The hognose snakes belong to the Colubrid species of snakes that are most commonly found in the American subcontinent.
The most interesting fact about them is that they are closely related to other pet snakes such as corn snake and the prevalent gopher snakes.
Even though all the three come from diverse habitat!
Why do western hog snakes make great pets?
- They are well behaved and friendly
- They are relatively easy to handle
- They are small in size
- You can manage to keep them within a decent budget
- They possess a unique defence mechanism
How to recognize a hognose snake?
There are two kinds of commonly available hognose snakes.
- The eastern
- The western
Amongst these, the three different genera of snakes are the ones that are exclusively found in various geographical areas.
- One genera that are commonly found across the US
- One that is local to Madagascar
- The genera that are found exclusively in the South American continent
All the hognose snakes make lovely pets. They are often referred to by other names such as blow snakes and the hissing adders. It is because of their behavior when they are threatened by a predator or are feeling stressed in captivity.
There are two ways of determining if the snake in question is a hognose snake or not
- The nose from a certain angle looks precisely like a hog’s nose
- The nose is entirely flat and also curves up in a smooth line from the underbelly of its body up to the level of its eyes
Why would a snake have a nose that is shaped like that of a hog? For digging! Of course!!
The snakes are known to burrow
- When they are threatened by a predator that is when they dig into the loose soil in the ground and hide inside the undergrowth and camaflouge themselves to escape
- Find food. They dig for underground frogs and toads and their most delicious treat of lizard eggs.
The snakes are much stouter in appearance than most other snakes, and their bodies are also broad.
The skin is a light brown colored with a chocolate brown color spots all over their bodies. The nose, of course, is very prominent.
Do the snakes have morphs?
It is never possible to not have morphs, especially with so many enthusiastic breeders and keepers. The most famous and the most asked morph is the albino snake that has red beady eyes that resemble blood-red rubies.
The prices sometimes can shoot through the roofs. A standard hognose snake can be anywhere in the range of $50 and $150. The morphs can go to a fancy number that the dealer thinks fit.
The western hognose snake, as said already, is a great starter’s snake because of its gentle manners and calmer temperament.
Size and life span
A female hognose will grow to a maximum of 3 feet, and a male will grow up to 2 feet in length. Both the snakes will max out at 300 or 350 grams. In the wild, they are expected to live for about ten years because of predation and/or other environmental conditions. In captivity, we should catch about 20 years if proper care and good nutrition are provided.
To reiterate what we tell every reptile owner or a pet owner is that if the commitment of having one and maintaining it well becomes overwhelming, it is an excellent decision to turn them over to someone who will look after them decently. There is going to be involved no kind of judgementalism in such a gesture.
Are these snakes venomous?
They do produce venom, but it is not as effective to kill a human. It is enough to kill tiny animals like the frog and the toads, but sometimes it does not even kill them, incapacitates them. A special gland in their mouth called the Duvernoy gland creates this slightly venomous saliva.
Poisonous or not, if a snake nips at your skin, you must see a doctor. There is a lot of parasite in its mouth, which can create painful swelling or blisters.
House the hognose snakes separately if you have any more than one. They are profoundly cannibalistic and can hurt and devour the other, especially if there is a difference in their sizes.
There is an inbuilt urge to fight and compete among all-male snakes at the time of the mating season. It is better to house them separately than have to feel sorry at losing one or having it maimed.
A male can live comfortably in a 10-gallon vivarium. A female may need more room and so we think a 20 gallon should do well for her. Use aspen fiber for substrate because it allows these perennial diggers to burrow and does not even lose its shape. It is also a cheaper alternative to all the other substrates.
A heating system is a must. You must also provide some hiding places in the vivarium for the snake’s privacy.
Snakes are carnivorous
Small toads, frogs, and mice will be a delight to them. You can get a lot of reptiles and amphibian food online. Frozen and thawed rodents are a source of great nourishment. These snakes do not constrict while swallowing. They can even eat live prey if you have the gut to provide it in their cages!
Water and humidity requirements
Humidity must be kept at a low of 30 and 50 percent and a big sturdy bowl filled with water for them to soak and enjoy. Maintain the right temperature for them. If their cage is kept in a place that does not get direct sunlight, consider giving them an artificial source of light to thermoregulate.
With time and patience, you will realize that these calm and collected pets are one of the best decisions of your life!