This is the very quick summary of the results of a western hognose snake bite. The snake is an apprx. 18 inch male Heterodon nasicus nasicus. The bite was a food response, not aggression. This snake has been a gentle captive for 8 years and has never attempted to bite.
Once this snake bit, it started to chew and hung on like a little bulldog. It seemed to use it's rear teeth almost exclusively, actively engaging the larger rear teeth.
Go to HerpNet's account of Western hognose snakes.
|(ABOVE) After about 3-5 minutes the snake continued to chew so I dunked it under cool tap water which caused it to quickly release it's grip.|
|(ABOVE) There appeared to be an anti-coagulant effect, the small incisions bled freely. If you notice the cleaned up bite marks show few actual teeth punctures - mainly just a couple rear teeth. In my experience a typical harmless snake bite shows a much fuller set of teeth, ie, they bite with their whole set of dentures. This guy actively worked at getting his rear teeth engaged. This makes sense to me since enlarged teeth at the rear of the jaw would have greater PSI than those at the front. It may help explain why some snakes have enlarged rear teeth. There might be some correlation between rear teeth size and size of typical prey items, for example. Possibly relatively large prey items and the lack of constrictive powers have encouraged the development of large rear teeth. (Just wild speculation, obviously).|
|(ABOVE) About 2-3 hours after the bite you could detect swelling. The picture in the upper right shows the start of swelling around the base of the thumb and index finger. In the lower left picture you can see the seeping from the bite due in part to swelling. In the bottom right picture you can see the swelling just starting up my arm. The areas of swelling also itched.|
|(ABOVE) This series of pictures shows the swelling getting relatively worse and extending up the arm a bit. At this point (in the lower two photos) I could barely bend my fingers. I couldn't, for example, touch the tip of my thumb to the tip of my middle finger. These were taken the morning after the bite.|
|By that night (18-20 hours after the bite), the swelling got a little worse and extended further up my arm. In the middle four pictures you can see that the swelling has spread about 2/3rds the way up my fore arm. Some small, itchy blisters also showed up on my hand and tiny popped blood vessels showed up as red dots particularly around my knuckles.|
|In these pictures, taken 45 hours after thebite you can see that the swelling has extended up to my elbow (left). My hand is still very swollen but is starting to deflate. You can see the wrinkled skin around the knuckle (above) of my index finger where the previously stretched skin is now loose. You can also see the remains of a blister at the base of my thumb. Today, almost 72 hours after the bite the swelling is almost gone on my hand but there remains a few "lumps" on my forearm. A general reddish discoloration perstists, though not a rash. My hand is tender, a bit achey with ocasional sharp pains around my knuckles. In all though there has been little real pain through all this.|