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What To Do When Bitten By A Hognose Snake

By Kerry
Updated on

Snakes are scary to some people and fascinating to others. However, there is one thing that these people share. Nobody wants to be bitten by a snake because of the potential pain and health complications that will follow.

However, there are many snakes around the world that aren’t venomous and will simply leave a bit of a nasty pain where the bite connects with a human’s skin.

A snake with red eyes

There are types of snakes on the planet that don’t kill other animals via biting and will instead look to constrict their prey before enjoying their tasty meal.

Hognose snakes are seen often, but do they leave a venomous bite? Does it hurt? Follow our guide to find out. This will be helpful for those who are wondering what to do when bitten by a Hognose.

What Is A Hognose Snake?

Hognose snakes are found in parts of Asia, Africa, South America, Europe, and North America. They can grow up to 2 feet long and have a recognizable scale texture.

The head has large eyes, which are used for hunting small mammals and insects. The mouth is located at the tip of the snout and has very sharp teeth.

Their bodies are covered with leathery scales, which help them move through different environments.

What Do Hognose Snakes Look Like?

The hognose snake doesn’t appear threatening, but its appearance should not fool you into thinking that it won’t harm you.

It has a thick body with short legs and a distinctive “hump” on its back. Its head is rather flat, so it may seem like it would be easy to catch if you were looking down from above.

It looks like a cross between an alligator and a porcupine.

Are Hognose Snakes Venomous?

Technically, Hognose snakes are venomous. However, this is often debated amongst snake enthusiasts around the world and often causes a lot of disputes.

The venom of a Hognose snake isn’t actually harmful to humans, unlike a lot of other venomous reptiles.

So, it is often wondered whether these snakes should be classed as dangerous to humans or venomous.

Of course, snakes can be hostile or defensive without having the possession of venom in their arsenal, but this doesn’t mean that they are necessarily lethal.

What Is Snake Venom?

Snake venom is a fluid produced by glands inside the snake’s body. These fluids are usually stored inside special organs called “salivary glands.”

The venom is then released through a duct connected to the salivary gland, which is also known as a fang. The venom is injected into the animal’s victim through the fangs and acts as a poison.

Venom is responsible for causing various symptoms such as paralysis, blood clotting, and death.

Hognose Snake Fangs Are Unique

A snake hissing

Hognoses’ fangs are located in the back of their mouth, as opposed to other snake species, where the fangs are often found at the front of their mouth.

Vipers are a common type of snake that have fangs at the front of their mouth and use these to inject their prey with deadly venom that makes them a lot easier to demobilize or kill.

This makes sure that they don’t expend too much effort fighting the prey rather than simply biting them.

How Are Hognose Snake Fangs Different From Other Snakes?

Hognose rattlesnake fangs are much larger than those of other snakes. They can grow up to 2 inches long, while some other non-venomous snakes only grow around an inch in length.

The average human hand measures roughly 7 inches. So, if you happen to be bitten by such a large snake, you’d probably end up getting stung multiple times before the venom takes full effect.

This would explain why sometimes it takes several hours for someone who’s been bitten by a Hognose snake to actually show any real symptoms.

Hognose snakes aren’t constrictors or venomous, so they tend to be more like foragers when hunting their prey.

These reptiles will usually rely on their endurance and their stamina when hunting for food, unlike other snakes that will strangle or defeat their enemies with a lethal bite.

The venom of a Hognose is perfect for small critters and rodents, with the venom acting like a sedative, making the eating process a lot easier.

What Does It Feel Like To Get Bitten By A Snake?

If you get bitten by a poisonous snake, chances are that your first reaction will be panic. You’ll want to run away and call for medical assistance.

Unfortunately, running away could cause further injury, especially if you’re barefoot. If you feel any pain after being bitten by a poisonous snake – even if it feels like just a little sting – you need immediate medical attention.

In reality, most bites are fairly painful. However, sometimes people don’t think much of it. In fact, many people are surprised to learn that there really isn’t a lot of pain associated with a snake bite.

Most bites occur on the hand, foot, leg, arm, or torso. However, some bites do result in severe swelling and bruising, especially if the venom enters the bloodstream.

Why Do Snakes Bite People?

As we mentioned earlier, snakes are generally very timid animals and tend to avoid humans when possible. A lot of them are nocturnal creatures, so they spend most of their time sleeping during the day.

This means that when they’re awake, they’re normally more interested in hiding than hunting. Their diet consists mainly of rodents and small mammals, although they also eat smaller birds and amphibians.

When a snake does decide to attack something, it only happens because it thinks that something is going to hurt it or it sees it as a food source.

If a human appears to threaten the snake, it might become enraged and strike out against them as a defense mechanism. Sometimes, snakes will also fight each other over territory or food sources.

