Over the past few years I have tried several different methods of keeping , breeding and incubating hognose snakes and their eggs, the sheet below covers my hognose year.
Hognose Care Sheet
Hatchlings are kept in smaller boxes 6x4inch with paper towels layered as substrate. I keep hatchling tubs very basic with a small hide and waterbowl,the main aim is to provide an environment in which the snake feels safe to feed.
As the hatchling grow I scale up the tub size and water bowl to suit, using 5ltr, 9ltr, and 18ltr, the substrate is replaced by aspen allowing the hogs to burrow.
I find 18ltr ideal for adult males and sub adult females.
Large adult females are moved to a 22×15 tubs to allow a good sized laying box during breeding season.
Snakes are spot cleaned daily and fully cleaned every two weeks
When not burmating my snake room has an ambient temperature of 75-80f with a natural drop of a few degrees at night, I then use thermostated heat mats to provide a hot spot of 90-92f below 1/3 of the tub, these temperatures seem to suit the hognose fast metabolism.
Good airflow is a must, this is achieved by melting or drilling holes into the lids, fronts and sides of the tubs. This allows air to flow through the tubs and reduces humidity.
(if you drill holes please make sure no sharp edges remain as this can damage the snake)
I do not provide artificial light for the snakes, a natural light cycle is gained from the large window in my snake room.
Hatchlings are fed pinkie mice every 3-4days
Adults are fed every 4-5 days
Prey size is never larger than the thickest part of the snakes body.
I now breed my own mice to ensure my snakes are getting the best possible food.
Fresh water is provided daily
1st October select snakes for following breeding season (females 250g+, males 65g+)
1st October-1st November feeding every 3-4days
1st November stop feeding to allow snakes to clear digestive system
15th November clean and disinfect snake tubs
16th November drop room temperature to 60f
23rd November drop temp to 55f
16th January lift room temp to 75-80f and hotspot to 90-92f
23rd January resume feeding
Above is a guide to my burmation method, I have found a quick drop in temp seems to work well as when I gradually dropped them the snakes seemed prone to respiratory infections.
When burmating I check the snakes every few days and provide fresh water and clean out when needed.
After a week at normal temps a small meal is offered, females usually feed straight away, males can be fussy but tend to come around after the first pairing with the female.
Again I feed every 3-4 days.
When the females go into their Buy first shed cycle post burmation I introduce them to the males, usually the female reacts instantly to the male by almost vibrating and throwing her tail around. I leave her with the male for 3 days then separate for 3 days to feed and rest and then repeat the process until he loses interest or the female shows signs of being gravid.(swelling in the lower 1/3 of her body).when she goes into shed(prelay) I add a nest box into her tub, this is filled with damp moss with a hole cut into the top. At this point I try not to disturb her, only going in to replace water and spot clean. After shedding she will usually lay between 5-10 days, clutch sizes do vary anywhere from 8-24 eggs. after laying I remove the eggs and begin feeding as normal.
Hognose can and often double clutch without the reintroduction of a male, so when the female goes into her next shed I repeat the nest box process.
After removing the eggs I place them into a tub with 1-2inch of vermiculite I slightly dampen the vermiculite and also place a small pot of water with holes in the lid into the incubation box, as this evaporates it raises the humidity level. The box is then placed in the incubator.
I currently use a large glass fronted drinks fridge with a thermostated heat cable to provide a steady temp of 81-82f.The eggs are checked every few days as this also allows air exchange in the incubater.the eggs normally hatch at around 55 days. The hatchlings often poke their heads out of the egg and can sometimes seem reluctant to leave,please be patient and do not try to remove them as they can still be attached to the yolk.
When fully emerged I place the hatchling in tubs and leave them to settle.
After a week I try to feed by placing a pinkie mouse in the tub.
Most hatchling feed straight away, but sometimes you do get a reluctant feeder.
Any that refuse food I leave for a few days and then try a fresh killed pinkie, this normally does the trick, but if not I will leave again and then try a brained pinkie. If this is refused I will leave again for a full week and then repeat, if the hatchling still refuses I will try scenting.
I always make sure that non feeders are drinking through out the process
The most effective scent I use is trout but others include
Boiled egg white
The above care sheet is just a guide, as there are many ways to keep and breed hognose snakes, these are just my personal preferences. I have also found that hogs can and will ignore the rules, for the first time this year I had a female lay while in prelay shed outside of the nest box! and another female lay fertile eggs even though she has not been paired up for over two years.
Please remember that as the animals owner you are responsible for providing the best care possible for your snake, if a health problem arises please seek advise from an experienced vet.