Greetings! I am a colubrid breeder (corn snakes, western/plains hognose, and tricolor hognose), and as we enter baby season I know (and hope!) many will be getting their introduction to the personality-plus hognose. Over the years, we’ve compiled a list of DOs and DO NOTs for the juvenile hoggie to help new owners and their new additions be as successful as possible. We include this as a print out with our shipments, but thought it would be good to share here as well.
Note while this is written with baby snakes we produced ourselves in mind, it is applicable to most (if not all) producedby fellow breeders, and a lot of this is applicable to adults and subadults as well.
If you have any questions, fire away! I’m decades from what I’d call an expert, but I’ve learned a lot over the years and am happy to share while continuing learning from others.
- DO NOT handle your hognose for AT LEAST a week, and NOT AT ALL until s/he has had a minimum of 2-3 problem-free feedings with you.
- DO NOT offer food the first 24 hours. Leave them completely alone—let them settle in.
- DO NOT move to feed : Many hogs are stressed by the environment change.
- DO NOT offer a pinkie on tongs and wave it in front of them . While some eventually will eagerly eat off tongs, some others are deeply offended by it.
- DO NOT place your baby in a large - to - them exposed enclosure , such as a 10 gallon tank. Baby hogs like things very confined and “hidden” to feel secure. We recommend nothing larger than a 5 gallon with at least 3 sides blacked out at first.
- DO NOT take the pinkie away after just a couple hours. If not on a hot spot, pinkies can be left as long as 24 hours without ill effect. Some snakes prefer to eat in the quiet of the night.
- DO NOT resort to scenting. Unless otherwise specified, your snake is on unscented f/t. If they are off food, it is extremely unlikely because of a change in scent preference.
- DO NOT offer food more frequently than every 4 days, even if they refuse. Hatchling hogs can go months—literally, months—not eating without ill effect.
- DO NOT offer food when in shed, at least during its first cycle with you. Wait until the shed cycle is complete.
- DO offer a frozen/thawed unscented 48-72 hours after arrival.
- DO offer the pinkie in their enclosure on something like a deli cup lid to limit substrate ingestion.
- DO place the pinkie near your hog, but not so close as to make them defensive. Leave overnight, up to 24 hours.
- DO place the enclosure in a quiet location in the house and provide multiple hides and at least 1-2” of bedding. (Believe it or not, at this age, a small tub in a rack is ideal.)
- DO offer food every 4 days or so. If they refuse, just wait until the next scheduled feeding day and offer again.