The plains hognose snake (formerly known as the western hognose snake) is a great intermediate snake to own and they would be great starter snakes if not for one reason, they are rear fanged venomous snakes. Although hognoses are venomous their venom is not fatal to humans, the only time it can be dangerous is if you are allergic to the snakes venom. If a hognose does bite you it wont inject any venom unless it is able to 'chew' the venom into the bite area, if they are able to get venom injected then the effects are not damaging, they mainly consist of swelling of the effected area and minor pain for a few days, nothing worse then a bee sting! These snakes get to a very reasonable size, males getting to around 14-24 inches whereas a female can reach around 3ft, due to their small size these snakes do not take up much space at all. Even though these snakes have beautiful wild type colouration they do come in many wonderful morphs ( morph refers to the different colours and patterns of a reptile) depending on the morph you are looking for these reptiles can cost anywhere between £30-£200.
For a hognose snake a wooden vivarium is a good enclosure to use but depending on the sex of your snake you could need different sized enclosures when they reach adulthood, for a male adult hognose you want to have a 30″x13″x13″ enclosure and for an adult female you would be aiming for a 36″x18″16″ enclosure.
When providing heat for your hognose you can choose between using a basking lamp with a dimming thermostat or heat mat with a thermostat. Once you have decided what to use to provide heat you will need to decide where to place the heat source, ideally you want to provide your snake with a warm side and a cool side of the enclosure. The warm side of the enclosure should be kept around 32-34c and the cool side should be kept at around 25-26c. Providing lighting for your hognose is easy, these snakes do not need any uvb so you dont need to provide a uv bulb, you do need to place their enclosure in a place that has a lot of natural light, this is to provide your snake with a natural day/night cycle.
Hognose snakes live in a relatively dry area so their humidity requirements are low, staying between 30-50%. It is also a good idea to provide your snake with a humidity/shed box, this is to help aid with their shed and keep the humidity up, if you are struggling to get the humidity to the right levels then misting the enclosure can help to raise it up.
Hognose snakes love to burrow in their substrate so it is important to provide them with a substrate that allows burrowing behaviour. There are a few options when it comes to substrate some people like to use newspaper and paper towels to make cleaning easier but the best option for these snakes is aspen bedding, it is a easy to clean substrate that holds the shape of your snake when it burrows.
Hognose snakes are usually great eaters and wont eften refuse a meal, for these snakes mice are the best option as they come in a variety of sizes which allowes you to choose which size is best for your snake. As a hatchling you will want to feed them once or twice a week on defrosted pinkies, as your snake grows you can move onto more appropriately sized mice and space out their feeding times. In regards to water you simply need to provide your snake with a water dish, the dish will need to be big enough that they can soak in it, this helps with their shedding process. The water will need to be changed out every one or two days to ensure that no bacteria builds up.
Cleaning out your hognose snakes enclosure if very easy to do. By doing a spot clean everyday you can get rid of all poo, wet substrate and other dirt. You should do a full deep clean once a month , the deep clean will involve removing all decor, hides and water bowels, when everything is removed then you need to get rid of all substrate and disinfect the whole enclosure, all decor, hides and water bowels. When the deep clean in done you can put in the new substrate and place everything back inside the enclosure.
When picking out the decorations for your snakes enclosure you need to keep in mind the natural habbitat that your snake would have in the wild, for the hognose you will want to have some branches for them to climb over, a minimum of two hides, one on each side of the enclosure, some logs and rocks to rub against. You can make your enclosure look any way you want but you should ensure everything is safe and usefully to your reptile, live plants for example can be used in the snakes set up providing it is not harmful to the snake.