Picky Hognose

I have a female Hognose (born in September of 2023) that has been very difficult in the past 3 months. When we got her she was shy but would eat a pinky consistently……in terms of husbandry and conditions nothing has changed since we got her in early January……She has been off and on eating (mostly refusing but seeming interested). She will not eat now unless scented and even with that I have to vary the scents as her “taste” varies from feeding to feeding and even with scenting it’s an act of congress to get her to take it.

We have discovered that she does not like to (or seems to) drink from the water dishes we have provided her as when we were cleaning out her bowl with the sprayer she behaved as if she had been deprived of water and readily drank from the sprayer and now takes it when offered to her that way……

Does anyone else have one that is this particular or is there something I’m not doing correct??

None of our other hognoses are behaving as she is and are thriving/readily eating. One male relatively close in age to her has surpassed her in size.

(I have them in a FocusCubed reptile rack system with heat strips on the back panel)


Hognoses have been found to spend a lot of time near streams in the wild. While she may just be weird, I am thinking that she doesn’t recognize the standing water as… water. Try getting a really small aquarium pump that can fit into her water bowl and see if that helps.
What are you scenting with and how are you feeding? Depending on that we can probably give some recommendations

I will give the running water a go!

I am feeding her the same way the breeder was via tongs and letting her approach on her terms. He was feeding unscented pinkies. I have tried toad scent, salmon juice, tuna juice, vienna sausage juice. This past time she liked the salmon….the time before that it was Vienna sausage. I get the pinky really juiced up and drip some of it onto her rostral scale for her to drink it and eventually will take it……sometimes we skip a feeding because she refuses.

I recently boiled a quail egg and cut it into slivers and she took a piece.

have you tried drop feeding (just leaving the mouse in the enclosure)? I would try just putting a scented one on a small plate and leaving it there for a few hours. Preferably do this when she is moving around as it will increase the chance of her eating

I have tried that multiple times and even leaving it overnight on some occasions.

One breeder suggested putting a small live toad in her tub to “stimulate her” which we did, and worked so we removed the toad when she started to chase it and she ate the pinky……when she refused the pinky the next time we tried that method again and she was uninterested.

Is the snake hooding up and striking when you try to feed or just running away?

Soak the snake in a small tub or deli cup a few times a week and that should help it associate water and drinking from it.

I will try the soaking method!

She hisses but not really flaring. If I bounce the pinky around like wounded prey or touch her with it she does seem to get a little more defensive and does a false strike/bouncing action.

Getting hognose feeding consistently when they change homes is usually a process.

The next thing I would try is bouncing the pinky the snakes rostral scale (the hognosey part) for a few whole minutes to see if you can annoy it into eating. Can you post a picture with a reference item so I can get an idea what size the snake is?

If all that fails, you can try to secet the food with sardine juice. When all else failed for my western hognose snake, that’s what got her to eat consistently.

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@courtneyrene Hi Courtney. When I first got my boy I had a bit of a feeding problem with him as well. I started putting an unscented rodent (which is what he was eating at the breeder’s) into a small Tupperware/plastic container and then I put him in with the rodent. I put the container inside his tub and put a towel over the tub. I still do it and he eats every time unless he is in shed. His attention span is not enough if I try to feed him in his tub with tongs and he will not eat the rodent if I leave it in with him overnight.

My vet once told me that whatever a snake is eating at the breeder’s, it will eat for the owner. So stick with a plain ole unscented rodent. Scenting shouldn’t be necessary.

If your hoggie is going in the small container with the rodent, she will have to concentrate on that rodent and more than likely she will eat it.

You can always put the container in a closet as well.

Thank you for the tip! I will get some sardine juice to have on hand

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Thanks Caron. I will try a small Tupperware and put her in it and give it a go!

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I betcha it will work and when it does let me know! :ok_hand:

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And make sure it’s a sandwich type container that doesn’t have a lot of height and also put a couple of air holes in it……

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