Beginner Hognose species and care?

Hi y’all! I’m somewhat new here. I have some experience with ball pythons. But I’m extremely intrigued by hognoses and would like to work on owning one. I was wondering if y’all could help me with the basic husbandry needs as well as if there’s a suggested beginner species. Thank you in advanced :grin:

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Best species to start with is going to be westerns, Heterodon nasicus. They have been in the hobby the longest so you have the benefit of many generations of “accidental” selective breeding for animals that readily take rodents. The other three N. American species are still very prone to being difficult feeders wanting primarily toads/frogs The Madagascar and S. American species are not beginner animals.

Setup is not terribly different from any other N. Am. colubrid. If you are keeping in a tub, then a 32q would be right for an adult. Media should be loose as they are diggers, so aspen chips or cocopeat or the like. Temp gradient should be mid 80’s to low 70’s. I am more inclined to go back heat rather than belly heat with colubrids. I strongly advocate seasonal cycling, even if you do not plan on breeding. For ours, we stop feeding after November and then ramp the temps on the thermostat down slowly through the month before turning it off completely in December. We turn it back on and ramp up in April and generally offer the first feed mid-April.

You can set them up in a cage/viv as well, though being diggers they tend to hide a LOT. If you go this approach then I very strongly advocate an overhead basking spot as that more closely mimics their natural behaviour.

We feed our every other week. Rodent-only diets are not something they evolved for so they are prone to obesity. If you can diversify their prey they seem to benefit. We feed ours quail chicks, chicken hearts, fish fillets, a variety of ReptiLinks, mice, hamsters…

Also, a word of caution. These animals are rear-fanged venomous. This is no debate about this fact despite many many years of “deflection” within the hobby. I do not say this to scare you away form them as they are a great little species. While the majority of people do not have strong reactions to the venom, it can be like a bee sting where you might be hypersensitive and not know it until you have a bad reaction to a bite. As such, they need to be respected for what they are. Do not let them bite because you think it is “cute” or “funny” or whatever.


Western hognose is gonna be what you want I keep mine at about 88 and on aspen so they can burrow I keep my males in 20L or equivalent tub and females in 40b or cb70 you can keep them smaller but my opinion is that they are pets 95% of the time so why not give them the best and most enriching life possible I do keep some small because they refuse to eat but that’s pretty uncommon if you can get them to eat frozen thawed as a hatchling I feed them every 3-5 days as hatchlings then 5-7 as juveniles/ small adults then every 7 as adults. male are usually ready to breed at 70g but females should be 250g. that’s really all that I can remember

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