Sick hognose

My baby hognose ie on a eating strike and recently has started not wanting to move not being as responsive when his cage is open or hes touched, he is rolling on his back or side and not moving I’m so scared cause there isn’t a vet near me that treats snakes and I dont know what to do

Could you show us what sort of setup you have? As well as temps/humidity/etc.?

Hognoses are actually known for a defensive behavior of playing dead, which is what that sounds like he is doing. I doubt he is sick, but is instead stressed and/or scared.

Again showing us the setup might help determine if some changes need to be made in order for him to feel more comfortable and for him to hopefully resume feeding.

Hognoses also sometimes go off of food during the colder months since in the wild they would normally go through a brumation period — which is basically snake hibernation.
I have not personally encountered this issue, though my one male does go off of food when he’s breeding with my female.
Typical male behavior :rofl: Not something you should have to worry about though, if your boy is still a baby.


His cage temp is 75 with humidity being just under 50 percent however he does have a humidity box he can go into whenever he wants the bedding I cant remember what it was called but was suggested by one of the people at my local pet shop and his tank size is a ten gallon

Does he have a hot spot?
75°F seems a bit on the cold side for a hot spot. I keep mine at around 90°F for their hot spot, and the ambient room temps are around 75°-80°F.

The enclosure looks a bit bare though, I would add some fake plants or even bunched up paper towel for him to crawl under so he can get from one side of the enclosure to the other without being seen.

I’m not sure on the bedding, you’ll have to see what other people may say.
I keep my hognoses on very fine aspen bedding, which holds its shape pretty well so they can make tunnels.

Also, I think I see him under the hide there, with his belly facing to the side. Does he open his mouth and stick his tongue out when you try to pick him up or touch him?

I know it’s a little cold but his usual heat lamp broke a few days ago I’m currently waiting for his new one in the mail and yes his mouth was open but he doesn’t have his tongue out

Okay, well he is for sure just playing dead and not something you have to be too worried about.

The likely two issues that have caused him to go off of food is that a) insufficient heat, they need that hot side to digest prey properly and b) possibly stressed due to feeling too exposed in his enclosure… once you get those things corrected, give him a week or so to settle down and then try offering food again.

Ok thank you so much for taking the time to help this has definitely calmed me down a little I’ll get a few things and a new heat bulb as soon as I can thank you again

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Thank you for everyone’s advice but hes gone I went to the store to grab a few things for him and when I got back he was stiff cold and unresponsive I should have went with my gut and took him to the vet but it was a four hour drive and I wouldn’t have made it

I’m sorry to hear that, you tried your best and some babies just aren’t meant to make it. This is something we can all learn from and I’m glad you posted this.

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I’m really sorry, I genuinely thought he was just being a typical hoggie with their dramatic death displays.

I’ve had to deal with a few animal deaths myself recently, it’s hard but as @erie-herps said not all is meant to be, and it’s something we can all learn from.

I wonder what may have been the issue though. How big was he, grams-wise? Was he eating for you previously?


As @trnreptiles said hognoses are famous for their dramatic “play-dead” displays. If he was a snake that you hatched out it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get a necropsy done if it had the potential to be a parasite or disease to make sure this doesn’t happen in the future to any of your other snakes. Be sure to clean/sanitize all equipment just in case it could’ve been something infectious.