Eastern Hognose snakes (also known as Heterodon Platirhinos), reside in the Eastern parts of North America and Canada. The average adult will grow to 71 cm (28 inches) long. However, it is known that female eastern hognose snakes, are larger than male hognose snakes.
After 8 months to a year, a male will weigh between 50 to 60 grams and are mature enough to breed with other Hognose Snakes. Because of that, they have optimum growth periods therefore on average it will be 6 to 8 years before they reach their maximum weight and length.
They are the largest of the North American Hognose Snake on average, growing to a maximum of 71 cm (28 inches). However, it has been known that some Eastern Hognose Snakes have grown a lot larger than the average size- there are outliers! Their colours area pattern made up of yellow red, grey and light brown.
You must remember as well, keeping them as pets means they cant just go out in the wild and find an area to gain warmth such as a burrow. If the enclosure was cold, they may escape and roam the house looking for warmth- therefore making it easier to lose the snake. The Hognose Snake (Genus Heteradon- North American), is a quite common pet then within reptile enthusiasts.
It is mildly venomous with short fangs, making it a lot safer than the likes of Pythons etc. Females are larger than males, and Hognoses from the Eastern areas tend to be the largest. Hognose Snakes live for an average of 15-18 years depending on how it is treated and their overall health.
They tend to mature very fast- since after a year from birth, males are ready to mate and after 16-18 months so are females!
How big do hognose snakes get?
Distinguishing Features. This squat, heavy-bodied snake reaches a maximum length of 3 feet (90 cm), but 2 feet (60 cm) is more typical. Most noticeable on the western hognose snake is the strongly upturned, pointed snout.
Are hognose snakes good pets?
Yes! Hognose snakes are some of the best pets for reptile enthusiasts. In fact, they’re an excellent compromise snake; they’re more exotic than a gecko but less fussy than a ball python.
Can a hognose snake hurt you?
Hognose snakes’ fangs are tiny, they don’t produce much venom, and their bites usually don’t cause significant symptoms in humans, although occasionally they do. So, while hognose snakes are indeed venomous and can deliver symptomatic bites, they are not dangerous.
Are hognose snakes aggressive?
Hognose snakes very rarely bite out of defense/aggression, preferring to bluff their way out of a threatening situation. But they’re not the brightest bulbs in the box, and sometimes they will bite their keepers if they mistake a human hand for prey.
The Western hognose snake is a harmless, diurnal North American colubrid that has grown in popularity in collections around the globe. Its natural range extends from southern Canada through the central U.S., including Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, into northern Mexico.
Dorsally, the Western hognose has a ground color of tan, brown, gray or olive, with darker, somewhat square blotches or bars, or rows of parallel spots that run longitudinally along the body. The Western hognose is probably best known for its wide array of harmless defensive ploys, sometimes accompanied by a loud hiss that is achieved by the snake forcing air through its unique skull and rostral bone structure.
Added to this is the Western hognoses ability to compress, or flatten, its body when threatened (this might be an attempt on the snakes part to appear larger and more dangerous to would-be predators). This death act is also sometimes accompanied with the Western hognose squirting a foul-smelling musk from anal glands located on either side of the cloaca (not as amusing to witness). With increasing varieties of color phases, patterns and genetic mutations, its ease in care, and its uniqueness, the Western hognose is a great choice for new and seasoned reptile enthusiasts.
Due to the growing number of Western hognose breeders around the world, there is now a greater availability of animals, along with increasing choices of pattern and genetic mutations and great color phases. Although wild Western hognoses inhabit regions of sandy, loose soils, it is not recommended that sand be used in their enclosures due to the threat of impaction. Heat is especially important for proper digestion of food items, for gestation of eggs in females, and, when combined with light, it provides Western hognose snakes with seasonal breeding cues.
There are a range of full-spectrum lighting products available at local pet retail outlets that will fulfill the requirements of your Western hognose, including the Zoo Med Repticare Day Night Reptile Timer to measure the photoperiod. In the wild, Western hognoses consume a variety of prey items, including small rodents, lizards, amphibians and the eggs of ground-nesting animals.
