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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Western hognose, I have her on shredded aspen 1.5” deep for her substrate (Zoo Med snake bedding). I wanted to know if the other hognose owners prefer the tiny chipped version over the shredded and which version do the hoggies seem to prefer. The breeder just said use aspen so I bought what I used in the past for other species but when he shipped her she was on chipped, go figure right. I just kept the shredded I had in the tub as it was already set up and she seems to be doing good with it so far but if the other is what I should be using I will switch to it next time I clean her tub. So far she isn’t showing much stress, not to say she couldn’t be harboring a mountains worth in her drama filled head. I have had her since 7/19, she ate for me the first time I tried to feed on 7/24 (l waited 4-5 days so she could calm down from the shipping stress, also I just leave the pinky in the tub with her for a couple of hours). She refused to eat for me the second time I tried to feed on 7/29, I was originally worried it was stress until I saw her the next day and she was in full blue. She had a perfect shed on Wed so I tried to feed again today and when I went to put the pinky in her enclosure with the tongs she literally slithered up with her mouth open to where I was going to place it and leave it for her (which was only maybe 3” from where she was laying previously) and gently took it off the tongs. So the set up must not be stressing her too much if she is eating, that and she is burrowing fiend so it seems to be working in that sense as well.
 

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All sounds like it is going well.
I definitely prefer to feed from tongs as it allows a direct interaction, helps them identify that they may get rewards from you, and it is fun, plus if anything is different, you can pick up on their behaviour (such as going in blue/shedding).
I prefer dark substrates as they tend to bring out better colour contrasts of the snake.
Something which will allow burying.
I guess you could shop around and choose something to cater for your preferences.
 

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I prefer to drop feed when possible with all snakes, since it helps to dissociate me and food in the snake's mind. This is more "natural" for the snake (and for those keepers who tend toward those sorts of things), but most importantly it is a keeper safety issue. A misguided food strike from a hog can do a surprising amount of damage; my worst bite in terms of damage done to my hand was actually from a male hog (so, not a large snake).

I prefer aspen chips since they tend not to compact as much as the flakes can. Different flake brands and runs are different sizes sometimes, but some are so large that some snakes don't take the trouble to dig in them when they would in chips.

In general I don't like the fact that dark substrates (such as coco chip) make it hard to notice poop, and so only use such substrates when the environmental needs of the snake demands it (for higher moisture snakes).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My only fear with the chipped is it seems so small but I guess that’s not an issue as I have a fake flat shale rock I put her pinky on to avoid her eating the substrate she is now on. I even thought about eventually going to bio substrate but that would be way down the line when she grows big enough to move to the 30g I have sitting in the back bedroom just waiting for her to grow up lol. She is just a little worm right now (hatched 6/1/22). I want to decide on which aspen soon though as I am moving her from the 8” x 12” tub she is in as I noticed a heating issue with the heat mat alone. My proportional thermostat keeps the bottom of the inside of her tub on the hot side at 92F almost perfectly without fluctuations but on the top of the substrate and the rest of the tub is low 80s as my wife keeps the house too cool. I could turn up the thermostat but she spends most of her time submerged and I don’t want her to burn herself so I am moving her into a 12x12x8 terrarium (3 sides covered) and adding a ceramic heat emitter above. I have a freedom breeder x2 thermostat to control both heat sources so that should keep her warm hot side where it needs to be and create the proper gradient for her. I am in the process of setting it up as I type and plan to move her into it on Monday. This week temps are right but only because we are having a heat wave but normally my wife keeps the house an ice box
 

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hot side at 92F almost perfectly without fluctuations but on the top of the substrate and the rest of the tub is low 80s
I shoot for maybe 94 hot and high 70s cool, and that seems to work. Tubs that are in solid sided racks hold heat better -- you could build a simple one-slot one out of sheet PVC.

A good long term solution in a cooler house (if you don't want to use a tub) is a PVC enclosure (like those from AP Cages). Get the sliding glass door model, and a radiant heat panel.

Ceramic emitter in a glass viv might be ok, but the emitter and the AC are really going to be at odds with each other -- best to figure out how to hold the heat where it is needed rather than just making more heat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My only fear with the chipped is it seems so small but I guess that’s not an issue as I have a fake flat shale rock I put her pinky on to avoid her eating the substrate she is now on. I even thought about eventually going to bio substrate but that would be way down the line when she grows big enough to move to the 30g I have sitting in the back bedroom just waiting for her to grow up lol. She is just a little worm right now (hatched 6/1/22). I want to decide on which aspen soon though as I am moving her from the 8” x 12” tub she is in as I noticed a heating issue with the heat mat alone. My proportional thermostat keeps the bottom of the inside of her tub on the hot side at 92F almost perfectly without fluctuations but on the top of the substrate and the rest of the tub is low 80s as my wife keeps the house too cool. I could turn up the thermostat but she spends most of her time submerged and I don’t want her to burn herself so I am moving her into a 12x12x8 terrarium (3 sides covered) and adding a ceramic heat emitter above. I have a freedom breeder x2
I shoot for maybe 94 hot and high 70s cool, and that seems to work. Tubs that are in solid sided racks hold heat better -- you could build a simple one-slot one out of sheet PVC.

A good long term solution in a cooler house (if you don't want to use a tub) is a PVC enclosure (like those from AP Cages). Get the sliding glass door model, and a radiant heat panel.

