Hognose Care

This is my take on keeping and breeding Western Hognose Snakes, a.k.a. Plains Hognose (Heterodon nasicus). There are a few simple things you need to know to keep hognose snakes happy; "Keep'em dry, hot and feed'em a lot!".

Size:
Adult hognose can range in length between 12" - 35". Adult males can range in weight between 50-150+ grams. Adult females can range in weight between 200-700+ grams.

Life Span:
I personally have a male and female pair that was purchased as adults; both have been in my care for over 8 years.

Enclosure:
I prefer rack systems for keeping both hatchling and adult hognose. It allows me to keep a large number of animals happy and healthy in a small amount of space. I use 3 different sized containers for keeping my hognose "6 quart IRIS show boxes", "Vision V-18 Tubs" and "Commercial Restaurant Bus Tubs". I use 2 different types of rack systems for these tubs. I use Animal Plastic racks for the 6 quart and V-18 tubs. I use a Freedom Breeder/ARS type of rack for the Bus Tubs.
  • 6 Quart IRIS Show Box - I keep hatchling hognose in 6 quart IRIS shoe box containers. When hatchlings reach 40-60 grams and are good feeders they are moved to the next tub. If they are problem feeders I leave them in the 6 quart tubs for another 25+ grams as they feel more secure in the smaller container and moving them to a larger container can cause more problems.

  • Vision V-18 Tub - I keep all of my adult males in this container. Females are kept in this container until they reach 150+ grams. If I have a larger tub open I move them up at this time. If a larger container is not available and I don't plan to breed the female she can be left in this tub until she is 250+ grams.

  • Commercial Restaurant Bus Tub - 5"(h) x 15"(w) x 20"(d) - I keep all of my adult breedable females in this container. I like this tub for 2 reasons; 1 - It has a very solid construction. 2 - This tub is an industry standard size for commercial restaurants so it will likely never be changed. That means you'll never have to worry about a company changing its size every couple years.


Substrate:
I prefer paper towels for anything kept in a 6 quart IRIS show box. I use "Bounty Select-A-Size" paper towels as they are the perfect size for 6 quart tubs. I replace the paper towels every week or 2 or as needed. I like Sani-chips for both the Vision V-18 tubs and the Bus Tubs. I spot clean the V-18 and Bus Tub racks daily.

Any type of Shredded Aspen could also be used.

Water:
I make water available to my hognose at all times.

To do so, I use 2 different types of water bowls. I use 4 ounce souffle cups (also known as portion cups) for both the 6 quart and V-18 tubs. I put an ounce of water in each portion cup, doing so keeps it from being spilt. I use 12 ounce deli cups for my bus tubs. I place the deli cup inside a 4" irrigation coupling that I purchase from Home Depot or Lowes (they can be found in the irrigation area and not the plumbing area). I put 4-6 ounces of water in each deli cup, doing so keeps it from being spilt.

Temperatures:
Reptiles, including Hognose thermo regulate. For them to do this, they need a gradient in the enclosure that will allow them to move from a warm area to a cool area and back as needed.

The cool end of my enclosures can range from 72-85 degrees depending on the time of the year or whether it's day or night.

I provide all my hognose, hatchlings to adults with a warm area in the 90-94 degree range. This warm area is created by the use of 3" flexwatt heat tape in a belly heat configuration that is controlled via a thermostat. Just about any thermostat can be used. I prefer and highly recommend Herpstat thermostats over all others.

Feeding:
When hognose are kept at the temperatures described above they have a very fast metabolism. I offer prey to hatchlings every 3-4 days year round. Males are offered prey every 4-5 days. Adult breedable females are offered food every 3-4 days. A month and a half before brumation I offer adult females that I plan to brumate prey every 3 days. Prey items that are no larger than the largest area of the snake should be offered. Bigger is not better when it comes to feeding hognose. I feel it's better to offer multiply small meals than one large meal; I'd rather offer2 or 3 large fuzzy mice instead of one jumbo adult mouse to an adult female hognose.

Maturity:
Males can breed as early as 12 months of age and at a weight of around 50+ grams. Females can breed as early as 18 months and 175+ grams, but it is highly recommended you wait until females are over 24 months of age and 200+ grams. I think the ideal age and weight for a female hognose is 24+ months and 250+ grams before being put into a breeding project.

Breeding:
Information to come very soon.

Incubation:
Information to come very soon.


This page was last updated on: November 01, 2010