Western Hognose snakes are an incredibly interesting and unique species that many reptile-lovers enjoy. These snakes make great pets and dont require a ton of experience to be properly cared for.
Known for their unique defensive behaviors, Western Hognose snakes ( Heterodon nasicus ) can be a fun reptile to own. Many snakes will also perform these dramatic acts in captivity, creating a beautiful show of Mother Natures trickery.
The average size of a Western Hognose snake is not very long, as these reptiles have more of a stout build than many other species. While theres no way to estimate a snakes exact life expectancy, you should view purchasing one as a fairly large long term commitment. Expert Tip: Like any other captive reptile, the Western Hognose depends on top-notch care to reach their full lifespan potential.
Without an appropriate environment, proper maintenance, and a good diet, these snakes can succumb to illness early on. The neat thing about Western Hognose snakes is that they share a lot of features with rattlesnakes! On top of that, the snakes are sporting darker spots or bars that run along the entire body.
Expert Tip: These spots can take on a square or diamond shape, which is why many misidentify them as rattlesnakes in the wild. Thanks to their easygoing nature, these Western Hognose snake care is relatively easy (no matter how much experience you have). Provide a well-maintained habitat and a high-quality diet will make a significant impact on their health and happiness.
The wider shape of the enclosure will accommodate the temperature gradient these snakes need to stay healthy (more on that later). Its worth pointing out that soil and clay substrates will retain more moisture, which can increase the humidity in the tank. That means if you ever decide to switch substrates its important to monitor the humidity levels during this process.
Natural rocks, such as slate, are a great choice because they hold onto heat from the lamp. Dont be afraid to get creative and set up a natural environment the snake will enjoy! When the sun goes down and the lights turn off, these snakes can tolerate environments as cool as 72 degrees.
Its a good idea to install an under-tank heating pad around the basking area (especially if you live in a cooler part of the world). This will keep ambient temperatures in a safe range and give the snakes a place to get cozy even when the lights are out. These snakes do have exposure to UVB light in the wild, so its a good idea to replicate that when possible.
If the humidity climbs above this mark it could lead to some potential health problems (we cover those a bit further down in the guide). If humidity levels are getting too high open up the ventilation ports and let air circulate through. Expert Tip: Clean the dish out regularly to avoid algae or bacteria problems.
Dirty water is one of the easiest ways for disease and bacteria to develop within an enclosure, so its important to be consistent with this. Its important to avoid feeding adults weekly since these snakes are prone to gaining weight. We recommend feeding these snakes in a separate enclosure thats free of any substrate or decorations.
Expert Tip: While its rare in captivity, Western Hognose snakes can play dead, too. When theyre tried all of their other defense tactics, these snakes will roll onto its back and open its mouth to feign death. As long as you follow the recommendations and stay consistent, these pet snakes will thrive!
Western hognose is a short snake from the western plains of America. They are well known for the hardened scale at the front of the face used to burrow and manipulate their environment. They have a number of features that differentiates them from other colubrid snakes in the same area. They are technically rear fanged venemous though the venom is very mild and will only cause harm in those that are alergic to the venom. When threatened they will flatten the space directly behind their skull to form a hood much like cobra snakes.
Due to the temperature gradient required we would normally select an enclosure a minimum of 3 x 2 x 2ft with large vents and glass sliding front doors. All of this ventilation should ensure that heat and humidity is lost from one side of the enclosure to the other while keeping the basking spot itself at a consistent temperature.
Western hognose snakes will be able to reach the top of their enclosure without decorations to climb on so the basking lamp must be surrounded by a guard. Western hognose snakes do not require UVB to use the calcium in their diet like other reptiles but it is still a beneficial addition to the enclosure. If you plan to keep the snake in a bio-active enclosure a nutrient rich soil and clay mix with some sand for aeration would be perfect.
