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Western Hognose Snake

Name Heterodon nasicus
Type Ground dwelling snake, burrows & tunnels
Where am I from? Southern USA & Mexico
Handle-ability Excellent great temperament
Length/size up to 16-25 inches
Suitable for Beginner
Life span Ave 10-15 years

Housing

Hognose snakes are best kept singly. A small vivarium is all that is required, with a 2 foot vivarium being ideal, or even a large plastic box. They appreciate a substrate such as aspen or aubiose bedding, as they love to tunnel and burrow. Ideally hognose snakes need a hide at both the warm and cool end of the enclosure, but will often spend most of their time buried if a suitable substrate is provided.

Temperature

As Hoggies come from temperate North America, very high temperatures are not required. The cool end of the viv can be room temperature, with a hot spot of 25-28C being adequate. This is best provided by a heat mat covering no more than a third to half of the enclosures floor space. Always make sure that heat mats are protected by a suitable thermostat to avoid burns to your snake. It is best to always check temperatures accurately with a digital thermometer.

Lighting

Hognose snakes do not require any special lighting, or UVb light. Unless in a particularly dark room, most people keep them without lighting, but to allow better viewing lights can be used, and will be of no detriment to the snake, as long as they do not increase the ambient temperature too much. Any lights used should be guarded and on a thermostat.

Humidity

Hognose snakes thrive at normal room humidity of around 50%. Always provide a bowl of fresh, clean water. A humid hide can be used in cases of a difficult shed.

Feeding

Hognose snakes are strictly carnivorous. In the wild they eat mostly amphibians and small reptiles and rodents. In captivity they are usually fed whole mice of the appropriate size. Pinky mice are fed to hatchlings, and the size increased as the snake grows. Hognose snakes only require feeding once every week on an item no bigger than 1.5 times the size of the widest part of the snake. It is not necessary to supplement the rodents fed, but an occasional vitamin supplement such as Nutrobal may be administered by dipping the rump of the rodent in the supplement, and some keepers feel that this is beneficial.

Breeding

Hognose snakes are fairly easy to breed. Introduce the female to the male in spring. Mating usually occurs fairly quickly. 6-7 weeks later the female will lay a clutch of between 5 and 30 eggs in a moss filled hide put in especially for the purpose. The eggs are best incubated in the damp moss in which they were laid, at about 27C(82f). After a couple of months the baby corns will hatch from the eggs.

Buying Tips

Ask to handle the snake to gauge it's health and temperament. Baby hognoses can be fast and occasionally bluff attack or even play dead, but they grow out of this with regular handling. Look for clear skin which is taught and firm, and smooth scales, clear bright eyes, and no faecal staining around the vent. A healthy hognose should move easily, have no clicking, wheeze or hiss when it breathes, and should not have a protruding spine.

Varieties

There are a rapidly increasing number of morphs and varieties of Hognose. Common morphs include Albino, Red and Anaconda.