Ceramic emitter in a glass viv might be ok, but the emitter and the AC are really going to be at odds with each other -- best to figure out how to hold the heat where it is needed rather than just making more heat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah I always used vision enclosures for my pet boas and pythons and I agree with you on adding more heat but for the next month or so its my option. It has been so hot here this month high 90s low 100s so when I set up her tub before she came and for this first couple weeks she has been in it my temps were perfect. Then the wife came back from visiting my daughter yesterday and cooled the house down to her normal 64 - 65 F and boom issue found. I sold all my herp enclosures and stuff about 10 yrs ago when we moved as the city I live in you can’t have boids larger 6ft so all my BCC couldn’t move with us. Personally I don’t like tubs but she is too small for her adult enclosure right now so I went with it
 

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If you are planning on a new set up with overhead heating then ditch the mat in the new set up.
Hogs like it hot by day, cool by night.
An overhead heater will be WAY superior to a mat!
With the substrate, don't overly stress. As long as its got some depth it's fine.
Just remember, these snakes do not inhabit wild areas that have been magically cleared of all soft ground. Make sure that the food is dry when offered, and your snake will be fine.
I've bred a LOT of hogs over the years, not just Westerns but true Mexicans too. All of mine were housed in wooden vivs, spot light during the day with a basking spot of 35, and aspen as substrate. A couple of cork hides either end and a bowl of water and that was literally it.
Adults were brumated for 3 months over the winter at 50C and in the dark.
They are really easy to keep, just remember that they need higher temperatures than other North American colubrids, they are better grown by offering smaller meals more regularly, and they are venomous.
Offer food either by drop feeding or on long forceps and do not interact with the snake after feeding or handling food items and you'll be fine.
 

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@ian14 , have you ever tested between 24/7 heat and a night drop to see the differences in outcomes? Sincere question. Here in the US, heat off at night is not typical care, though I'd like to learn more about it.


That's either a typo, or a cooking recipe. ;)
Look at the natural environment.
Where in the US do you get constant temperature 24/7?
It doesn't happen.
You are not within the tropics, and so you get a natural day and night heat difference. In some areas, such as desert regions, massively so.
Here in the UK, we give heat by day, no heat by night.
And yes, a typo, it's late. 50F, not 50C!😁
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Where I live in south west Washington state it can be pretty chilly at night but who knows. Like today it’s currently 92 and the weather says 59 in the middle of the night. And that’s pretty normal for here in the summer
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Tomorrow is even better 97 F durring the day and low of 51 F in the night. But then again I grew up in Minnesota and they naturally reside there in the wild, however they hibernate all but 3 months or so of the year
 

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Tomorrow is even better 97 F durring the day and low of 51 F in the night. But then again I grew up in Minnesota and they naturally reside there in the wild, however they hibernate all but 3 months or so of the year
Hogs don't hibernate for 9 months of the year. They don't hibernate full stop, they brumate which is similar but different. And not for 9 months of the year.
 

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Where I live in south west Washington state it can be pretty chilly at night but who knows. Like today it’s currently 92 and the weather says 59 in the middle of the night. And that’s pretty normal for here in the summer
Exactly my point. Your native herps do not experience 24/7 constant temperatures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Your right, not 9 months it’s 6 to 7 months in northern Mn and Wisconsin. It gets colder late Sept and the first snow is in Oct. usually and melts in around Apr. We used to catch wild ones when i was a little kid when they first started coming out of their dens in the spring after it started warming up. Technically the ones we caught were plains and eastern hognose not westerns. When your a stupid 9 year old kid you think the hooding is cool, well until you pick them up and they crap and musk all over you. Between them and all the garter snakes that scent bombed me I am surprised I still don’t smell like them 45+ yrs later.
 

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Your right, not 9 months it’s 6 to 7 months in northern Mn and Wisconsin. It gets colder late Sept and the first snow is in Oct. usually and melts in around Apr. We used to catch wild ones when i was a little kid when they first started coming out of their dens in the spring after it started warming up. Technically the ones we caught were plains and eastern hognose not westerns. When your a stupid 9 year old kid you think the hooding is cool, well until you pick them up and they crap and musk all over you. Between them and all the garter snakes that scent bombed me I am surprised I still don’t smell like them 45+ yrs later.
I think you've answered your own question and backed up Ian's post. If they are natively found in a region that experiences snow regularly during the winter months, then why provide heat 24/7/365 when keeping them in a vivarium
 

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Technically the ones we caught were plains and eastern hognose not westerns.
Plains hognoses are western hognoses.
There used to be three subspecies of Heterodon nasicus, these being H n nasicus, H n gloydi and H n kennerlyi. These are no longer recognised. Instead, kennerlyi was elevated to full species status, now known as Heterodon kennerlyi.
So in total there are four species of Heterodon, these being Western, Eastern, Southern and Mexican, with no subspecies.
 

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Interesting discussion, and yes we in the US are pretty familiar with the environmental extremes (extremes that we'd be foolish to emulate entirely, but I suppose that's a different topic).

I was looking more to know about how captive animals respond to such regimens if there was any information available from keepers who had kept the same specimens under each heating schedule for an extended period of time (a full breeding cycle, at least) and could see any changes in outcomes. Skepticism about simply reproducing wild conditions has a lot of observational support; for example, my pregnant rosy boas are currently all thermoregulating to the mid 90s (35C) 24/7, but if they preferred a night drop they'd move onto the cool side at night since that's about the same temp as current overnight temps throughout much of their native range.

@Vykingwulf , none of the few eastern hogs I've caught here in Wisconsin musked -- maybe I just caught the few docile ones, but I wonder about geographical behavioral differences. Also, the hooding (and tail rattling, faux striking, death feigning) is still cool when you're not a kid anymore. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I don’t know may be you didn’t harass them as much as a young kid? Either way I set up her new digs and she has been exploring on and off all day long. Here’s a couple of pics. I tried to give her enough clutter to hid since this is 4 inches wider than the little tub she was in. The length and hight are the same as the tub.
Plant Houseplant Flower Leaf Terrestrial plant
Plant Light Green Houseplant Aquatic plant
 
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