Western hognose snakes love the warmth coming from their basking lamp but they also appreciate secondary belly heat which will radiate from warm objects. Examples of full cover decorations would be caves, flat cork pieces or any other ornament that provides a shady spot to rest. A particularly large western hognose snake may move on to the smaller rats when fully grown but an all rodent diet is best.
Your decorations can be cleaned in a similar method, simply spray them down with the disinfectant and rinse thoroughly with water before drying them off and putting them back into the enclosure.
Western Hognose Snake Availability
Due to the growing number of Western hognose breeders around the world, there is now a greater availability of animals, along with increasing choices of pattern and genetic mutations and great color phases.
Western Hognose Snake Size
Female Western hognoses can grow to a maximum size just short of 3 feet, with a weight that normally does not exceed 800 grams. Males are somewhat smaller, averaging between 14 to 24 inches.
Western Hognose Snake Life Span
Western hognoses may live up to 18 years in captivity.
Western Hognose Snake Caging
A Western hognose does require a secure cage, even though it is not as adept at escape as other snakes. A plastic, 5-gallon reptile terrarium with a secure lid is ideal for a hatchling. These are inexpensive and widely available at most pet stores or reptile shops online that sell reptile supplies. An adult Western hognose can be kept in a 20-gallon aquarium set up. The Western hognose is a ground-dwelling species, so opt for an enclosure with a greater amount of floor space; height is not as important.If housing several specimens, it can be more economical to use large, clear, plastic shoe or sweater boxes, the size of which depends on the size of the animals. I normally use three different sizes: 5-liter boxes for established hatchlings, 30-quart boxes for adult males and 40-quart boxes for adult females. Shoe and sweater boxes should have ample ventilation, especially in more humid regions, which can be achieved by drilling holes into them.I recommend keeping the cage furniture simple. A sturdy water bowl and a hide box or two will suffice.
Western Hognose Snake Substrate
For hatchling Western hognoses, the best substrate is newspaper. While it is not the most aesthetically pleasing, it is inexpensive, inhibits the growth of bacteria and eliminates the threat of a hatchling ingesting substrate that could cause an abdominal impaction.Shredded aspen bedding is the most popular reptile bedding for adult Western hognoses. It is easy to clean, allows the snakes to burrow, and, unlike cedar and pine, it is not hazardous to a snake’s respiratory system. Also popular, and generally safe, are recycled newspaper products that make cleaning up after the snakes easy. They also absorb odors fairly well and allow the snakes to burrow, which is important to hognoses, especially younger snakes.Although wild Western hognoses inhabit regions of sandy, loose soils, it is not recommended that sand be used in their enclosures due to the threat of impaction. Some keepers prefer to feed their snakes in a separate enclosure or receptacle to prevent their possibly ingesting substrate.
Western Hognose Snake Lighting and Temperature
Heat is especially important for proper digestion of food items, for gestation of eggs in females, and, when combined with light, it provides Western hognose snakes with seasonal breeding cues. Failure to maintain proper temperatures can lead to health problems in your pet, and worse.For these diurnal snakes, full-spectrum lighting should be provided 14 to 16 hours per day during the spring and summer and eight to 10 hours during the autumn. There are a range of full-spectrum lighting products available at local pet retail outlets that will fulfill the requirements of your Western hognose, including the Zoo Med Repticare Day Night Reptile Timer to measure the photoperiod.Under-tank heaters are available at pet stores and are specifically designed for use with most types of aquariums, such as the Zilla Heat Pad. One of these can be used to provide a hot spot basking area maintained at about 90 degrees Fahrenheit for your Western hognose. Be sure to get an appropriately sized heater to allow for a heat gradient—you don’t want it to heat more than one-third of the enclosure, so the snake can get away from the heat if desired—and never use medical heat pads found in pharmacies. While these may be adjustable, they can be potential fire hazards, or overheat the enclosure. Hot rocks are also to be avoided. The cooler end of the enclosure can be maintained in the high 70s. Keep this heat pad regulated with the Zilla Heat Habitat Thermostat Controller.Many Western hognose breeders house many snakes in rack systems. In a rack set-up, heat tape and a programmable thermostat or rheostat combination is most commonly used to provide heat. These can be purchased from reptile specialty stores or online. Heat tape is normally affixed to the shelving the enclosure sits on or in, and is a very good and easily manageable method for heating the enclosures in a rack.
