Western Hognose Snake Care Sheet, Bite, Morphs and Venom

Also known as Heterodon nasicus, the western hognose snake is a popular species of snake in North America. It’s a colubrid endemic, and it can be found in Texas, New Mexico as well as Texas, Arizona and other regions including Canada.

What you need to note about the western hognose snake is that it has a stout body and it’s rather small. The color differs most of the time, but usually, you will find that they are somewhat similar to the rattlesnakes.

Source: Pinterest.com

Another thing to keep in mind is that the females are larger than makes, as they can reach around 38-51 cm in the longer term. The western hognose snake gets its name from the nose scale that was upturned, and that’s what makes it similar to a hog.

A thing to note here is that this is not a venomous species. On the other hand, you have to see that their saliva can lead to irritation and sometimes even itches. They can bite you, but even then you won’t be in any major danger.

However, you most likely know this snake for the fact that it has some defensive structural ideas that focus on the snake forcing air through the rostral bone structure.

Like a Cobra, Source: yurtopic.com

The snake will also compress the body when it feels threatened. That’s when it seems pretty similar to a cobra. It’s a bluff, true, but one that works very well for this particular species.

In case the western hognose snake is alarmed, it will usually end up attacking the predator with the snout. Even if it’s keeled, the snout doesn’t deliver a ton of damage. Also, the western hognose snake doesn’t bite, so the attacker is rather safe here.

Play Dead, Source: reddit.com

There are situations when you will see that this particular type of snake will play dead, usually as a sign of defense. If that happens, the snake will be rolled onto his back, and it will also end up delivering a musk which has a very distinct, bad smell that you do not want to witness for sure.

If you enjoy the presence of reptiles as a whole, you will find that the western hognose snake is a delight to explore and have around. This shines, and it just shows how distinct and unique this type of snake is in the end.

Western Hognose Snake Morphs

Frosted Anaconda, Photo by: AMO Reptiles

This cute little snake might not seem perilous, but even a simple attack can leave you powerless. This is why you need to engage it with extra care, as it is a very powerful and distinct snake that will impress you with its attacks as a whole.

Albino True Hypo, Photo by Chris Wainman

This is one of the albino snake variants that you can rarely find out there in the wild. It looks amazing, and it clearly shows that there are some impressive color combinations here.

Hypo Super Anaconda, Photo by Andrew Fairweather

Although small, this amazing reptile will impress you with its distinct attacks and color. Reptile enthusiasts are amazed at how visually interesting and distinct this reptile is!

Western Hognose Snake Care Sheet


Source: Pinterest.com

Cage Substrates

What you want to know about this is that the substrate is the material you put at the bottom of the cage. You can use aspen shavings, sand, newspaper or even cypress mulch if you want, although something like CareFresh bedding can also come in handy.

The western hognose snake is known to dig a lot within its cage, which is why they have that snout, to begin with. If you have enough dirt and substrate inside the cage, your reptile will love it quite a lot. The idea here is to make sure that the western hognose snake is comfortable, so using the CareFresh bedding can be a great idea!

Hiding Areas

As you can imagine, the secret when it comes to keeping this type of snake is to offer him a lot of hiding areas. The more diverse and large the habitat is, the better.

These snakes stay a lot of time while hiding and they do want to avoid predators. The idea here is to make sure that you make the cage easy to clean and you can opt for drip trays if you want, since those are very easy to clean.


The western hognose snake is known for being an ectothermic snake. That means they need a lot of warmth for their bodies and they rely on heat sources to stay warm. It doesn’t sound like much, but it shows that your favorite little snake will need a heating solution. Supplemental heat is necessary here so that a heating source will be essential.

You can feel free to warm the cage from above or from below. You can also use a heating mat or even a heat tape product if necessary. Anywhere from 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit will be suitable for the western hognose snake. Even if the temperature drops inside the case a little bit during the night, it will still be ok.

Water Bowl

Having a water bowl for a snake seems strange, but the western hognose snake is known to drink very often. They need moisture, so having a water bowl is a very good idea in this regard.

You can use clean tap water if you want. Water conditioners are not necessary, but what you should do is to try and sterilize the water bowl at least once each 7 days. If you want to use tap water, that will work very well!


What we listed above are items mandatory for maintaining the health of western hognose snake. But while those are imperative, the reality is that the western hognose snake doesn’t need lighting to begin with.

And while those are optional, the reality is that you will be more than ok with adding around 10 hours of dedicated full-spectrum lighting on a daily basis.

Does this have an impact on its health? Yes, this can have a major impact, and it will influence the habitat as well. If you want to release this reptile into the wild, these are things that you need to keep in mind!


