The Forum

The forum is a place for members to share good practice and ask questions about Hognose snakes and their general care. It is free to register and easy to use. There are plenty of regular members, so any queries about Hognose care, breeding, health and keeping should be answered within a short space of time.

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Frequently Asked Questions.

The Forum is a good place to gain advice and feedback which is personalised for your specific problem or enquiry. We always welcome any questions you may have regarding your Hognose snake and our members will eagerly offer friendly and informed answers. Here are a few frequently asked questions that may help you in your search for Hognose snake advice.

Thermostat - an essential piece of equipment in Hognose careDo I need a thermostat?

Yes, uncontrolled heat sources can cause many problems. Minor problems include stress, respiratory infections and loss of appetite if the temperatures are not correct. Hognose snakes need heat to help them digest their food, so a low temperature can cause digestive problems. A really high temperature can cause burns to your snake and even death. It does not take many degrees to push the temperature up into dangerous levels, so always ensure any heat source is regulated by a thermostat. Thermometers and heat guards for bulbs are also vital equipment within the vivarium.

My Hognose snake is not eating, what shall I do?

All snakes are designed not to eat regularly, as they are opportunist hunters in the wild. Hognose Snakes are no exception and you should not worry too much if your Hognose Snake misses the odd feed.

You should only begin to worry about your Hognose Snake if it begins to lose a lot of weight after a prolonged fast. This is why regular weight checks are important as part of your Hognose Snake care routine.

In the wild, Hognose snakes would naturally live on a diet largely made up of amphibians. This is sometimes why owners have trouble trying to feed their Hognose snakes rodents. A good method for changing your Hognose over to mice is to scent the mouse and trick your Hognose into thinking it is an amphibian. This can be done by defrosting the mouse with a frog’s leg or dipping the mouse in amphibian urine before feeding. If amphibian scenting is difficult for you, some keepers have had success with dipping the mouse in cod liver oil or defrosting the mouse with fish.

Braining involves making an incision into the head of the prey item to expose the brain matter and is a very good technique to entice your Hognose Snake to eat. Another technique is to place your Hognose Snake in a confined, dark box with the prey item and leave them together for a while. Sometimes the closeness to the prey item and the lack of any other distractions will encourage your snake to eat.

Can I feed my Hognose Snake live food?

Feeding your Hognose Snake live food is not advisableFeeding live food is very unadvisable, not just because of the cruelty inflicted on the prey item, but also because an uneaten rodent can also do a lot of damage to your snake. Rodents have sharp claws and strong jaws and teeth, so if they decided to attack your snake then serious injury can be caused. They are quite capable of gnawing your Hognose Snake's flesh to the bone and many snakes have been put down or died from these injuries. If you do decide to feed your Hognose Snake with a live food item then do not for any reason leave them unattended together.

There are also many legal and moral arguments regarding the feeding of live prey items, so you should check out the animal cruelty and protection laws beforehand to ensure that live feeding is legal in your area.

Can multiple Hognose snakes be kept together in the same vivarium?

It is unadvisable to house multiple Hognose snakes together, but many owners do without any problems. It is a big ongoing debate into the pros and cons of housing together, but really it is all down to personal choice whether you choose to house together or not.

The dangers for housing together include the chance of cannibalism (especially in younger snakes), early or unexpected breeding, stress in one or all of the Hognose snakes and even disease passing from one snake to the other and doubling your vet bills.

If you do decide to house your hognose snakes together in one vivarium it is important that both snakes are of a similar size, preferably adults. You will also need to add twice as many hides to the vivarium to ensure that one snake does not dominate the best hiding spots, which would cause stress to the other. You should feed separately and be ready for if breeding occurs. I would also advise having a spare RUB  (Really useful box- plastic tub with air holes added to it), heat mat and thermostat handy, just in case problems arise and you need to separate your Hognose snakes quickly.

What size vivarium do I need to house my Hognose snake?

Hognose snakes do not require large enclosures, even as adults and can become stressed if they are housed in a Vivarium that is too large for them. Generally the size of the vivarium depends on the length of the snake. A good rule to remember is that the perfect size vivarium is when the length of the snake equals the length of the front and one side of the vivarium, ie. If you have a 30cm Hognose snake then the right size vivarium for that snake would be about 20cm  by 10cm. A baby Hognose Snake can be housed in a small faunarium or RUB (plastic box with air holes added) until it becomes large enough to be comfortable in a vivarium.

My Hognose Snake keeps trying to bite me! Help!

Hognose Snakes are quite a feisty type of snake, which is part of their appeal to many Hognose Snake keepers. Usually the Hognose snake seems more aggressive than it actually is, choosing to try and scare away a potential threat when it doesn't feel secure, but if your Hognose Snake's behaviour is really worrying you there are a few things you can do to tame it down.

Regular handling is the key, as once your snake gets used to been handled, then they will learn not to mind it too much. If you are scared of being bitten, wear gloves to protect yourself or place you snake in a pillowcase, so that you can handle your snake through the cotton without it being able to strike.

Once your snake recognises your scent and understands that you are not a threat, then it will usually be more calm around you. You can speed up this recognition of scent by placing an item of your clothing in the vivarium for a while or by always using the same scented soap before every handling session.

If I am bitten by my Hognose Snake, will it hurt?

A bite from a Western Hognose snakeHognose Snake are mildly venomous, so a bite from one can be quite serious if you have a reaction to the venom. Hognose snakes are rear fanged, so have to give a very nasty bite if they are to penetrate your skin. These types of bites are rare and easily avoided, since Hognose snakes will always try to scare a potential threat away doing a puffy display with it's hood showing before they would attack with a bite. The only other time that you may be bitten is during a feeding response, so always use tongs when feeding to avoid any accidents.

Sometimes a Hognose Snake may bite and refuse to let go. It is important that you do not pull you Hognose Snake out of the bite as you may damage it’s teeth in doing so. If you are bitten by a persistent snake who does not want to release you, hold the head of the snake under running water. This usually encourages the snake to let go.

Treat the area with antiseptic and watch for any further symptoms. Seek medical advice if you become worried.

My Hognose snake has developed dull skin and the eyes have turned blue. Should I worry?

No, your Hognose snake is just starting the shedding process, so this is nothing to worry about. Shedding normally takes between 2 to 3 weeks depending on the snake. There is little you need to do to help, as Hognose snakes will shed their skin without assistance, but ensure that a large water bowl is available so your snake can soak itself if it wants to. A rock, stone or log in the vivarium also helps. After your snake has shed, remove the shed skin immediately, along with any faeces that usually accompanies it. Check that all the shed has come away from your snake, especially around the eyes as retained eye caps can be a problem.

Still Got Questions?

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