Heterodon simus

Heterodon simus LINNAEUS 1766

Common Names

Southern Hognose Snake

Languages: English

Overview

Common Names

Southern hognose snake

Author(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam
Rights holder(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam

Description

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).

Author(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam
Rights holder(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam

Biology

Diet

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.

Author(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam
Rights holder(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam

Behaviour

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).

Author(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam
Rights holder(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam

Ecology and Distribution

Ecology

Mostly active during the early summer in the morning and and evening when toads are out (Tennant, 2003).

Author(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam
Rights holder(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam

Distribution

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). 

Author(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam
Rights holder(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam

Habitat

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).

Author(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam
Rights holder(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam

Reproduction

Oviparous

Author(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam
Rights holder(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam

Additional Notes

Notes

Holotype: not located, perhaps lost according to Edgren, 1952, Bull. Zool. Nomencl. 6:354-355.

Author(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam
Rights holder(s): Mohammadi, Shabnam

References

McDonald, H. S. (1974).  Bradycardia during death-feigning of Heterodon platyrhinos Latreille (Serpentes). Journal of Herpetology. 8(2), 157-164.
Tennant, A. (2003).  Snakes of North America: Eastern and Central Regions. Lanham: Lone Star Books.