Eastern Hognose Snake
NH Conservation Status: State Endangered, Wildlife Action Plan Species in Greatest Need of Conservation
State Rank Status: Endangered.
Distribution: Southern NH along the Merrimack River, Concord to Massachusetts border.
Description: A thick-bodied snake measuring 20-35 inches. Has a characteristic upturned snout and keeled dorsal scales. Light and dark blotches vary in color from brown to red and orange. There is also a dark phase in which the body is almost uniform in and grayish-black color.
Commonly Confused Species: Garter snake; Timber rattlesnake
Habitat: Requires sandy, gravely soils such as open fields, river valleys, pine forests, and upland hillsides. Feeds predominately on toads; therefore needs breeding habitat (e.g., wetlands, vernal pools) for amphibians.
Life History: During summer lays eggs a few inches underground or under woody debris. Hibernates in mammal burrows, under woody debris, or under trash piles. Has a dramatic defense display including hissing, mock striking, and playing dead.
Conservation Threats: Loss of habitat from rapidly developing southern New Hampshire; mortality on roadways, loss of amphibian populations; people killing individual snakes because of fear (hognose snakes are not dangerous to humans or pets…unless you are a toad).