Western Hognose Snake Care Sheet


The Western hognose snake is a benign, diurnal North American colubrid which has increased in popularity in groups around the world. Its natural range extends from southern Canada throughout the fundamental U.S., such as Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, into northern Mexico. Western hognose snakes come in many different colors. This can be a “peach” specimen.

It’s a stout build, is coated in keeled scales, also owns a more sharply upturned snout that’s used for digging and burrowing in loose sandy lands and also to search for prey. Dorsally, the Western hognose includes a ground color of tan, brown, grey or olive, with darker, slightly square blotches or bars, or rows of parallel areas that run longitudinally along the body. Ventrally, the Western hognose has glossy black stripes, frequently interspersed with white, orange or yellow.

The Western hognose is most likely best known for its broad range of benign fibrous ploys, occasionally accompanied with a loud hiss that’s reached from the snake forcing air via its unique skull and rostral bone construction.

Additional to this is that the Western hognose’s capacity to compress or flatten, its own body when endangered (that may be an effort on the snake’s role to seem larger and more harmful to prospective predators). Frequently while in hissing manner, a Western hognose may even flatten out the ribs along its neck, or “hood” just like a cobra. This bluff is the most impressive with older creatures; in younger snakes, it is rather funny.

An alerted. Western hognose may also attack, often repeatedly using a closed mouth at a collection of either forwards or sideways motions. Every time a Western hognose will attack, it hits the predator with its greatly keeled snout, but doesn’t bite.

Finally, sometimes the Western hognose–most frequently younger creatures–will play dead as it’s exhausted its other defenses to ward off risk. The snake rolls on its back, with mouth watering and lolling tongue. When flipped vertically by hand, it is going to restart its passing by rolling back on its back, which can be very funny to witness.

This passing act is also occasionally accompanied with all the Western hognose hammering a foul-smelling musk from anal glands found on each side of the cloaca (less funny to see).

With growing varieties of color stages, patterns and genetic mutations, its simplicity in care, and its uniqueness, the Western hognose is a fantastic pick for new and experienced reptile fans. I’ve worked with all the Western hognose for several decades, and it’s my absolute favorite snake to maintain and operate with.

Where to buy Western Hognose Snake?

On account of the rising amount of Western hognose breeders across the planet, there’s currently larger accessibility of animals, together with rising choices of routine and genetic mutations and fantastic color stages.

How large is Western Hognose Snake?

Females can grow to a maximum 3 ft in length, with weight normally doesn’t exceed 800 g. Men are smaller, averaging between 14 to 24 inches.

How long does Western Hognose Snake reside?

Western hognoses could live around 18 years.

Housing for Western Hognose Snake

A Western hognose will not call for a safe cage, although it’s not quite as proficient at getaway as other snakes. A plastic, 5-gallon terrarium using a secure lid is perfect for a hatchling. These are cheap and widely available at most pet stores which sell reptile supplies.

A grownup Western hognose could be held at a 20-gallon aquarium setup. The Western hognose is a ground-dwelling species, therefore choose for an enclosure having a larger quantity of floor space; elevation is much less significant.

If home many specimens, it could be cheaper to use big, clean, plastic blouse or shoe boxes, the size of which is dependent upon the size of these critters. I usually use three distinct sizes: 5-liter boxes for based hatchlings, 30-quart boxes for mature men and 40-quart boxes for mature females. Shoe and sweater boxes must have considerable ventilation, particularly in more humid areas, which can be reached by drilling holes.

I suggest maintaining the cage furniture easy. A hardy water bowl and a hide box or two will suffice.

Substrate for Western Hognose Snake

For hatchling Western hognoses, the best substrate is a newspaper. Although it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, it’s affordable, inhibits the growth of germs and eliminates the danger of a hatchling ingesting substrate that might result in an abdominal impaction.

Shredded aspen bedding has become the most popular substrate for mature Western hognoses. It’s not hard to clean, enables the snakes to float, and also, unlike pine and cedar, it isn’t poisonous to your snake’s lymph system.

Additionally popular, and usually secure, are recycled newspaper products which make cleaning up following the snakes simple. They also absorb smells fairly well and permit the snakes to float, which can be very important to hognoses, particularly younger snakes.

Although wild Western hognoses occupy areas of sandy, loose soils, it isn’t suggested that sand is utilized within their enclosures on account of the danger of impaction. Many keepers prefer to feed their snakes in a separate enclosure or receptacle to prevent their potentially ingesting substrate.

Lighting and Temperature for Western Hognose Snake

Heating is particularly essential for proper digestion of food products, for example of eggs in females, as well as when coupled with light, it supplies Western hognose snakes using seasonal breeding cues. Failure to keep appropriate temperatures may result in health problems for your pet, and even worse.

The upturned snout of this western hognose snake assists it to float.

For these diurnal snakes, full-spectrum light ought to be provided 14 to 16 hours each day throughout the summer and spring and eight to ten hours during the fall. There is a selection of full-spectrum lighting products available at local pet retail outlets which will meet the demands of your Western hognose.

Under-tank heaters are available in the pet stores and are specially made for use with most kinds of aquariums. One of these might be employed to offer a hot place basking area preserved at roughly 90 degrees Fahrenheit to your Western hognose.

