Handling Hognoses

Hello again!!

This is more of a tips and tricks question than a desperately need help question

I’m trying to handle my snake Norman, and every time I try to do it, he gets scared and runs off, or I get scared and take too much time to actually scoop him up and he gets scared. I’m wondering if anyone had any suggestions because I’m more scared about hurting him than him hurting me yknow ??

I just wanna be able to hold him sometimes though I am okay with him being a display only snake. He doesn’t tend to be tooo outgoing so I’m wondering if I need to start at not just scooping him up and maybe just getting him more used to me being around? I’ve had him for only 3 months so I’m not exactly sure what to do!


I’d back up a step. I’m no veteran keeper but I know a bit about animal behavior in general. This animal still finds you intimidating. How often do you just hang out around his open enclosure, without trying to touch him? I’d start with doing that a lot.

(also is this a top opening enclosure? Hawk attacks will spook any critter and that’s what you look like when you come down from above)


I try to open the doors about once a day even if it’s just to change his water out or make sure nothing goofy happened during the night and just kinda hang out near his enclosure since my desk is near his tank.

The enclosure is front opening so I don’t have the issue of coming from above normally. I try to just scoop him a lot of the time but the way he’s positioned a lot makes it hard for me to like scoop him up without being near his head or tail.


My suggestion? You’re gonna have to try to be confident and just go for it. Some hognoses aren’t the biggest fans of handling. I’ve got a girl who is now over a year old and still doesn’t like being picked up. With hognoses, always try to scoop them up from below by putting your hand close to the substrate. If you pick up some of the substrate with him, that’s just fine. It doesn’t really matter if you’re near his head or tail, they usually don’t bite unless they think you’re food. Otherwise they just huff and bluff strike, which is meant to scare you off. Hoggies are known for their drama and occasional stubborn tendencies, sometimes you just have to be more stubborn than they are, lol.


@ssssarah Sounds like your hoggie is a hoggie! Like @noodlehaus says, sometimes you just have to put on your confident persona and dive into the tank! In all my years of owning hoggies, I have never been bitten by one. Bluffed/hissed at but never bitten. Now imho, I think a snake can sense confidence or lack thereof emanating from its human. If you can imagine yourself as the confident loving human who is going to deftly remove your little noodle from its home and cradle it in your hands all the while letting the little noodle inch its way around your fingers and keeping it secure in the knowledge that it is not going to fall or be harmed in any way, then the both of you can enjoy a little quality time! :star_struck::+1::clap:


I thought it was recommended to not like scoop them up near their head or tail so I may be overthinking on that part. I think next time the opportunity presents itself that I’ll just try to be confidant and scoop him up lol

I know hogs tend to be dramatic but he doesn’t normally hiss or bluff or anything, he just tongue flicks and runs away or sits still and watches me.


Try picking him up behind his head so he cant strike at you. Their venom is mild but can cause allergic reactions in some people so be cautious. Im sure hes more scared than defensive. Hoggies are flighty!


My hognoses were pretty calm for the most part (referring to 2 that showed the same behaviors). At first they tried to escape when I went to pick them up, but after I picked them up they were completely calm. Now they think that anything that enters their enclosure is foot, and they try to go for my fingers. I have a couple of hooks which work great. After rubbing them with the hook they are out of feeding mode and they don’t see the hook as a threat, unlike my hands.
I also recently got a third hognose, who is pretty calm, but I haven’t tried handling her much. I’m still waiting for her to get used to me before handling her for a while, and so far it looks like it’s working well since she is fine with me working in her enclosure or picking her up to move/weigh her.

If you just scoop him up then he should start to get used to you, you just want to take it slow and not have him out for too long. A snake hook might help since he probably won’t be as scared of it as you, but it’s not necessary.



So I’ve been trying to pick him for a couple days now and since I posted I tried like once more and then today I finally was able to pick him up. I think next time I will try to go faster or more confidently than this time but I was finally able to scoop him and just sit down and have him in my hands.

I think he hissed once right before I managed to scoop him up (he was like scurrying away while I had scooped him) but after that he was just a tongue flicking machine and was super chill and easy to handle.

I appreciate everyone’s advice and I’ll try again in a few days with taking in some more of y’all’s advice.


Great to hear you managed to make progress! We are pretty terrifying giants to these little guys, so it takes them time to learn we’re not going to harm them. It should start getting easier to pick him up as time goes on. Each time you handle him, it’s a reassurance that though you might seem scary, nothing bad happens when he’s in your hands.


Hey Sarah! That’s a great picture of him! Just like @noodlehaus said, we are like very scary giants to these little noodles so we have to earn their trust. Some hoggies and very laid back but others are just naturally hissy no matter what. When Norman figures out that you are going to pick him up no matter what he does, he may still squirm and hiss a bit the then he will become a tongue flicker instead.

You are making great strides Sarah! Keep up the great work! You will get there! :heart::+1::sunglasses: