Feeding- advice please I am new!

Hello all, this is my first hognose and I ended up in a stressful situation.
I have a 2 yr old male western, who has not had a meal since late August. I got him early October from a breeder who said “it’s normal for these hunger strikes he will eat soon”. Fast forward to now, no eating and he has lost 8 grams since August. He physically looks small but his spine isn’t protruding. His warm side sits around 85, cool side 72. He is in a 10 gallon tank with aspen to burrow, a small water dish, warm hide, cool hide and tons of ground cover. Sides are blacked out.
Things I have tried:
-scenting with tuna/sardines/egg
-leaving the mouse in a tube in the enclosure
-feeding in a secure container outside enclosure covered up
-tong feed/drop feed

When I offer the food he tongue flicks, will sit by it, but doesn’t seem like he has any food response to eat (never opens mouth at all).
I have posted in a group that said to just wait it out, that

Add images here

he isn't eating because it's winter (I am in Canada) but it seems like a very long time and he has lost weight. He has had one shed with me which went fine. Any tips, tricks are appreciated. I am calling a vet tomorrow to get an appointment but if I can manage to get him to eat that would make me so relieved! Thanks for all your help!

Hello and welcome to the forum! So the last time he ate was late August of last year and you got him in October of last year?

If that’s correct then he has not eaten for you at all since you got him? Did you ask the breeder what and how he was eating before you got him?


Have you tried putting him in a container on top of the washing machine with a towel over it? I know it is weird but I know it is a trick people use for younger snakes.

How often are you trying to feed?

Have you tried dunking the mouse in boiling water for a couple seconds?

I would wait a couple more weeks before a vet visit. I would also try assist feeding, as in gently getting the head of the mouse into his mouth, before going if you are comfortable with trying that.

How big is he? I don’t usually suggest this but I would move him into a smaller bin such as a 12qt bin as that may help to make him more comfortable as that is how he was most likely kept at the breeders. Speaking of which, shame on the breeder. A snake on a hunger strike should never be shipped to the buyer until they are back to eating, especially for someone who isn’t experienced with them. Him losing weight is concerning but a picture could help see if it is severe enough that a vet visit is going to be required right now. Remember, a vet visit is going to be very stressful and you want to minimize that as much as possible. Do not handle him until he is eating regularly (obviously he can be moved for health checks and cleaning) and I would move his enclosure to a calm part of your home if he isn’t already. If you can, I would also cover up the front as well. A bin does seem like it may be your best bet here however.


Hey thanks for replying, yes he last ate in Aug and we got him in October. He has not had a meal. I reached out to the breeders and they shortly said “it’s normal for the males to not eat in the winter, he ate tor us fine”. I was asking specifics but didn’t get any.


I have not heard about either method of the boiling water or washing machine! Thank you so much!

I have not handled him since he came home with us as I know the ‘don’t handle until their eating’ rule (which is so hard because it’s been months!) I will take a photo tonight and add it to the post. I try feeding once a week-10 days, if I see him out and more active I usually try a feed if he is burrowed and gone I let him be longer.

I really love the little guy, his name is Mocha. I just want him to be happy and healthy! Would you suggest moving him to a smaller tank, then trying those 2 feeding tricks? Move him, wait a week, then give them a try? If the photo I post raises any concerns please let me know!

Thanks so much!


That is what I would do as it has been so long. at this point, that seems like the safest move. Another thing you could try is using the frog reptilinks.

How much does he weigh? I am thinking that the 5g frog reptilinks would work well as you said that you tried fuzzies.


Well I have to say that’s some breeder! And I am being facetious btw!

Chances are his breeder had him in a very small tub. Move him to a 6 qt sterilite tub with ventilation holes, under tank heat mat under 1/3 of tub, hides on warm (85-90 degrees) and cool end, water bowl and a few inches of aspen to burrow. Do not worry about any type of lighting right now because there will be a lid on the tub. The humidity will be fine as well.

