Do Western hognose snakes make good pets?
Western hognose snake, Heterodon nasicus are quite small snakes with huge personalities, this, along with their comical upturned noses makes them an entertaining, interesting and unique pet to have around. These snakes are quite vocal and can be a little stubborn, often hissing and puffing their necks out like a cobra when they feel threatened, but they can be tamed down if enough time is spent with them.
Western hognose snakes are rear-fanged venomous, which means that rather than injecting traditional venom through hypodermic front fangs like cobras or rattlesnakes, they have modified salivary glands in their cheeks, and can secrete toxic saliva over the rear fangs as they chew down on their prey. Due to this, they do need to chew the venom in, so a simple strike and bite will not envenomate you, and their venom is no more potent than that of a bee sting, but it should be kept in mind when handling this species as more severe reactions can occur when a person is allergic.
In extremely stressful situations, the Western hognose snake can play dead, essentially they will lay on their back with their mouth open and tongue out whilst producing a strong, foul smell to mimic the scent of rotting flesh. This is a highly advantageous defence mechanism in the wild, but in captivity can be quite worrying to new owners. Playing dead isn’t particularly common in captive environments, but if it happens, your hognose should be allowed to come around in their own time.
At Swell Reptiles, our Western hognose snakes are all captive bred in the UK, meaning you can be safe in the knowledge that your snake came from a reliable source with minimal environmental impact.
What size vivarium does a Western hognose snake need?
Western hognose snakes are diurnal and quite active, so although they are small snakes we still recommend an adult enclosure size of 90 x 60 x 60cm (3 x 2 x 2ft). This can be either a wooden or glass enclosure, although wooden vivariums tend to hold heat better so make a better option, something like a wooden vivarium makes a great option, but the Exo Terra Glass Terrarium 90x45x45cm could also work as an absolute minimum.nyone we feel is unprepared to adopt.