What To Do When Bitten By A Hognose Snake

First, and we cannot stress this enough, do your best to stay calm and try not to panic. A lot of the time, these bites can be a warning shot more than a full attack on a human.

Many people refer to these as a ‘love tap,’ implying that the snake was more trying to warn you off than attack you outright. As we’ve said, snakes tend to avoid humans and will usually avoid picking a fight with people.

Hognoses, in particular aren’t known to cause a lot of problems with humans, and will avoid them altogether when possible.

However, there are cases where these reptiles have struck humans and left them feeling stressed and anxious.

Luckily, Hognose snakes and their venom don’t pose too much of a threat to humans, and there aren’t many complications when it comes to the health of the person who has been bitten.

The best thing to do is find some sort of soothing cream from a snake specialist so the skin doesn’t become too inflamed.

Of course, this is easier said than done because you’re not likely to be near any sort of medical center when bitten by a snake.

We once again recommend that you stay calm because if you start freaking out, then you might make the snake feel threatened, in which case they might strike out again and leave another bite on your skin.

If the snake is still attached to your arm via its fangs, it’s important not to pull the snake off of you.

A lot of snakes will stay snagged onto a human when biting them because this is what constrictors tend to do when they attack another living thing.

You don’t want to injure the snake, and you also don’t want to cause yourself any more pain.

If you pull the snake out, you run the risk of making the wound deeper or wider, which can cause you to lose more blood than if the snake lets go on its own.

Do your best to remove the snake gently by trying to coax it back to the floor or by holding the snake by the back of the head and using a knife to slowly unclasp the reptile’s jaws.

If you have other people present, then it always helps to have an extra pair of hands.

How To Treat A Bite From A Hognose Snake

A snake hissing

A lot of the time, soap and water will be a great way to combat a snake bite. We also recommend making sure that you sterilize the wound as best you can to avoid complications like infections.

Although the snake bite itself might not cause you too many problems, infections from unclean cuts can lead to certain complications further down the line.

If the skin is broken, which we’re assuming it is, then it’s always recommended to place a sterile bandage over the cut to make sure that dirt and other external features don’t enter their way into your bloodstream.

If the bite is showing signs of inflammation, which there might be, you should contact your doctor and get some medication for any potential pain or discomfort that you might feel.

Snake Venom And Its Usual Effects On Humans

Even though most hognose snakes are non-venomous, there are some species that have venom glands located in their mouth and can cause a lot of pain.

These types of snakes use venom to defend themselves from predators. This is one reason why some types of snakes prefer to live around bodies of water because they’re less likely to come across any dangerous creatures.

You’ll notice that when a hognose snake strikes at something, its tail will flick up and away as soon as it hits whatever it’s attacking as a form of defense.

The venom that is produced by Hognose snakes isn’t particularly harmful to humans, but it does affect the nerves and muscles of the body.

It can cause swelling and bruises in the affected area, so you may find yourself experiencing some mild discomfort. However, this is normal and not life-threatening.

Usually, the venom can have some effects that will have worse symptoms.

Common Symptoms Of Venomous Snake Bites

The main symptom of a venomous snake bite is usually severe pain, which comes about within 30 minutes after the bite has occurred.

There will also be swelling around the bitten limb, along with redness and blisters appearing on the skin. You might even notice that you’re sweating heavily when the venom enters your system.

Other common symptoms include nausea and vomiting.

This means that the snake will have entered your bloodstream and could potentially harm you further down the line.

As mentioned earlier, venom has an effect on the nervous system and muscle tissue, which can cause paralysis of the limbs, difficulty breathing, and heart failure.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do I Do If My Child Gets Bit?

The first thing you should do is call 911 immediately. They’ll know what to do and how to treat the situation.

Make sure you keep your child calm and safe while waiting for help to arrive. Snake bites will affect children differently than adults in some cases.

How Long Does It Take For Someone Who Gets Bitten By a Snake to Show Symptoms?

If you’ve been bitten by a snake, chances are you won’t experience any symptoms until a few hours later. Even after that, you might only start feeling them during the night.

Extreme cases will spark symptoms within minutes.

Does the Person Need Antivenom?

No. Antivenom doesn’t work on all bites from poisonous snakes. It only works on those that contain neurotoxins.

Final Thoughts

Hognose snakes aren’t generally considered to be highly venomous. However, if you’re unlucky enough to encounter one, you should still seek medical attention.

Your best bet would be to stay calm and try to remain upright. Try to avoid touching the wound itself or moving anything near where it’s happened.

Just leave the area and wait for emergency services to arrive or until you administer some sort of medical features.

If you do end up getting stung by one of these snakes, remember to wash the sting out thoroughly to prevent infection.

Don’t worry too much about being stung; just focus on staying alive and well.

At the end of the day, Hognoses aren’t particularly threatening to humans and will often just leave a bit of a cut, rather than a full venomous experience.

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.