The plains, formerly but still sometimes called western hognose snake is a relatively small, stout-bodied snake. They are known for their often ‘dramatic’ personality and their tendency to play dead as a defense mechanism. Hognose snakes can be fantastic pets for keepers of all experience levels and come in many different morphs, so there is sure to be something for everyone!
The Plains Hog-nosed Snake is primarily found in North American grasslands with loose, well-drained, sandy soils. They can also occur near aquatic habitats such as rivers and reservoirs across their range. They mainly live in the central area of the USA and can also be found in Southern-Canada and Northern-Mexico.
The minimum enclosure size recommended for housing a single western hognose is 18”L x 18”W x 24”H. However, when it comes to choosing a terrarium for pet reptiles, keep in mind that larger is always better! Multiple hognose snakes should not be housed together in the same enclosure.
Providing a thick layer of naturalistic substrate (“bedding”) will provide a burrowing medium, maintain correct humidity levels, and also help make your enclosure more attractive! This can be achieved by using a sand-soil mix. Alternatively, aspen shavings are widely used and recommended for hognose snakes.
TEMPERATURE & HUMIDITY
Basking surface temperature: 90-95°F
Cool zone temperature: 70-75°F
Plains hognose snakes need a moderate to low humidity environment, with most of the moisture being underground rather than in the air. To be specific, they need an average of 30-50% humidity.
SIZE & LIFESPAN
Females will typically reach lengths of around 36 inches in length at most. On the other hand, males are a bit shorter and will usually stay between 14 and 24 inches. With proper care, the average lifespan of a Western Hognose is around 18 years. In rare cases, some snakes have even surpassed the 20-year mark!
In the wild, Plains Hognose Snakes primarily eat toads. In captivitity, they typically eat mice without issue. Some can be pickier than others, and sometimes scenting or frog-products are needed to get the hognose eating regularly.
Plains hognose snakes are not social, and should not be kept with other hognose snakes, except for breeding.
Plains hognoses can be visually sexed by looking at the vent (cloaca) and body behind it (the tail). Females have short, stubby tails while the males have longer, more slender tails by comparison. Adults are easier to sex than hatchlings. Alternatively, to be sure, they can be probed by a professional.