Your hog needs to feel safe enough to eat and he probably doesn’t feel safe and secure. Put his tub in a quiet room of the house and leave him be for a few days. The breeder probably drop fed so after a few days unthaw a fuzzy in hot water, gently squeeze out the excess water and place the warm fuzzy in the tub, maybe inside a toilet paper roll or in one of the hides, etc. I am posting a picture of the tub my hoggie is in and he is about a year and a half. I have fake greenery and cork bark in there but you should also add toilet paper rolls and plenty of fake greenery so that your hoggie’s tub is basically “stuffed” so he will feel cozy and secure enough to eat. You can use cork bark instead of hides as well or both.

No need to buy reptilinks (expensive and they didn’t work for me) or use any other scent methods because I don’t think that’s the problem, I think it’s the security issue. If he was eating unscented rodents before, then he will eat them again. If he doesn’t feel safe enough to eat then he will not eat ANYTHING you offer him.

If he doesn’t eat after you have waited a few days then wait 4 or 5 more days and try again. Just keep trying because remember you have hunger on your side. And do not handle him except to spot clean and water him. You can also cover the tub when you put the fuzzy in……

Just keep trying but at the same time monitor his weight. I think a vet visit at this point may just stress him out more. I really think he will eat for you eventually.

Keep us posted.


For a 2 year old snake that would be way too small. A 12-24qt bin would be a better size


6qt is fine for a bit to try and get him eating. A 2-3 year old male is only going to be 10-14” long.


The 6 qt tub is only meant to get the little guy to eat as @ballornothing Don agrees with me.

Again I have a 1 and a half year old that I just recently upgraded to a 12 qt tub and my guy still fit perfectly length and size wise to the 6 qt tub.

Do you have any experience with Hognoses? Or do you own one? I am respectfully asking of course. The little guy really needs to eat….


I’m so sorry that you’re in this stressful situation, @jenc1987. The good news is that you’re here now, and you’ve gotten good advice and will get lots of support and encouragement from the wonderful MM community.

It’s always worrisome when snakes won’t eat. It is a bit less worrisome in that this is an adult. Clearly he has eaten in the past, as opposed to a baby who is being a challenge to get to feed initially. Weight loss is concerning. That said, though I don’t have hognoses, hopefully the good people who do can help you get your guy feeding soon. You’ve gotten good tips. I’m gonna holler for @noodlehaus and @solarserpents, too.

One more thing: it really burns my bacon when breeders just blow off people who have questions or concerns and are trying to do right by an animal. I’m very sorry that this happened to you.


I am so happy to have found this little hoggie community! To this point I have been seeking advice on FB groups and the people there are a little harsh or make you feel guilty, not what someone really trying to do the right thing needs. I appreciate all the guidance and opinions and I feel better now that I have a plan set. Smaller bin, move somewhere even more quiet, try try try again!


Last time I weighed him he was 51 grams. I am in Canada so reptilinks are super expensive (and any scenting sprays) so I am hoping to get him back to the mice fingers crossed


I am 100% going to change his tub this week. The security thing makes sense to me, it must have been a shock going from a small tub to a bigger glass enclosure. I wish I could have got better info from the breeder about his previous environment but this has been an excellent learning experience for me. Thank you for the photo as well. I will make sure to keep you (and everyone) updated! I am also going to figure out how to add some photos.



My little angry boy Mocha


Yes hoggies can be tricky even when everything is perfect. I had one that didn’t eat for a year (supplemented tube feeding was required).

If he doesn’t eat by the end of a month of trying then supplemental feeding may be necessary by a reptile vet.

The fact that this little guy has been with this breeder for the first 2 years of his life means he has been probably in the same size small bin, fed the same way, fed the same time of the day etc and means he is set in his ways so he will have to unlearn and relearn with you.


Oh yeah you definitely have time to work with him weight wise so stand your ground. Mocha looks good!

Stick with the fuzzies as well. Actually the less hair on the rodent for your hog the better because they eat a lot of frogs, toads, in the wild, both Westerns and Easterns.

One more thing. If after a few weeks he is still refusing, then put a warm fuzzy in a square plastic sandwich container and put Mocha in the container with the fuzzy and put the container inside his tub (probably have to remove some “stuff”, and put the tub lid on and give him some quiet time with his fuzzy…… I still have to do this for Martini to get him to eat! :joy:


Here is my Martini @jenc1987


Ok I take back what I said about the 6qt. I always forget how small male hogs are :rofl: