The term “hognose” refers to a group of snakes from three related genera that have distinctively formed upturned snouts: Heterodon, Leioheterodon, and Lystrophis. They can be found throughout North and South America, as well as Madagascar. These animals are typically small, with thick bodies and wide eyes. They are frequently kept as pet snakes in houses. Hognose snakes are often shy, preferring to hide from predators rather than attack. Similarly, in captivity, they rarely become hostile. They are relatively simple to keep after you have their housing and feeding regimen figured out.
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.
Hognose snakes do not get very huge, therefore a tank that allows them to stretch their entire body length would sufficient. Depending on how big your snake gets, a 20-gallon tank is usually adequate. Because these snakes do not generally climb, floor space should take precedence over height. However, a sturdy cover is still advised to keep your snake safe in its enclosure.
Provide a temperature gradient within the enclosure, with a basking area about 85 to 90 degree Fahrenheit and a chilly side that does not fall below 70 degree Fahrenheit. You may need to experiment with different wattages of heat bulbs at different heights to obtain these temperatures. Remember to measure the temperature at the level of your snake in the enclosure, not at the top of the tank, for an accurate reading.
Many owners choose to provide full-spectrum UVB lighting in the snake’s habitat on a 12-hour cycle to simulate the natural day-night cycle. This isn’t strictly necessary because these snakes obtain the majority of their vitamin D from their diet. However, the lighting can help their bodies create vitamin D, preventing them from being deficient.
Hognose snakes require humidity levels ranging from 30% to 60%. The humidity level varies significantly between species, and snakes prefer a bit higher humidity when they’re going to shed. The water dish in the enclosure will supply humidity, but if you need to raise the humidity level, you can softly spritz the habitat. A reptile hygrometer can be used to measure humidity.
Hognose snakes have snouts that resemble little shovels. They dig into the ground using their noses in the wild. In captivity, a few inches of sand combined with reptile-safe soil or another substance that allows the snake to dig and hide is perfect.
It has a strong physique, keeled scales, and a sharply upturned snout for digging and burrowing in loose sandy soils as well as hunting for prey. Dorsally, the Western hognose has a tan, brown, grey, or olive ground color with darker, slightly square blotches or bars, or rows of parallel dots that run lengthwise along the body. The Western hognose has glossy black scales that are often mixed with white, yellow, or orange. The Western hognose is most recognized for its vast range of innocuous defensive ploys, which are occasionally accompanied by a loud hiss produced by the snake forcing air through its distinctive skull and rostral bone structure.
In addition, the Western hognose has the ability to compress, or flatten, its body when threatened (this could be an attempt by the snake to look larger and more deadly to would-be predators). A Western hognose will frequently flatten out the ribs along its neck, or “hood,” like a cobra when hissing. The mature animals on this bluff are more impressive than the young ones. A frightened Western hognose will also strike, frequently with a closed jaw in a series of forward or sideways movements. When a Western hognose strikes, it uses its highly keeled snout to strike the predator but does not bite.
Despite their timid nature, hognose snakes are a hardy breed that doesn’t often get sick. But there are a few diseases to watch out for:
- Respiratory infection: Symptoms of wheezing, drooling, and general lethargy
- Mouth rot: Saliva bubbles and inflammation around your snake’s mouth,
- Fungal infection: Cause problems shedding and discoloration of the skin.
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