Western Hognose Snake Feeding
Established Western hognoses are usually eager feeders; some will come at you with open mouths appearing to say, “Feed me!” For stocky snakes, Western hognoses can be quick, and they often don’t follow the standard practice of striking at prey head-on—they will strike at food items from any direction. For these reasons, it’s best to use tongs, forceps or hemostats when feeding Western hognoses.It is best to feed an appropriately sized meal—meaning a prey item that’s about the same diameter as the snake’s head—one to two times per week. Once it has been swallowed it should produce a noticeable lump, but not one that is so large that it is still noticeable 24 hours later. In the wild, Western hognoses consume a variety of prey items, including small rodents, lizards, amphibians and the eggs of ground-nesting animals. Pets do very well on a diet of pre-killed or frozen/thawed mice. Many Western hognose keepers prefer frozen/thawed rodents because they are easier for the snake to digest; at the cellular level, the food item has been broken down by about half. Also, as with pre-killed mice, the risk of your Western hognose being injured by a live mouse is eliminated.When buying a neonate Western hognose, get one that has eaten three to four times on its own. Ask before you buy the snake. Responsible breeders will not offer Western hognoses for sale unless they are established feeders. It is best to feed babies with small hemostats so you can better manipulate the prey item, and use it to draw the attention of the baby hognose. Most babies will readily accept as their first meal a thawed pinky mouse dipped in warm water (and it’s interesting to watch a young hognose drink the water dripping off the mouse just before it begins eating it). Repeating this a few times during the first several meals will result in a young Western hognose becoming an established feeder that looks forward to mealtime.Some hatchling Western hognoses can be challenging to get to accept mice. Scenting a thawed pinky mouse with canned tuna or salmon juice is easy and may encourage these snakes to eat. It usually gets good results, and it’s easy to wean the snakes off this form of scenting in a very short time. Sometimes “braining” a pinky works well, too, although this is not for the squeamish. It involves making a small pinhole in the skull of a frozen/thawed pinky, and squeezing a bit of brain matter out to smear on the mouse’s nose.It is not recommended that toads be used as a scenting medium for Western hognoses. Using toads can introduce dangerous parasites to the snake, and it can also be difficult to wean small Western hognoses off toad-scented mice. Finding toads throughout the year can present problems, too.
Western Hognose Snake Water
Even though wild Western hognoses inhabit areas that are semi-arid, pets still need a ready supply of clean water at all times. Change the water and wash the water bowl at least every week, and more often if the snake fouls the water.
Western Hognose Snake Size
The average size of a Western Hognose snake is not very long, as these reptiles have more of a stout build than many other species.
With proper care,While there’s no way to estimate a snake’s exact life expectancy, you should view purchasing one as a fairly large long term commitment.
Appearance & Colors
The neat thing about Western Hognose snakes is that they share a lot of features with rattlesnakes!Coloration can vary from snake to snake. However, the most common coloration consists of a base color of light tan, gray, or olive green. On top of that, the snakes are sporting darker spots or bars that run along the entire body.The head of the Western Hognose is definitely the feature that stands out the most.Like the rest of the body, it’s covered in keeled scales. On the head, the scales are much larger. The nose scales have a distinct shape.Together, they give the snake an upturned snout with a subtle point. The nose helps the snake burrow into sand and substrate. It also gives off a hog-like look, which is how the snake got its name!
Western Hognose Snake Care
Thanks to their easygoing nature, these Western Hognose snake care is relatively easy (no matter how much experience you have). These reptiles adapt well to life in captivity.That said, you must do your part to cover their needs and help them thrive! Provide a well-maintained habitat and a high-quality diet will make a significant impact on their health and happiness.Below are some tips to make that happen!
