western hognose snake, Heterodon nasicus (1)

photo: JP Bruce

western hognose snake, Heterodon nasicus (2)

photo: Kaytie92

western hognose snake, Heterodon nasicus (3)

photo: jbviper1

Habitat: North America and northern Mexico
Status: Least Concern

This funny-looking reptile is the Western Hognose Snake (Heterodon nasicus) which to me looks exactly like it should be in a Dr. Seuss movie, living in Whoville. I mean, they’ve got those characteristic upturned noses, don’t they? Though these guys use their noses for digging in the sand and dirt, rather than for purely aesthetic purposes.

western hognose snake

You might think that these snakes are poisonous (they do slightly resemble some rattlesnakes I’ve seen) and they want you to think that, too! However, they’re actually quite harmless. Their fangs are located in the back of their mouths instead of the front, and on the rare occasion that the do bite, it is normally a feeding response rather than a defensive behavior. Their saliva is considered toxic to prey (frogs and toads) but not dangerous to humans.

If they feel threatened a Western Hognose Snake will flatten its head and neck out so that is resembles a cobra (shown above), hiss, and make mock strikes. If stressed enough they will even play dead! And they’re really good at it, too. They’re the Oscar award-winning actors of the reptile kingdom! Watch below: