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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello there!

Around mid-april I finally got my first snake. I'm pretty paranoid and read a bunch before the purchase buuut still some questions remain. I did roam around the forum a bit: apologies if I missed these questions already answered.

Some info on Linguini and his house right now: he hatched mid march (according to the breeder), was the most defensive, hissy one of the clutch (according to me XD) and is something approaching 20-25cm long now (no way I can actually measure him with my handling-skills right now).
About a month ago, I moved him into a 30x60cm terrarium (40cm high) since he fed very well - even during shed - and I could control temperature, etc way better in something that's not a plastic box. The move seems to have gone over pretty well. Temp under and around the hotspot range from 35°c to 28°c and drop to around 23° on the far side. UV-light will be provided once I find a fitting lamp.


First and foremost - since we've had our very first veeery humid summers day:
Humidity. It's been ok so far (according to my sources) but today the room itself had about 75% humidity as a high point and me, going for good airflow (so humidity could escape nicely, hah) did absolutely not expect that one. Usually humidity around the hotspot goes down to 30 and rises up to 45 in two thirds of the terrarium, with the cold side getting about 55 to 60.
Today we had 40-45% close to the hotspot, rising up to 70-75 on the cool side.
What sort of range on the humidity is acceptable for hognoses? Since I keep hearing that this is a very common reason for sickness I feel extra paranoid. :)

The wet box: he can curl up inside it. Like, one perfect circle. But does it need to be bigger?

Feeding: I heard both, to feed once every week as well as hognoses doing better with two smaller meals closer together. (?)
As for size, I go by size in comparison to the head/body. If I were to go the "two smaller mice"-route, how much smaller are we talking? This is a very vague thing to answer, I know.

Handling: I'm used to having fish. So I'm very good at not touching my animals buuut I need to weigh/health check this one pretty regularly and in case a visit to the vet is needed I'd like it if he didn't go absolutely feral every time I look at him.
Some of it may be the usual huffiness of young hognoses I've read about but he really was extremely agitated compared to every other snake in his clutch, so I'm operating under the assumption that he's generally grumpy as well.
So far, I've trained myself out of flinching when he bluffs and he has reduced the amount of musk he covers himself and my hand in. I count this as a win.
I've been told to do 10min of handling on non-feeding days while he's young but that seems a lot to me. At least with this particular snake since, right now, he does not really calm down once he's on a hand.
In your experience, what is a sustainable amount of handling a snake so as to not stress it out but keep it used to being moved around?

Brumation is a topic for another day. One that makes my brain especially giddy and one I will bother my vet with.

Sorry for this wall of text but I thought I'd keep it all contained to one thread XD

Here's (hopefully) a quick photo of the tiny man's house:

View media item 247892
 

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Don't worry about humidity. They come from a wide range of habitats. The only two groups of snakes that you really need to be cautious with humidity are those from tropical equatorial regions and those from harsh, dry desert.
Feeding, hogs are better fed little and often. So rather than one large meal once a week offer smaller food every 3 days.
With brumation, that's not a vet topic. Vets are there to deal with medical issues. It's an easy process, simply stop feeding 2 weeks before you start to reduce the temperature. Then gradually reduce the heat and day hours for 2 weeks, dropping a tiny amount each day. Then keep the snake at 10 to 15C for 3 months in the dark in a small secure container with deep dry substrate. Check weekly to make sure water is available.
After 3 months, reverse the process. Offer a small meal to begin with once up to temperature.
 

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Hi we have 11.
Humidity I wouldn’t be worrying about as others have said come from a varied non tropical climate.
We feed once a week we don’t handle for 48 hours after feeding to minimise the risk or regurgitation.
In terms of handling we handle every day apart from 48 hours after handling.

A lot of ours have been rescues/rehomes with one not being held for nearly a year. I would definitely recommend handling little and often even if it’s only 5 mins, our most defensive boy would strike at anything walking past and would his and fling himself around when being handled. I would only put him back once calm. He quickly learned the quicker he was calmer the less he had to endure me.
I think it’s important also to remember that they are not like us and they are all different some are ok being held almost seem to like it and others don’t, but either way I would definitely make sure they are used to being handled
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies!

11! is this a glimpse into my future?

I tried looking at average humidity across their natural habitats and got very differing results so I'm relieved to hear that the situation is not as dire as some care sheets suggest. XD

48 hours seems fair. So I'll find a happy medium of feeding and handling. XD this should be better for us both.

As for handling, I'll have to look up some more body language/stress indicators. Is there some recommended reading on that?
Because lately, while being handled he's not always defensive (he tries to run away too or sits still for a minute and smells things) but then quite suddenly, without any input by me (as far as I'm aware) he goes back to hissing/mock-striking. -- no flinging going on, thankfully. o.o
I do try to end those sessions as soon as he calms down a bit so yay for guessing correctly.


(also thanks for the brumation crash course - it's nice to see it written down like that. my vague brumation plans right now are to get a wine fridge and see what sort of temperatures that thing gives me and then write down a step by step list. for my own peace of mind. that list will go right next to the food/poop/handling/wetbox calendar asdfghj)
 

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Handling wise, there is no need.
Snakes do not enjoy handling. Its done purely for the owners enjoyment.
They are far best left alone.
Wild snakes can be easily and safely handled, so no reason why captive snakes cannot be left alone.
You need to remember too that hogs are a rear fanged venomous species, and they will put you on your arse if they give you an envenomated bite. Research shows that such bites are due to the snake mistaking the human for food.
 

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As a new owner there is a lot of content to take in, lots of new concerns and conflicting sources.
There is also, with a new and especially a first animal, a keen interest in enjoying watching and interacting with the animal.
I tend to leave my animals alone most of the time now, but on occasion I will interact with my Hognose. Whilst it is essential to be aware that they are rear fanged venomous, they are incredibly unlikely to bite unless they decide your pinky finger looks tasty. As a result I would recommend a cheap snake hook to remove your snake from the viv, it makes it clear you are not food and prevents any mistakes. I would also recommend limiting yourself to one or at most two interactions per week, it does nothing for the snake and does add stress. However, I would never tell you not too, as it is the best way to identify issues with health and keep you interested in snake keeping :)

Regarding your Viv.
The best way to make all of it easier is to add space and depth. For mine I use a minimum 3 inches of garden top soil, ensure it has no herbicides or fungicides, and cover it with bordering bark.
The depth a) gives plenty of substrate for the animal to burrow, whenever I change it I find little hollows he has dug for himself, and b) means that there are varying levels of humidity throughout the substrate.
I find especially for shedding my Hognose will burrow down for a few days and shed under the substrate, which seems to be his preferred method.
Do not neglect branches and height, they climb if given the chance and mine will regularly be up sunning himself hanging on branches, and getting all upset when he realises he has been seen.
Height also means you can slightly reduce your heating, as proximity to the heat sources means they get a hotter hot, and cooler cold. Whilst your thermostat on the ground may be 28, on the branch above you can have a toasty 32-35.

Adding more clutter is always my recommendation. Branches, hides, wood, branches, rocks, slate...
The more places your animal can hide, the less they will feel they have to hide. And it also means if one hide is more humid, they can choose to use it or another as they wish.

For an idea, I recently posted some images of my setup in the thread regarding proudest vivs.
Feel free to drop me a message if you have any other concerns :) and its great to see you asking questions, definitely beats leaving it until there is an issue :)
 

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Handling wise, there is no need.
Snakes do not enjoy handling. Its done purely for the owners enjoyment.
They are far best left alone.
Wild snakes can be easily and safely handled, so no reason why captive snakes cannot be left alone.
You need to remember too that hogs are a rear fanged venomous species, and they will put you on your arse if they give you an envenomated bite. Research shows that such bites are due to the snake mistaking the human for food.
Hello, sorry to jump on this- I don't own a hognose, but I was considering one for the future in the next year or so. I didn't think the venom posed a huge problem for humans unless you have an allergy? Have you been bitten by one and had a bad reaction? I have read some anecdotes that if you are sensitive to it, each time you get bitten it could get worse due to your immune response adapting, but I didn't think it applied to everyone? I think I would definitely wear gloves, considering I have several allergies to random things and tend to get eczema. Thank you :)
 

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Hello, sorry to jump on this- I don't own a hognose, but I was considering one for the future in the next year or so. I didn't think the venom posed a huge problem for humans unless you have an allergy? Have you been bitten by one and had a bad reaction? I have read some anecdotes that if you are sensitive to it, each time you get bitten it could get worse due to your immune response adapting, but I didn't think it applied to everyone? I think I would definitely wear gloves, considering I have several allergies to random things and tend to get eczema. Thank you :)
There have been documented cases on the forum of people being envenomated and needing treatment in A&E, and even an overnight stay. It's not based on an allergic reaction. There are so many variables that dictate how severe the envenomation is, the primary being how much venom was injected.

Personally if you must handle a snake that has the potential to put you in hospital, then you should handle it in a similar way to any venomous snake and use a snake hook. Using gloves that can protect against a bite would leave you with very little tactile sensation, which if excessive grip was made could provoke a bite more so.

Here's one example

 

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There have been documented cases on the forum of people being envenomated and needing treatment in A&E, and even an overnight stay. It's not based on an allergic reaction. There are so many variables that dictate how severe the envenomation is, the primary being how much venom was injected.

Personally if you must handle a snake that has the potential to put you in hospital, then you should handle it in a similar way to any venomous snake and use a snake hook. Using gloves that can protect against a bite would leave you with very little tactile sensation, which if excessive grip was made could provoke a bite more so.

Here's one example

That's really interesting thank you, and I'll definitely look into this further. Would be cool to read the full article on thrombocytopenia symptoms in that case. .
 

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There have been documented cases on the forum of people being envenomated and needing treatment in A&E, and even an overnight stay. It's not based on an allergic reaction. There are so many variables that dictate how severe the envenomation is, the primary being how much venom was injected.

Personally if you must handle a snake that has the potential to put you in hospital, then you should handle it in a similar way to any venomous snake and use a snake hook. Using gloves that can protect against a bite would leave you with very little tactile sensation, which if excessive grip was made could provoke a bite more so.

