Southern Hog-nosed Snake

Heterodon simus (State Status: SX; presumed extirpated)


Southern Hognoses are relatively uncommon snakes found in a patchy and small range, which includes southeast MS in the pine belt. A confirmed specimen has not been observed for decades in the state. Their name reflects the upturned nature of the snout. This species is especially known for its dramatic defensive displays: hissing and flattening of the head (“spreading adder,” “puff adder”), and often playing dead. Color is variable, but generally lighter than Eastern Hognoses, and may be gray, tan, or yellowish with a possible red tint (Behler & King, 1979). The underside of the tail is generally the same color as rest of the belly. This snake is found in various sandy-soiled habitats. H. simus is in decline in most of its range. They are generally active diurnally and hunt toads and other amphibians.

Southern Hognose from Georgia, © Kevin Hutcheson

Identifying Traits

  • Gray, tan with dark blotching
  • Tail same color rest of belly (separates from eastern hognose)
  • Snout more upturned than H. platirhinos



Sandy-soiled forests or grasslands


Diurnal hunters of toads as well as other amphibians


Toads and amphibians

Southern Hognose from Georgia, © Kevin Hutcheson