As you can imagine, the western hognose snakes are terrestrials. Even so, there are situations when these snakes are known to climb furniture or other similar items to begin with.

They also like the idea of climbing branches, which makes them some great pets. Adding a few climbing materials will be amazing in the end and the experimentation is yours to focus on!


Source: thehognosesnake.co.uk

The diet of any western hognose snake is created out of toads most of the time. Aside from that, they also focus on eating carrion, reptile eggs, turtles, mice, lizards and so on. They can eat insects at times, but that is not often.

The captive ones will eat up a lot of rodents, although you can find times when the hatchlings will not eat mice. In this case, you will need to rub the mice with a lizard to get that scent.

Source: Youtube.com

The idea if to do this for a few feeds. This will offer you an ability to accept rodents as a part of their menu. It can be a bit tricky, but you want to focus on if you want to reach the best outcome.

You will see that the western hognose snake ends up eating the hatchlings rather often. They will need to eat one around 6 days at first, but adults can eat one each 10 days or so.

A thing to keep in mind is that the mature snakes may need 2 mice at times. Moreover, you will need to keep in mind that you have to feed them some hoppers as this will make the diet more varied in the end!

A thing to keep in mind is that feeding your snake live food is not good at all. Frozen rodents should be purchased online or from a dedicated store.

This is the perfect food for your snake, so you should avoid purchasing anything else. Your snake needs to focus on his food if you handle him right after eating he will regurgitate his meal. Stay out of his way for around 48h.


mating, Source: Youtube.com

The breeding process here tends to be rather simple. You will have to make sure that your snake has the minimal requirements of 250g in weight, 16 inches in length and 2 years of age.


This process allows you to cool down your snake for winter. You should keep in mind that the period is around 8 weeks or so. The body temperature needs to drop, and then you need to raise it back up.

You have to do that gradually, though, as you don’t want your snake to enter a state of shock. Fresh water should be there, but do not feed your snake just to be safe.


The mating process can be encountered in June to August, that’s the optimal time for males and females to copulate. Leave them for a few weeks, but feed them otherwise they will eat one another. If all is good, the female will be pregnant.


After the female becomes gravid, she will need more food as she lays the eggs. You need to put a nest box as that will make the process easier for her. Creating a nest box is easy, you will need to use a plastic tub to get the right features.

You should remove the eggs as soon as they are laid. Of course, you have to feed here more and more often as this will boost the chances of her surviving the entire experience.


Since the female can lay up to 23 eggs, these eggs need to be incubated for up to 8 weeks. They need to be kept at a temperature of around 25-27 degrees Celsius. You can use vermiculite as a substrate since this helps you maintain the humidity levels.


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When the incubation process is a success, you will see the hatchlings come out of the eggs; they will use their egg tooth for that. They may remain in the York for a bit, but you should not intervene here.

The process occurs naturally, so try to keep that in mind. After they are hatched, you will need to house them separately. Separate boxes will be necessary, as you can watch them closely and provide them with individual care.

They will need extra care when they shed, and if for some reason the hatchling won’t eat the pinky, it needs some encouragement. The idea is to make sure that your hatchlings accept the pinkys as a food source before investing in them.

This will not take a lot of time, but you have to be prepared for it to the best of your capabilities. Just try to consider all the options because this will give you the value and help that you may need. It’s certainly a paramount investment, so try to do that right away.

Western Hognose Snake Venom

Photo by: Bill Love

Although the hognose snake doesn’t bite, the reality is that they do have a bit of a venom. Keep in mind that the venom is indeed harmless for humans.

Basically, the snake is rear-fanged, and thus it won’t be able to inject that much venom into the victim. They have fangs placed that way mainly because they are focused on eating frogs, so the venom isn’t a primary attack weapon. It’s more of a side attack in case predators appear, so try to keep that in mind.

Western Hognose Snake Bite

Source: Photobucket.com

As you can see from this image, the hognose snake does come with a very powerful bite. It doesn’t have any powerful venom, so it won’t kill you, but it will hurt. You have to stay away from this type of hassle, but if the snake bites you, then you have to go to the doctor as fast as you can.

Source: Photobucket.com

Sometimes, your hands will be inflated after a snake bite. You will also feel tingling, and the issue will be rather similar to this photo. Yes, there is no venom, but in the end, you will deal with a bit of pain.

In case you want to purchase a hognose snake, you have to think about its bites. They tend to be very challenging to handle at first, and they don’t let go most of the time. And while a lot of people are unsure whether these are venomous snakes or not, the reality is that they are not.

You should still try to stay away from this type of snakes just to be safe.

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