Western Hog-nosed Snake Care

Western Hog-nosed Snake Care

Western Hog-nosed Snake (Heterodon nasicus)

also know as Plains Hognose Snake.

Popularity: Make good house pets because they are harmless.

Origin: Found from southeastern Alberta and southwestern Manitoba in Canada, south to southeastern Arizona and Texas in the United States, and into northern Mexico. Divided populations can be found in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas.

Native habitat: Prairies; grasslands; and rocky, semi-arid regions

Size: 15-33 inches length; very bulky: when coiled they can take up as much space as a 5-foot corn snake

Appearance: Light sandy-brown color, with darker brown or gray blotching. They often have an ink-black and white or yellow checker patterned belly, sometimes accented with orange. Hognose snakes have an upturned snout, which helps them dig into the soil.

Diet: amphibians, lizards, and rodents

Activities: Diurnal – active in daytime, rests at night.

Defense Mechanisms: Hisses and makes mock strikes if harassed, and they will even play dead if stressed enough.

Misc characteristics: The fangs of the Western Hognose are not grooved like the fangs of truly back-fanged colubrids, so they are inefficient at injecting venom. Most snakes swallow their prey's head first, but the Hognose also swallows food sideways and backwards.

BASIC CARE

Housing

A 24″ x 12″ x12″ enclosure, such as a well-ventilated aquarium tank with a removable lid, is perfect for housing an adult Western Hognose Snake. A 2″ layer of Aspen bedding or coconut fiber is good for substrate. Provide two hiding spots made from pieces of bark, flower pots, etc. Place a spill-proof water bowl in the coolest part of the enclosure, preferably large enough for your Hognose to bathe in.

Temperature and Humidity

These snakes do best at daytime temperatures of 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit at one end of the enclosure and 71 to 80 degrees at the other. A thermal gradient can be made by placing a heat mat under one half of the enclosure, leaving the other half cool. Keep humidity at normal household humidity levels.

Lighting

They need a normal lighting cycle, so turn off lighting at night to allow for day/night cycle.

Feeding

Feed them an appropriately sized frozen mouse once a week. The mouse should be about the thickness of the snake at the middle of its length.

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