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Considering a hognose as 'first' pet

Discussion in 'Snakes' started by ruruo, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. ruruo

    ruruo PetForums Newbie

    Aug 8, 2018
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    Hi! Just a bit of background:I will be very honest and admit that I haven't kept any major pets apart from shrimps and tropical fish. Recently, I've been seriously considering looking after a pet that will need a bit more commitment, one I can interact with and that will live a longer life span. I don't think my apartment would be big enough for a cat or dog, nor do I think I can handle the 24/7 attention/presence of either, so I have been looking at snakes and lizards because they seem pretty chill.

    At the moment I'm just trying to get as much information as I can to make sure that this is a good idea before finally deciding on committing. Ideally I want to make sure I have the means to look after one for the duration of its life :')

    The one that I would be most interested in would be a Western hognose. Their personalities seem pretty good, they've been recommended a lot as beginner snake, a good size - I have enough space in the apartment to set a up comfortable tank for one.
    Just a few questions:
    • What is the average costs of keeping a snake?
    • Can pinkies be found easily?
    • Should I take them to see a vet after getting one?
    • Assuming that I have already set up a tank/vivarium, do I need to acclimate them to their new home? If so how do I do that?
    • What's your cleaning routine for your snake's tank?
    • Anything else I should be aware of ?
    Thank you for your time!
  2. Acidic Angel

    Acidic Angel Your ego does not surpass your pets wellbeing

    May 8, 2012
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    1. Average cost will depend on where you live and how you choose to look after the snake. Ceramic Heat Emitters tend to use more electricity than heat mats in my experience. I couldn't give a rough estimate for how much extra you'd be paying in electricity unfortunately, as we have a fair amount more than one snake so our extra would be much different to yours. The biggest cost for a snake is setting them up.
    2. Again, depends where you are. Most local pet shops carry all the mouse sizes you would need for a western hognose.
    3. Snakes do not need annual vet checks like other pets, generally the only time to take a snake to the vets is if the snake has a health issue(respiratory infection, scale rot, etc.).
    4. New snakes should always be given at least a week with no handling or feeding to acclimate, after this week you would feed, wait two days and, providing they kept the feed down, then you can start to handle them. Always wait two days after feeding before handling, so the snake has chance to fully digest and, hopefully, poop before you handle. You don't need to wait for them to poop before handling, it's just more convenient than being pooped on :p Though that will happen, trust me. Same as you likely will get bitten at some point.
    5. Mine is general take the decoration and snake out, take the old bedding out, F10 disinfectant to clean the enclosure and waterbowl. Once dry- Fresh bedding, set up the enclosure again, fill the waterbowl and then re-introduce said snake.
    6. Western Hognose's are rear-fanged and mildly venomous. No so much that you need any licenses for them, but if you have an allergic reaction to their bite you may need medical attention. Otherwise it's a bit like a bee sting, some swelling, redness and itchiness but will sort itself out if kept clean.

    To address the other bit(about hognose personalities being good), that really depends on the snake but hognoses are very well known for huffing and puffing a lot, and mock-striking(headbutting you with their mouth closed basically, but it looks like a real strike with how fast they do it). They're known as drama queens for good reason.
    I have noticed my females are worse than my males, but all of them have their moments(I'll link to a video of Nyx, one of my girls, making a big deal out of me opening her enclosure, sorry it's vertical) and all of them can have some attitude. Out of all my hogs, I've only been bitten by Nyx, as she is definitely the most dramatic of them and will put on a real show when upset.
    Other than this, they are great little snakes- Easy to care for :)
    dingal2000 and Teddy-dog like this.
  3. Teddy-dog

    Teddy-dog PetForums VIP

    Nov 2, 2017
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    I own a hognose, he's a lovely. huffy snake. I don't think they are completely the 'ideal' beginner snake, but so long as you do lots of research you should be fine.

