and when turned right side up, roll right back over again, until they believe that the coast is clear. This behaviour of playing dead is lost in captivity, which is good because it is a sign of severe stress. It has also been reported that a hognose will open its mouth and swing it around, displying the rear fangs used to deflate toads.|
|Housing, Feeding and Climate of Heterodon platirhinos|
|Housing Size:||A hatchling can be kept in a 10 gallon aquarium with a secure lid until it reaches about 8-10 inches in length. An average sized adult can be kept in a 20 gallon aquarium, and a single large individual can be kept in a 40 gallon aquarium. Eastern Hognose Snakes can be housed together but should be seperated for about one hour after feeding due to a tendency to eat moving objects that smell similar to their food.|
|Reptile Foods:||In the wild Heterodon platirhinos will tend towards eating only amphibians. While they have been reported to consume insects, lizards, and small rodents, it is difficult to get them to eat anything but amphibians (usually toads) in captivity. Do not stubournly keep a snake that will not eat and starve it to death, return it if you purchased it, or let it go only if it was caught in the wild (in the area that it was captured). Eastern Hognose Snakes can be trained to accept mice in captivity, but may only accept toads. This is a process that requires great patience, almost always fails on adults, and has almost a 50/50 chance to fail for a juvenile or hatchling. Using a dead toad (easy to find roadkill), take a pinky or fuzzie mouse and let it sit in a plastic bag with a dead toad for twenty minutes to an hour to allow the foul odor of the dead toad to affect the baby mouse. Using the dead toad, or a smaller toad of appropriate size for the snake (dead or alive), hold it infront of the hognose. If and when the snake moves to take the toad, pull it away and offer it the scented mouse. Observe the first few times to check to see if the snake regurgitates the mouse. This process may have to be repeated for the snake's life, or, in some cases the snake will eventually take unscented, thawed mice.
Feeding mice to Eastern Hognose Snakes has been reported to cause fatty liver disease which will cause a premature death. This has not been confirmed and is only tentative information from keepers until a direct study on this has been conducted, and the results confirmed. It is believed that the high fat content in mice compared to toads may be the cause, which Eastern and Southern Hognose Snakes may have difficulty processing. To avoid this, if mice is the only option, feed the Hognose a mouse about the girth of the snake's head every one to two weeks.
|Temperature:||Hognose Snakes tend to prefer a temperature gradiant between 70 degrees fahrenheit and 85 degrees fahrenheit. They can be seen in the wild at different temperatures but this is what seems to work the best in captivity.|
|Reptile Lighting:||Are there any special reptile lighting requirements?|
|Special Requirements:||Allow enough substrate for the snake to burrow into. Carpets and paper towels are not very wise choices for this snake. The easiest substrate to acquire, and cheapest at the same time, is shredded aspen bark. Fine sand can be used too but it can not be dusty as this may cause respiritory infections for the snake. Beach sand may have a high salt concentration which may be fatal for the snake as well. Playsand works the best for sand. A water bowl large enough for the snake to soak in for shedding is required. Add at least two areas for the snake to hide in as it may not burrow all the time. These should allow the snake to fit and be snug, but still able to get in and out without hurting its self.|
|Breeding Heterodon platirhinos|
|What are the reptile health concerns? Is pet insurance recommended? Is reptile health a common problem?|
|Recommended Pet Supplies for Heterodon platirhinos|
nb. All of these can be purchased from an online pet store
Adult Eastern Hognose snakes will reach anywhere between 50-85cm (20-33 inches) in length. As with most Hognose snakes the Plains is a heavy-bodied snake with a stocky, strong neck and the signature turned-up blunt snout. Eastern Hognoses have a wide range of colourations, from tan yellows to a solid black configuration.
 Choosing your snake
Health checks for any snake:
- Firm rounded body.
- Clear eyes (may be a little cloudy if about to shed). There should be no sign of discharge.
- No evidence of mites - check especially around the head and eyes, check for faint specks on body and check your hands after handling the snake
- The snake should not have to open its mouth to breathe and should not appear as if it is gasping for breath.
- The inside of the mouth should be a uniform pink - reddened areas or cheesy looking matter may indicate mouth rot.
- Shiny smooth skin with no scabs or sores.
- Clean vent with no swelling in area
- Should move smoothly with no tremors
If you are unsure about the health of a snake, you can ask the vendor for a demonstration feeding, usually on pre-killed mice. If your new snake appears distressed or overly active, be patient but not ignorant, snakes will be agitated while they settle in to their new environments but if the problem persists it may be necessary to seek veterinary advice.
 Snake Bites
There are generally two types of bites: a strike and a feeding bite.
A strike is a warning that you have exceeded the bounds of what the snake will tolerate. It will shoot out, mouth open, then retract just as quickly, leaving you with a series of teeth marks.
A feeding bite is just that: they think they have prey, and are not going to let go; the more you move around, the more they try to 'kill' your hand. The easiest and fastest way to disengage a snake's mouth from your body is with grain (not rubbing) alcohol; in a school setting, you can use Listerine or, if none is available, isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. The latter can be toxic, so you must make sure that the snake's mouth is not flooded with it. Always tilt the snake's head downwards so that the fluid does not run up into its nose; from there it can get into its respiratory tract, causing infections. Compressed air can also be an effective way to coax a snake into releasing their bite. A quick burst or two into the mouth (not the nose or eyes) should do the trick, but long sprays must be avoided as they can cause frost bite both to the snake's mouth and to the person's skin.
Wash bites thoroughly with soap and water. Apply povidone-iodine (Betadine) or hydrogen peroxide, and let dry. Then apply a topical broad spectrum antibiotic ointment. Do not bandage. It should be noted that a snake will always signal when it is going to strike or bite; you just need to learn new body language. Once you see the snake stiffen and slowly retract, head held slightly above the ground or body, be alert and ready to move.
The breeding season takes place in both the spring and the autumn/fall. Males will follow the female around for several days before they attempt to mate. They lay between 4-60 pale, thin shelled, leathery eggs 3.2 cm (1.25 inches) long. Eggs are laid in a moist sandy, shallow hole, or under debris, and will hatch in 39-65 days depending on important factors such as temperature and humidity. Hatchlings are usually 16-24 cm(6.5-9.5 inches) long.