The Southern Hognose Snake (Heterodon simus) is a poorly known and declining species in the southeastern U.S. We conducted road surveys from 1985–2012 and accumulated 764 observations of this species from the sandhills and southeastern Coastal Plain of North Carolina. Here, we report information on the size, sex ratio, diet, diel and seasonal activity patterns, and population trends of this rare species. Our results show that sexual dimorphism is biased toward larger females in this species, and that sex ratios are even in young size classes but become skewed toward males in adult size classes. Observations of this species peak during September–October, and most observations occurred from late morning through early afternoon during this seasonal peak of activity. We observed this species in similar numbers for the past 28 years, and no historical trend in our encounter rates was discernible. Recorded dietary items were made up almost entirely of the lizard Aspidoscelis sexlineata and the anuran Scaphiopus holbrookii. This study fills important gaps in our understanding of this rare species, provides an important baseline useful for future researchers or researchers in other regions, and provides information useful for developing effective management strategies and search protocols for H. simus.
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Vol. 2014 • No. 1