Heterodon simus LINNAEUS 1766
Southern Hognose Snake
Southern hognose snake
These snakes reach a maximum size of about 61 cm, the average size is between 50 to 53 cm. All species of this genus can be recognized by the characteristic upturned and pointed snout. The dorsal pattern in H. simus is less variable than H. platirhinos. It consists of yellowish-brown scales contrasted by dark vertebral blotches, separated by smaller orange blotches. The ventral scales are sandy-gray (Tennant, 2003).
Like H. platirhinos, H. simus is a toad specialist (Carr, 1940; Tennant, 2003), and has developed a resistance to the toxic bufadienolides produced in the paratoid and skin glands of toads.
When disturbed, H. simus will hiss and flatten it's head and neck. It may also feign death, like other members of its genus (Tennant, 2003).
Ecology and Distribution
Mostly active during the early summer in the morning and and evening when toads are out (Tennant, 2003).
Southeastern USA: from eastern North Carolina southward to the coastal plain of South Carolina and Georgia to Lake Okeechobee and Tampa in Florida, and westward through the florida panhandle, Alabama (north to Calhoun County), and southeastern Mississippi (to the Pearl River separating Louisiana and Mississippi).
Abundant in sandhill terrain, stabilized coastal sand dunes, and disturbed terrain where sandy subterranean soil has been exposed. H. simus tend to be more fossorial than other Heterodon species (Tennant, 2003).
Holotype: not located, perhaps lost according to Edgren, 1952, Bull. Zool. Nomencl. 6:354-355.