    In terms of costs, they are pretty low maintenance, so won't cost too much. How you heat can add to the cost, so a heat lamp is more expensive than a mat but not hugely so. Initially the cost can be more expensive.

    Pinkies and all frozen mice/rats can easily been found in reptile shops and you can also buy from Pets at home too.

    Personally, I wouldn't take to a vet after I'd got one. My hognose has never been to the vet and my kingsnake has only been twice. A vet visit can be stressful for a snake and you can do basic healthchecks at home. Vets can only look so much at a 'healthy' snake so I'd only take one if it was showing signs of illness.

    Best thing to do when introducing a snake to it's new viv is to just leave it alone to settle. They need plenty of cover and hidey holes and a good depth of substrate (I use lignocel -it's great!).

    My cleaning routine is basic for the hoggie. I always make sure he has water and give his bowl a good rinse every time I change it. I spot clean his viv a few days after he's eaten. His poop is quite dry compared to the kingsnake (and small!) so it doesn't take much. And i probably do a full on clean every 3 months or so. I normally leave a bit of the clean old stuff in even then so it still smells the same to them.

    Anything else to consider? Hmmm, I know snakes seem like easy pets, and in so many ways they are, but really consider getting one. They live for 15-20 years so they can be a long term commitment. Hognoses can be fussy eaters, one of the reasons why I don't think they are the ideal beginner snake, so you need to be aware that sometimes they may go off their food. Usually that is nothing to worry about, mines been off food for 6 months before, but you have to monitor weight to make sure they're not losing any.

    initial set up *can* be costly, I started off with a plastic RUB with air holes in for my hog when he was smaller. But he still needed a heat mat and a thermostat attached to it. And they need a thermometer too. A viv is obviously more expensive and I upgraded to this after a year or so. Another thing to be aware of is the fact the hognoses are rear-fanged venomous. Though this is considered mild so they are not really considered dangerous (like a bee sting), but some people have had big reactions where their arms swell up. As they are rear-fanged they can only envenomate when they really chew on you, so it's normally a missed feeding response. They are more bluff then anything and in 5 years mine has never bitten.

    They do have massive personalities for a small snake and I love my little monster. He spends a lot of time burrowing but he roams around, climbs, and hisses at me too. Though he is perfectly handable when he's out and about :) I would definitely recommend them, just make sure you do lots of research first :)
    Acidic Angel likes this.
  4. dingal2000

    dingal2000 PetForums VIP

    Oct 18, 2009
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    I have three hognose snakes and they all have very different personalities I can’t say much more than has already been said.

    Most hognose snake are all hiss and no bit, they false strike a lot until you pick them up and they are like “well ok this is cool”

    They are great borrowers so be prepared for him/her to try and bury in to your jumper , blanket , skin, carpet lol and because they are rear fanged, they would have to chomp on you pretty hard to get a successful bite
  5. HoneyBeee

    HoneyBeee PetForums Newbie

    Aug 18, 2018
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    Hi there! There's not much I can say that hasn't already been said. However,

    I have kept both tropical fish and snakes, and let me assure you that in my honest opinion, "beginner" snakes like Western Hognoses, Garters Corns and Kings, and even Ball Pythons, are far easier to keep than fish!

    The most expensive will be the initial cost - buying the vivarium and accompanying accessories, as well as the snake itself. After that, they are relatively easy to care for. Food is not expensive, and frozen mice for the hognoses can be bought in bulk.

    It is difficult to find pinkie mice if you are feeding live. However, you should be feeding your snake frozen/thawed(f/t) mice instead anyway if possible, because it is safer for the snake as the mice can bite back. You should have no difficulty finding f/t pinkie mice, you can even order them online as far as I am aware..

    Other than that, just research your pet! For instance, if when your snake is older and you want a bioactive vivarium, then a heat pad won't work and you'll need a CHE(ceramic heat emitter). Research the substrate you use, because some substrates are dangerous while others are not.
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