Western Hognose Caresheet

 

Background Information
The Western Hognose is a small stocky colubrid snake from America. Its geographical range is quite broad, being commonly found from Texas as far northwestern as Oklahoma and Kansas to southwestern Manitoba and the prairies of Illinois. It’s easy to tell genders apart as females get double the size and much stockier than males. A fully grown male can grow up to 18 inches where as a fully grown female can reach lengths of 36 inches (3ft). They are very placid animals once picked up - they do tend to put on a puffy, hissy display to try and unnerve you but it is all bark and no bite. They may occasionally strike but don’t actually open there mouths, it’s just another bluff and this is a rare occurrence. Over time when they get older they tend to stop all the acting and become very docile in every way. Hognoses are a rear fanged species with slight venom but bites are so rare that it’s never a thing to worry about. The cytotoxic venom is only bee sting potency however people with bee sting allergies may react worse to the venom.

Level of Experience

Novice

Habitat

Rocky outcrops, semi arid regions, grasslands and prairies

Life Span

15-18 years

Active Time of Day

Diurnal

Natural Prey

Mainly Amphibians, lizards, mice

Terrestrial / Semi Arboreal / Arboreal / Aquatic / Fossorial

Fossorial

Reproduction

Mate: Late spring / summer
Lay: Late summer

Clutch Size

 4 – 23 eggs

Breeding Weights / Length / Age

Males: 60g+ / 12 inches / 2 years old
Females: 250g+ / 16inches / 2 years old

Brumation Time

2 months

Brumation Temperature

14  - 16 ‘C

Incubation Time

53 - 65 days

Incubation Temperature

25 – 27 ’C

Types of Western Hognose colouration you could find in the wild: Normal or Albino


Captive Requirements and Welfare
The Western Hognose snake thrives in captivity although since they are mainly frog eaters can be tricky at times when it comes to feeding. If feeding difficulties arise this species does prefer slightly warmer temperatures therefore raising the temperature to 34’C tends to help solve the problem. With new born hatchlings some are quite fussy, so scenting techniques may be required to trick the snakes into eating pinkies. After that, they should consistently eat without trouble. The name “Hognose” comes from their upturned snout which acts as a shovel to help them burrow, therefore this species likes a relatively deep amount of substrate to hide under. Avaliable in many different colours and patterns and docile once past their bluffing phase western hogs are a good and interesting species to keep.

Vivarium size

30x30x30cm for hatchling
3ft x 1.5ft x 1.5ft for adult

Daytime Temperature (cool – warm)

24 – 34 ‘C

Nightime Temperature

18 – 22 ‘C

Heating / Lighting Equipment (on timer)

Spot bulb during day, room temperature at night

Lighting - T8 2% Natural Sun Arcadia UV tube

Substrate

Most Natural: Dried Forest Floor and Beige Lucky Reptile Desert Bedding
Alternatives: Beech Chip or Aspen

Hides

2 at minimum although due to their burrowing nature deep substrate could count as your 2nd hide

Decor

Branches and fake plants allow the opportunity to climb and aids in shedding. Mountainous decor would be a natural climbing source which a hognose would exploit.

Water

Fresh water topped up when needed clean out water bowl every few days to prevent slime build up

Food (Feeding)

Pinkies for hatchlings then increase the size as they grow but be careful not to rush in changing sizes, giving them sizes too big could put them off eating.

Cleaning

Spot pick weekly, full clean monthly