Giant Madagascar Hognose Snake
Lioheterodon madagascariensis

CLASS: Reptilia
ORDER: Squamata
FAMILY: Colubridae

SIZE:
3 to 4 feet.

RANGE:
Island of Madagascar off the eastern African coast; Comoro Islands.

HABITAT:
Forest edges, dry shrublands.

DIET:
Wild - Mainly frogs, occasionally lizards and small mammals.
Zoo - Mice.

DESCRIPTION:
A heavy-bodied snake that is mainly black on the back with square yellow spots on the sides that may connect across the back to form bands. Posterior part of body is largely yellow with some black. The belly is yellow with black spots. The snout ends in a large, keeled, upturned scale used for burrowing. The other scales of the body are smooth, not keeled.

FACTS:

  • The term "hognose" refers to the large, upturned scale at the end of the snout; it is not related to the North American hognosed snakes.
  • Also called the Checkered Madagascar Hognose because the sides of young (and some adult) snakes have a bright yellow and black checkerboard pattern.
  • The bite of this snake can cause local pain and swelling that disappear in a few hours.

YOUNG:
10 to 12 2-inch-long eggs are laid in the fall. Foot-long young hatch after about 80 to 100 days.

STATUS:
Not listed by CITES, but like most Madagascan snakes it has become scarce in nature because of habitat destruction.

REFERENCE:
Introducing the Madagascar Hognoses, Reptile Hobbyist, 2(1). Jerry Walls.
A Fieldguide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Frank Glaw & Miguel Vences.