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 Pendlehog's Western Hognose Care Sheet

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Fondateur du Forum - INDISPONIBLE

Nombre de messages : 30799
Masculin Age : 48
Localisation : Caen (14),Northmannland
Emploi : Eleveur amateur de geckonidés rares
Loisirs/Humeur : Distributeur officiel du coup de marteau dans la gueule
Date d'inscription : 24/10/2005

Pendlehog's Western Hognose Care Sheet Empty
MessageSujet: Pendlehog's Western Hognose Care Sheet   Pendlehog's Western Hognose Care Sheet Icon_minitimeJeu 02 Nov 2006, 21:52



The Western Hognose (Heterodon nasicus) is the most common hognose snake in the UK pet trade today. This is largely due to their good disposition and small size; adult males are around the 2ft mark with even the largest females rarely reaching 3 feet in length.

This colubrid species is highly adaptable and can be found across North America, inhabiting sandy plains which allow them to burrow for food with their upturned rostral scales. In addition to the western hognose, the USA is also home to the eastern hognose (Heterodon platyrhinos), southern hognose (Heterodon simus) and the Mexican hognose (Heterodon kennerlyi) which until recently was not recognised as a true subspecies.


The captive western hognose has a good disposition and tames easily with regular handling, whilst its small size and robust nature also makes it suitable for responsible children when accompanied by an adult. Westerns are very reluctant to bite, but when alarmed are able to put on a display of hissing, hooding up, head butting and even feigning death to alarm the attacker.


These small snakes require nothing larger than a 2 foot vivarium for their entire lives, though juveniles should be kept in smaller quarters for at least the first 12 months. Hatchlings and juveniles do well in small plastic tubs such as faunariums, which can be heated using a small heat mat.

As a temperate species the western hognose should be provided a warm end of 85-90 degrees F and a cool end of 75. This can be achieved using a heat mat, red bulb or ceramic heater on an appropriate thermostat. All my hatchlings are kept on heat mats, though red bulbs or ceramics are used in the adult’s tanks.

These snakes do not require any additional UV lighting, though a small 2% UV tube can be added for viewing if desired. These snakes are fossorial (burrow underground) so are not adapted to cope with high UV exposure.

Their fossorial nature also means that they appreciate a deep substrate which will hold a burrow - I use aspen or hemp bedding for all my hognoses but others have had success with a mix of orchid bark and sphagnum peat. Whatever substrate you choose take care that it does not become damp; western hogs do not appreciate high humidity and should not be sprayed or kept on moist substrate, though one humid hide should be available at all times.

Hides should also be placed in both the warm and cool ends of the viv and a generous water bowl provided, as hogs do occasionally enjoy a soak.


The western hognose’s natural diet consists of rodents, amphibians and small lizards, however captive specimens will readily accept defrost mice. It is often said that hognoses will only feed on frogs, this is not true of the western (it is however a common trait of eastern hogs) and most will happily eat almost anything you offer! Hatchlings should be offered pinkies at first which may be scented with tuna brine or roach fish if necessary.
An average sized adult will take medium mice, though large females may take larger mice and even the occasional chick after laying a clutch.
Fasting is not uncommon in westerns of both genders and is usually not something to be concerned about unless the fast continues for an excessive length of time, the snake appears to be dropping weight or there are other signs of illness. In fact fasting is quite healthy for hognoses as they are easily overfed and obesity is common in the species.

Westerns live for an average of 15 years in captivity, but practices such as power feeding will significantly shorten your snakes lifespan and should be avoided. With the proper captive care this is a robust, healthy species which is forgiving of initial errors and has much to offer its keeper. A species full of character you are sure to fall in love with!

Copied/Pasted with kind permission of H. Harper.


La Nature ne s'arrête pas aux vitres d'un terrarium.
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Pendlehog's Western Hognose Care Sheet
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