Here's one example




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That's really interesting thank you, and I'll definitely look into this further. Would be cool to read the full article on thrombocytopenia symptoms in that case. .
There is an absolute treasure trove of false information about hognoses on the net. Allergic reaction being the main one.
Hogs have hinged rear fangs, these fangs are also sheathed.
This strongly suggests that they have the ability to choose when to use these teeth. This also explains why many have been bitten and had no reaction, yet others have had significant reactions.
More telling is the background to those bites.
As far as I have been able to ascertain, evey single envenomated bite has been a result of the snake mistaking a human for food. So not a defensive bite, but a feeding bite, deploying those fangs to envenomate what it thinks is food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oh yeah I noticed a tendency to downplay hognoses. A lot of places I got my initial info from very specifically stressed that they are completely harmless and would never really bite anyone. XD
(which was one of the reasons I wanted to get one in the first place: small and calm -hah)
In the meantime I luckily got my hands on a broad spectrum of info and what I got from that is that it's vaguely unlikely but not at all impossible.
I have a very healthy respect in any case - venom or not - which is why I'm figuring out the best way to check his health and minimize stress now while he's a baby. Well, at least hopefully--
At the very least I take care not to be associated with feeding time, or get my smell, in any way shape or form on and around the food.
As far as Linguini is concerned: a nitrile glove appears at night and deposits a dish of food somewhere. Time will tell if that makes a difference.

I really appreaciate all the input I found in this forum. There's nothing that tops experience :D
And now, since I haven't gotten around to finding out how to make an orderly, clean, reply to multiple people I'll go ahead and double post real quick. Excuse me
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
As a new owner there is a lot of content to take in, lots of new concerns and conflicting sources.
There is also, with a new and especially a first animal, a keen interest in enjoying watching and interacting with the animal.
I tend to leave my animals alone most of the time now, but on occasion I will interact with my Hognose. Whilst it is essential to be aware that they are rear fanged venomous, they are incredibly unlikely to bite unless they decide your pinky finger looks tasty. As a result I would recommend a cheap snake hook to remove your snake from the viv, it makes it clear you are not food and prevents any mistakes. I would also recommend limiting yourself to one or at most two interactions per week, it does nothing for the snake and does add stress. However, I would never tell you not too, as it is the best way to identify issues with health and keep you interested in snake keeping :)

Regarding your Viv.
The best way to make all of it easier is to add space and depth. For mine I use a minimum 3 inches of garden top soil, ensure it has no herbicides or fungicides, and cover it with bordering bark.
The depth a) gives plenty of substrate for the animal to burrow, whenever I change it I find little hollows he has dug for himself, and b) means that there are varying levels of humidity throughout the substrate.
I find especially for shedding my Hognose will burrow down for a few days and shed under the substrate, which seems to be his preferred method.
Do not neglect branches and height, they climb if given the chance and mine will regularly be up sunning himself hanging on branches, and getting all upset when he realises he has been seen.
Height also means you can slightly reduce your heating, as proximity to the heat sources means they get a hotter hot, and cooler cold. Whilst your thermostat on the ground may be 28, on the branch above you can have a toasty 32-35.

Adding more clutter is always my recommendation. Branches, hides, wood, branches, rocks, slate...
The more places your animal can hide, the less they will feel they have to hide. And it also means if one hide is more humid, they can choose to use it or another as they wish.

For an idea, I recently posted some images of my setup in the thread regarding proudest vivs.
Feel free to drop me a message if you have any other concerns :) and its great to see you asking questions, definitely beats leaving it until there is an issue :)
I'll definitely get a hook since he responds very nicely to the current instrument I use to lift him up before I use my annoying grabby hands: a long acrylic brush.

With how the feeding shedule looks right now, twice a week is probably the max that is do-able.
About that: I read that digging snakes out of their tunnels is completely fine to do that. Which sounds a bit weird to me? Isn't that the most stressful way? (tearing down the house, so to speak)

Thanks for the info about your viv! I'm in the process of prepping the one he'll inhabit once he gets a bit bigger so I've been looking for this sort of stuff.
Now that Linguini is all official and legally registrated I was informed that, as it stands now, I'll need to size up once more as soon as he's fully adult, so I'm looking for even MORE inspiration since another terrarium is in my future.
This one I'm doing now will be ground zero for a lot of experiments with heating and succulents and maybe some form of mutant springtails who like it dry, before he'll come near it. xD
 

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Its up to you if you want to go digging around for your snake, it will be stressful for them as they bury themselves to get away from any potential predators and suddenly being dug up and pulled out... But I have had to do it a few times in the past when cleaning the box out etc.
If you're feeding in the viv, which I would wholly recommend, there is absolutely no reason to dig him up. Put the food item inside and he will work out its there. I give 18-24 hours max, if they don't take it then its normally because they aren't thinking about food. A bit of slate or wood to keep it mostly out of the substrate is normally enough, he will feel the viv open and after a while come out to investigate.
Just because you mentioned feeding multiple times a week, I can't remember how old yours is but as soon as they will take a fluff move up the food sizes. Mine is on a large mouse every 3/4 weeks and its good to get the right sized prey :)

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