When threatened, the western hognose will try to bluff the predator. It rears back and flattens its head, takes deep breaths to inflate its size and makes loud hissing sounds. It may strike with its mouth closed. If this fails to work it will feign death, turning belly up and writhing violently for a few moments before lying still with its mouth open.

The hognose uses its upturned nose to dig holes in search of toads buried in the sand. The hognose can counteract the toxins in a toad’s skin by producing large amounts of adrenalin. It will also dig up and eat turtle eggs.