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Western Hognose Snake

In 1996, the Western Hognose Snake was placed on Alberta's Blue List of species thought to be at risk of declining to almost non-existent population levels in the province. The species had been ranked as a Red List species in 1991 but was updated in 1996 due to recent increases in new Alberta records. Nevertheless, the lack of information on Plains Hognose Snakes makes it difficult to identify current population trends.

The habitat of the Plains Hognose Snake in Alberta and Saskatchewan falls within the Grassland Natural Region of the High Plains, this being the third tier of the Interior Plains of Canada. The High Plains include Alberta's entire prairie region. This area has been described as either short or mixedgrass prairie, or a combination of the two. This semi-arid region is subject to moderately long, hot but variable summers, and moderately long, and at times extremely cold, winters.

The Plains Hognose Snake is a small to medium sized, heavy-bodied snake with a brownish-gray body colour and three to five rows of darker brown blotches down its top and side surfaces. The pattern and colouration resembles that of some specimens of the Prairie Rattlesnake. The underside is completely black, or black checkered with yellow or white. At maturity, the females are larger than the males, and the males have relatively longer tails in comparison to their bodies. The fangs are at the rear of the mouth and the venom is not normally considered dangerous to humans. Plains Hognose Snakes are not aggressive towards humans, and rarely bite. . I still wouldnÂ’t try to make it mad though!

Plains Hognose Snakes feed on many things in the wild. It is generally agreed upon, however, that they exhibit a preference for toads of all kinds. Other prey items include frogs, salamanders, turtle eggs, lizards, small birds, rodents, and other snakes. The fact that hognose snakes frequently feed on rodents, combined with the frequency with which they are found among Pocket Gopher colonies, suggests that they may include newborn examples of this rodent in their diets, as well as, perhaps, the young of the Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrels.

Western Hognose Snake

Western Hognose Snake