The Western Hognose snake is found in the Midwest United States and parts of Mexico. Their care is very manageable, they are smaller snakes and make great pets.
Hognose snakes will stay on the small side, and will never exceed 3 feet in length. They have upturned nose to help them with digging. In general, females are slightly larger than the males. These snakes will live past 15 years of age if cared for properly.
Hognose snakes can live happily off of a diet of small rodents. Hatchling snakes will take pinkie mice, and as they grow, so should the size of prey. A food item should make a noticeable, not uncomfortable, lump in your snake at its widest point. Another way to think of it is the width of the rodent should be 125% the width of your snake.
Always feed frozen/thawed rodents to your snake because they are healthier and safer. Live rodents are able to fight back, and may actually harm you snake. It is also harder to keep live rodents healthy, and they create quite a mess. Feed adults every 6-7 days, and hatchlings every 4-5 days.
One adult hognose snake needs a 20-gallon enclosure. Hatchlings can live in 10-gallon enclosures, and graduate up as they grow. Snakes are solitary animals, and live better on their own than in groups. If you keep multiple snakes together, add ten gallons for every new snake. Always have a secure lid to prevent any chance of escape.
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Hognose snakes like loose substrates that they are able to burrow and dig into. Good substrates include aspen and pine shavings. Avoid cedar because it is toxic to reptiles. Substrates like sand and gravel are bad because they are dusty, and can be harmful if swallowed.
If you are looking for a simpler substrate, paper towels or newspaper can be used, and your snake will not mind.
Provide at least two hiding spots on opposite sides of the enclosure where your snake can feel safe and secure. These hides can be as simple as a plastic container, or as naturalistic as a piece of driftwood. All shelter should be snug and dark for the hognose snake to relieve any stress.
A basking spot between 80-85F should be found at one end of the enclosure. Since hognose snakes can burrow, avoid heat pads because they can burn themselves. The rest of the enclosure can stay room temperature, but a thermal gradient is important to maintain. Hognose snakes do not need any UV lighting. Temperatures can be lowered to 65-70F at night.
Western hognose snakes like their environment dry, and you only need to provide a small, shallow water bowl. While shedding a humid hide can be provided if necessary.
Keep the water bowl full of fresh, clean water. Spot clean daily, and replace loose substrates every 2-3 months. Replace paper substrates when soiled.
Breeding this species of snake is relatively easy, and all you need is a fully grown male and female and a 40 gallon enclosure to house them. The male and the female can be housed together, and will mate within a week or two.
After mating the female will start to develop her first clutch of two eggs. If you keep the male and the female together year around, she will produce multiple clutches of eggs throughout the year. Provide a lay box in the enclosure filled with vermiculite or sphagnum moss for the eggs. The box should be moist, but not wet. Once eggs are laid, remove them and place them in an incubator at 75-80F until they hatch.
Hatchlings can live comfortably in a 10-gallon enclosure. Feed a hatchling hognose snake one pinkie mouse every 5 days, and increase the size of the prey as they grow. It is easiest to use paper towels or newspaper as a substrate because it is easy to clean and lets you monitor your hatchling snake with ease.
Hognose snakes are from Midwestern Untied States and Mexico. They are fun snakes to own and their care requirements are not difficult to accomplish. Remember, do your research before buying any pet so that it can live happily and healthily.
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