Since these reptiles are usually less than three feet in length, you don’t need a massive enclosure to keep these snakes happy.For the best results, choose a home with plenty of horizontal space. As a good rule of thumb,The wider shape of the enclosure will accommodate the temperature gradient these snakes need to stay healthy (more on that later).
Recommended Habitat Setup
Coming from a semi-arid environment, you have a lot of flexibility when it comes to decor.Starting with the substrate, you can use something as simple as newspaper. If you prefer something a bit more polished, you can use aspen shavings.A mixture of soil and clay work well, too. In fact, this natural substrate closely resembles the soil they burrow into in the wild!It’s worth pointing out that soil and clay substrates will retain more moisture, which can increase the humidity in the tank. That means if you ever decide to switch substrates it’s important to monitor the humidity levels during this process.On top of the substrate, you can add rocks and other decorative items the snake can climb over. Natural rocks, such as slate, are a great choice because they hold onto heat from the lamp.Shade and shelter are necessary as well.You can also incorporate silk plants or artificial caves. Don’t be afraid to get creative and set up a natural environment the snake will enjoy!
As diurnal creatures, Western Hognose snakes need ample light throughout the day. They also require plenty of heat.These snakes self-regulate their body heat. This means you’ll need to create an appropriate temperature gradient in their habitat.When the sun goes down and the lights turn off, these snakes can tolerate environments as cool as 72 degrees.Dedicated UVB lights aren’t a hard requirement. However, it doesn’t hurt to have them for good measure. These snakes do have exposure to UVB light in the wild, so it’s a good idea to replicate that when possible.
Even with their need for low humidity, Western Hognose snakes still need a water dish! Install a shallow dish into the enclosure and keep it filled with clean water at all times.You might find the snake soaking in the dish every once in a while. That’s perfectly normal! Many snakes use the water to cool off or help with shedding.
Food & Diet
Western Hognose snakes are carnivores with a healthy appetite for rodents! They do best on a simple diet of mice.Provide a thawed mouse every 10 to 14 days. It’s important to avoid feeding adults weekly since these snakes are prone to gaining weight.We recommend feeding these snakes in a separate enclosure that’s free of any substrate or decorations. This will help you avoid any accidental particle ingestion (which can cause serious health complications).
Potential Health Issues
Western Hognose snakes can suffer from diseases like any other reptile. Some of the most common conditions to be wary of are respiratory infections and parasites.Bring your snake to a veterinarian that specializes in exotic animals. They will likely prescribe an antibiotic treatment to take care of the problem. In the meantime, lower humidity levels in the enclosure to prevent future infections.Make sure that you’re spot cleaning messes daily. Also, break down the habitat completely and wipe everything down with reptile disinfectant once a month. This should keep bacteria and parasites at bay.
Behavior & Temperament
Western Hognose snakes are relatively docile. In the beginning, they can be shy and spend more time hiding out.However, that behavior will subside once they get more comfortable with the environment.These snakes are unique in the fact that they like to mimic other snakes whenever they feel stressed or scared. When caught off guard, you might see your snake flatten its body. It may even flatten the ribs on its neck to create a faux hood like a Cobra!As a finishing touch, these snakes are very vocal. They can force air through their skull to create a loud hissing sound.These behaviors can be alarming at first. But don’t worry, they’re completely harmless!That said, you should use the behaviors as a sign that they want you to back off. Give the snake some space and let them get comfortable.
Western Hognose snakes will get more comfortable with handling as time goes on.This species has a tendency to be a bit head shy sometimes. They may jerk their head away from your hand as you approach. Some may also “strike” (but this striking is really nothing more than a headbutt).If the snake is exhibiting any of these behaviors, it means that they’re not comfortable yet. Wait a while and try again later. Be gradual with the length of time you handle them and slowly increase it as they become more comfortable with you.When your snake is ready, they’ll let you handle them. Support their entire body and be gentle. Once you gain this level of trust from your snake, they should have no problem with you going forward!.