Other common names

Eastern Hognose Snake, Puff Adder, Hissing Adder, Spreading Adder, Blow Viper, Hissing Sand Snake

Basic description

Most adult Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes are about 20-33 inches (51-84 cm) in total length. These are stout-bodied snakes with slightly upturned, pointed snouts. The color pattern is extremely variable and may be mostly yellow, tan, olive, brown, gray, orange, or reddish-brown with large, dark brown or black, irregular-shaped blotches on the back and smaller blotches on the sides. Some individuals may be entirely black or dark gray without any pattern. There is often a dark line extending from the upper jaw through the eye. Juvenile coloration is similar to that described for adults but more vivid.

Range in Florida

Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes are found throughout mainland Florida in every county. Aside from two isolated records from the 1930s, they are absent from the Florida Keys.

Assessment of risk to people and pets

Non-venomous. Eastern Hog-nosed Snakes are not dangerous to people or pets. They do, however, produce a mild venom that is used for subduing prey. This mild venom is delivered by two enlarged teeth at the back of the upper jaw. However, bites from eastern hog-nosed snakes are extremely rare. These snakes are not aggressive and usually do not bite even in self defense. People who have been bitten were usually handling the snake after handling frogs or toads (these snakes’ favorite food), and the bites were from snakes that were confused and hungry. Humans that are allergic to the small amount of venom produced have experienced local swelling and irritation, but no human death from this species has ever occurred. Virtually all bites have occurred when the snakes were intentionally handled.

Comparison with other species

Southern Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon simus) Non-venomous has a light-colored belly and underside of the tail, and a more upturned snout.

two images side by side - Image 1: small snake with spots and a snubnose. Image 2: gray snake with upturned nose and gray markings.
Southern Hognose Snake. Photo courtesy of Noah Mueller.
Juvenile Eastern Hog-nosed Snake hooding in defensive display. Photo courtesy of Bester Photo.

Pygmy Rattlesnake (Sistrurus miliarius) Venomous has a blunt nose and a small rattle on the tip of the tail.

Side by side comparison of Dusky Pygmy rattlesnake and Eastern Hog-nosed snake
Pygmy Rattlesnake. Photo courtesy of Todd Pierson.
Eastern Hog-nose Snake. Photo courtesy of Bester Photo.

Share your observations

You can help scientists better understand the biology and distribution of this species by sharing your observations. Send photos or videos of interesting observations, along with associated information, by emailing the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum for documentation in the Museum’s Herpetology Master Database. You can also post your observations on iNaturalist.

Additional helpful information

Do you have snakes around your house? Learn how to safely co-exist with snakes.

Still have questions about snakes or identifications? Feel free to email the herpetology staff at the Florida Museum with your questions or feedback on this profile.

Banner photo courtesy of Bester Photo. Please credit any photographers on the page and see our copyright policy.