Make sure you find a suitably sized heater to permit for a heating gradient–you do not want it to heat higher than one-third of this enclosure, so the snake could remove from the heat if needed–rather than utilize medical heating pads located in pharmacies. Although these may be flexible, they may be potential fire risks or overheat the enclosure. Hot rocks are also to be avoided. The cooler end of this enclosure could be kept in the high 70s.

Many Western hognose breeders are dwelling numerous snakes in rack systems. In a stand setup, heat tape along with a toaster or rheostat mix is most frequently utilized to give heat. These may be bought from reptile specialty stores or online. Heat tape is usually affixed to the shelving that the enclosure stays in or on, and is an excellent and readily manageable way of heating the enclosures at a rack.

Food for Western Hognose Snake

Launched Western hognoses are often eager feeders; a few will come with open mouths seeming to state “Feed me!” For stocky snakes, Western hognoses may be rapid, and they frequently don’t follow the typical practice of striking prey–they’ll strike at food things from anyway. For all these reasons, it is best to use tongs, forceps or hemostats when feeding Western hognoses.

It’s best to feed a suitably sized meal meaning that a prey item that is about precisely the same diameter as the snake’s head–one to twice each week. When it’s been consumed, it must generate a noticeable bulge, but none which is so big it’s still evident 24 hours later.

From the wild, Western hognoses have many different prey items, such as small rodents, lizards, amphibians along with the eggs of ground-nesting creatures. Pets do well on a diet of pre-killed or frozen/thawed mice. Many Western hognose keepers prefer frozen/thawed rodents since they’re more straightforward for your snake to digest; at the cellular level, the food thing was broken down by roughly half. Additionally, much like pre-killed mice, the danger of the Western hognose being hurt with a live mouse has been removed.

While buying a neonate Western hognose, get one who has eaten a few times by itself. Ask before you buy the snake. Responsible breeders won’t offer Western hognoses available unless they’re established feeders. It’s best to feed infants with little hemostats so that you can better manipulate the prey item and use it to draw the eye of their baby hognose.

Most infants will easily take as their first meal a thawed pinky mouse dipped in warm water (and it is intriguing to see a youthful hognose drink the water dripping off the mouse until it starts eating it). Repeating this a couple of times throughout the several initial meals will lead to a youthful Western hognose getting an established feeder which appears ahead to mealtime.

Some hatchling Western hognoses may be challenging to get to take mice. Scenting a thawed pinky mouse using canned salmon or tuna juice is simple and might encourage those snakes. It usually gets great results, and it’s simple to wean off the snakes that this form of scenting in an insufficient time.

Occasionally “braining” that a pinky works nicely, also, while this isn’t for the squeamish. It entails making a tiny pinhole at the skull of a frozen/thawed pinky and squeezing a little bit of brain matter out to smear on the mouse.

It isn’t suggested that toads be utilized as a scenting moderate for Western hognoses. Using toads can introduce harmful parasites into the snake, and it could also be hard to wean little Western hognoses away toad-scented mice. Locating toads through the entire year can present issues, too.

Water for Western Hognose Snake

Though wild Western hognoses inhabit regions which are semi-arid, pets still require a ready source of clean water whatsoever times. Change the water and then bathe the water bowl each week, and much more frequently if the snake fouls the water.

Handling and Temperament for Western Hognose Snake

The Western hognose is a docile, easy-to-handle snake. While folks may display spectacular leveling displays as mentioned previously, these aren’t signs of aggression. Don’t bother a snake that’s exhibiting bluffing behavior, to not cause it undue strain. Wait till the snake gets calmed down, manage it.

Western hognose bites are extremely rare and generally, happen because of a snake’s overeager feeding response. Some snakes will quietly take food off hemostats, or they might prefer getting food left at a calm corner of their enclosure to consume at their leisure.

Others are going to emerge from their enclosures prepared for food with mouths open. Whichever kind of behavior your creature displays, use hemostats, tongs or forceps to decrease the probability of a casual bite.

Of the numerous Western hognoses I’ve produced or possessed in my private collection, within the number of years I’ve worked with these creatures, I have been bitten only once. If a bite occurs, don’t push the snake away by yanking it, which might harm its jaws. Instead, pour a small capful of peppermint lotion on the place that the snake is not biting.

This is benign to the snake and also will end in it discharging its sting. On occasion, a hognose bite can result in mild swelling and around the sting website. This can be best remedied by cleaning the place of the sting with soap and warm water and taking Benedryl inside an hour following a sting occurs.

For years, there’s been debate as to whether the hognose ought to be categorized as a reptile. It creates a proto-lipase receptor cocktail in its saliva (as almost all life forms do) that lots of herpetological authorities think is used to break down food.

Whenever someone uses the expression “poisonous,” they’re speaking not just to the kind of receptor cocktail injected into a sufferer, but also the system employed at the delivery of venom. The Western hognose has quite a crude and inefficient delivery method, and its oral secretions (saliva) are harmless to people. An individual may also have a look in its enlarged jagged teeth as used primarily to fasten and maintain food items.

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