Yearling hognose questions

What’s up, morph marketers!

I have a question for you keepers more experienced than myself. I have an 8 month old toffeeconda western hognose. I just weighed her today and she came in at 61g. She is currently eatting 1 small f/t mouse every 7 days.

Lately, for like the last month or so, she has been very aggressive. It all started when I mishandled her at feeding time and she bit me. It was totally my fault being new and inexperienced. Since then she has been a monster. I cannot touch her without her striking at me. When I go to feed her she doesn’t even go for the mouse anymore. She is looking to bite me.

I believe all other aspects of her husbandry are in order. Currently as I type this her hot side hide is at 89°F and her cool side is at 72°F. I am using a UTH with a thermostat to regulate her temps. She has roughly 3 inches of aspen to burrow into. She has a water bowl large enough for her to soak in if she wanted to. She has a lot of leaf cover to hide in. 2 hides and a stick to climb on if she ever felt the urge. She is currently housed in a 40 gallon front opening exo terra.

I just want to know if I am doing something wrong. She used to be cool with being handled. She would hang out on my desk with me while I worked. Ever since she bit me she has the taste for blood.

Either way she is my beautiful little danger noodle and I love her. Just looking to yous guys to see if I should be doing anything different.

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@stewart_reptiles breeds hognoses. She will be able to answer your questions and provide insight

Thanks @lumpy for the assist.

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You mentioned that something went wrong when you were handling her recently. An incident like that can sometimes cause snakes to lose trust. Chances are that you can regain it with regular, gentle handling sessions. I’d recommend two 10-minute handling sessions a week, neither of which should be too close to feeding day. The important thing is not to end the handling section if you get bitten. That reinforces the wrong behavior. Just remain calm and finish the handling session as if nothing had happened. Before long, your snake will become used to being handled again. It’s also important to keep the handling sessions short, to give you the best chance of having a “successful” handling session.

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That’s super helpful. She just ate today so I will start that up on Wednesday evening. Thank you for the advice @westridge.

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No problem.

The “aggression” is part of their defensive behaviour, and it’s working on you. She goes to strike (it’s usually a bluff strike or headbutt), you retreat and she gets what she wants. If you want to refrain from being bitten by her, or have the knee jerk reaction where you pull back when she strikes, wear a pair of gloves when handling her. A few weeks of handling should calm her down. They’re hogs though, they like throwing their temper tantrums every now and then

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I dont think they are bluff strikes. She comes at me with her mouth open. You are right though, I have been more jumpy since she bit me. I need to work on that.

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My adult female will regularly charge at me with her mouth open, and it’s purely because she has a super ravenous feeding response.

My others will bluff strike, flatten their heads, and sometimes even fling musk at me. But I have never been bit besides a feeding response!

Like this goof…

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I believe that’s all it was is the feeding response. She’s a hungry girl. Im thinking about switching to a meal every 5 days instead of once a week.

I’ve had a couple hogs that like to open mouth strike, latch on. Frequent (2x week) handling without flinching or reacting to their antics tends to calm them down.

She could also be going through a growth spurt. Does her prey item need to be sized up one? I wouldn’t feed more than every 7 days at her weight.

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@westridge I tried today. 2 days after her last meal. She bit me immediately. Didn’t really even strike as much as she just opened her mouth and put my knuckle in it. She was latched on for a few mins chewing on me. I tried to take your advice and not end the handling session and she bit me again. My question to you is how many times should I allow myself to be bitten before calling it quits. I gave up after the second bite. Also, what is the best method to get them to let go? This is only my third bite ever, all from this one angry danger noodle. I watched a Snake Discovery video on youtube saying misting with water, using a credit card to pry their mouth up and off, there was a third thing but I don’t remember off the top of my head. What is your advice on the subject? Thanks!

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Sounds like a feeding response bite to me… It’s exactly what other snakes have done to me. And every time it’s happened they get their head run under a quick bit of tap water from the sink faucet. Usually the sudden splash of cold water is a shock enough to have them give up on a food bite.

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I’ve heard that you can gently lift their mouth open slightly but putting your thumb underneath the nose scale, but idk how well that works.

My adult female would eat every day if I let her, her feeding response is something else. Your baby could be the same way!

Cold water works, I’ve also just pried her off of me by pressing my thumb against her rostral scale (the big scale in front of their nose that gives them the hoggie face)

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To anyone following my journey reconnecting with my hognose, I have an update.

@westridge suggested handling her and not putting her away if she bit me. I tried that. Immediately got bit. Got her free and was immediately bit a second time. At that point I ended the handling session. Chalked it up as a loss.

@elementalherps suggested wearing gloves. That in tandem with some info from a YouTube video has ended up yielding excellent results so far. For the last two days I have opened her tank to her rushing me. I used my hook to get her to relax a bit. Brushing it over her body. Some people have suggested doing that always to distinguish between handling time and food time. I plan to continue doing it. I used the hook to get her out of the tank and into my gloved hands. She hasn’t tried to bite me once with the gloves on. No bluff strikes either. So far we are 100% successful.

I am going to start at 5 mins a day with a day of rest before, on, and after feeding days. We will work up from there. The gloves will be on for a while. Her bites don’t hurt and I don’t have a reaction to her “venom”, but it’s still a bad time.

Hopefully I can get her to trust me again. It was really great to have her zooming around my hands for a few minutes again. Made my day honestly. Thank you for your suggestions and input. If you have any suggestions to my planned method or anything at all really please let me know.

I appreciate you all.

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I believe it’s some cage defensive behavior. Are snakes territorial creatures? When she has bit me it has been seconds after I take her out. We are barely out of her habitat when she bites. Is this a possibility or am I off base?

She bites your hands, but not your gloves? Perhaps there is a scent on your skin that the gloves are masking? Be sure to have clean hands - free of any other animal’s scent, both pets and prey. Maybe try a different soap as well? Seems odd that she doesn’t strike at the gloves…

It is odd. I’ve got fiesty babies that see anything move and will go after it. Gloves, tongs, hook, really doesn’t matter. But then those are corns and not hogs.

But I do have a defensive Tri colored boy and he will bluff strike at everything also. Except food. He will bodily lunge like a madman for food. It’s two completely different types of strikes that I can tell the difference between… Now if you could get a short video of her striking that would be something.

I will start recording our handling sessions in hopes of catching her response.

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