Topics Forums Snakes Western Hognose snake feeding Reply To: Western Hognose snake feeding



Hello again Todd,

I have consulted with some journals to make sure that my answer to you is supported by other experts.  As I suspected, it is best to err on the side of smaller, rather than larger.  Hognose snakes in the wild will eat a wide variety of prey, true, but their absolute favorite is toads.  Toads will puff up to prevent ingestion by a snake, a defense mechanism that the hognose has evolved to overcome.  They have an unusually large mouth and jaws that can disarticulate more than many snake species, and in fact resemble species such as the egg-eating snake more than most colubrids in this regard.  They can seize and overcome prey that is really too large for their digestive system, thanks to the rear fang action and a mild neurotoxin produced.  Prey that can be accommodated by the big mouth, may not be able to accommodated by the mid-section, and regurgitation will occur.  This is hard on the snake, although certainly not fatal, but frequent regurgitation can set the animal’s growth back and damage the digestive tract.  So for the keeper, smaller is better.  To get a feel for when it is time to go up from pinkies to fuzzies (who are less fattening and have more protein and calcium), take a string and measure the snake’s mid-section.  If the circumference of the widest part of the snake will accommodate the girth of a fuzzie, then the time has come to offer them.  If the snake seems to be struggling with digestion, go back to pinkies for a few weeks, and then try again.  Hognose snakes are not a large species, and depending upon which subspecies you possess, may never be able to handle an adult mouse safely, but should be fine with a hopper.  I hope this advice helps you in your feeding decision-making.

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