Topics Forums Snakes Western Hognose Not Eating

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    • #12470


      My hognose is from a breeder who was feeding him fuzzies twice a week. When I got him I think the transition spooked him a little. He wouldn’t eat for about a month and a half (I reached out to the breeder who helpful) . I tried scenting and he immediately ate the first time I offered, coming straight at it with his mouth open. Since then he hasn’t eaten. It’s been almost 2 months at this point. When I offer him anything he looks interested in it but eventually he just turns and leaves (sometimes he’ll hiss). The last time I tried to feed, I left the fuzzy in his enclosure and saw that he came out of his hide to smell it but then just turned around and went back into his hide.
      He is about 2 years old.
      I keep the hot side around 90 F and the cool side at 80 F (per the breeders instruction).
      He is active and when I clean his water or do anything else in his enclosure he is extremely curious.
      I am open to any and all suggestions!!
      (If I can’t get him to eat after a few more tries I will be taking him to a vet!)

    • #12472


      Hi! I saw your comment on a previous post of mine and came here to try and help!

      I don’t have too much advice for a hognose that isn’t eating (I never have that issue with mine except when she’s in blue), but I’ll share what I do know. I’ve never had to do any of this, I just know many people have had to do any or all of these things for their stubborn hoggies.

      What are you scenting with? And are you continuing to scent? Tuna and salmon juice both work very well for this, and he may prefer one over the other. If he needs them to be scented, continue to do so for awhile until he’s eating consistently and then you can attempt to wean him off scented mice (emphasis on wean). If he still isn’t eating after all of that, you can also offer bits of salmon or tuna (cooked of course – canned is best for the smell but make sure it’s in water and NOT oil). You can also offer boiled eggs. None of these can be fed for the remainder of his life, but it can help get protein in him and get him interested in food again. And if you find what he likes, you can use it to scent. My female was fed salmon when she was a baby by her breeder because she wouldn’t eat mice, and then when her first owners bought her, they had no trouble switching her to mice.

      Since he’s interested in food, it kind of sounds like he’s not sure if his food is really food because he’s watching it but it’s not moving. Are you keeping his mice warm when feeding? I thaw mine in the fridge overnight and then warm them up by letting them soak in hot water the next morning before feeding. She gets a good amount of water as well through this.

      Another thing you can try is making the mouse “dance” to seem more alive, but you have to do this with tongs, and it will work best with food that’s been heated like what I mentioned above since snakes ‘see’ the heat so to speak. Holding the mouse by the tail and moving it around a bit can entice a stubborn snake.

      Another thing is they need a lot of coverage to feel safe, so if he doesn’t have a lot of leafy plants (real or fake) in his enclosure, this could cause him to not want to eat as well since they’re very vulnerable when eating. Clutter the tank with leafy coverage and see if that helps as well! When I upgraded my girl’s tank and increased clutter, she became much less feisty just from feeling safer like she can’t be ‘seen.’ She hasn’t hissed much at me in months, but she’s almost completely quit puffing up and flattening her head as well. And again – she’s never given me eating issues. But I know this can affect how they feel towards food as well.

      Lastly, every once in awhile a loss of appetite is indicative of parasites, but it seems unlikely in this case. Your temps are good (your basking spot can go up to 95F but hot side at 90 is good) and everything sounds normal. Just be aware that it can take months for reptiles to be comfortable, and truly they can go 6+ months without eating and be perfectly fine. If you end up taking him to the vet, see if they can run a test for parasites – usually this is a fecal test but if you don’t have any to test from him not eating, I’m not sure what they can do. They may also suggest force feeding which will suck if you’ve never had to do it, but we do what we have to for our animals!

      Best of luck! Feel free to ask me any other questions you may have, especially after that information vomit 😂

      • #12486



        I’ve tried scenting with tuna first and that’s when he ate, but when I tried to feed after that still scenting with tuna I had no luck. I then tried salmon and he seemed interested, but still no luck. I haven’t heard about offering hard boiled eggs, but I will definitely look more into that!

        I soak the mice in hot water before I feed to make sure it’s warm. But whenever I try to make the mouse “dance,” he usually puffs up or hisses at it.

        There was a bunch of leafy plants already in his enclosure, but to be sure I just doubled the amount of leaves in there so maybe that will help him feel less vulnerable!

        Thank you so much for all of the advice!!

        I added a picture of my little dude (his name is Pickle😁)

        • #12504



          I read the recent post from Katelynna and I think her recommendations are sound. I would like to ask when is the last time he pooped that you know of? Also, I know the breeder was feeding fuzzies, but sometimes the fur can cause compaction in various individuals. Have you tried any live pinkies?

        • #12523


          I’m not 100% sure when the last time he pooped was, but it was some time ago and I found it while cleaning. I didn’t know that fur could cause compaction! I did try to offer him pinkies a few times to see if that would help, but had no luck with him taking it.

        • #12540


          Fur seems to be problematic for some hognoses and not others. Did the poop you discovered occur before or after his last meal? There is a possibility that some form of constipation is occurring.

          I wouldn’t rush him to the vet just yet, maybe give it another month, unless his behavior changes and he becomes less active and alert. Then absolutely take him in.

          Try raising the temperature on the warm side 2 degrees, but keep the cool side where it is. He may be considering brumation, which can affect appetite. Two degrees may kick start his metabolism a little bit and encourage elimination if he needs to poo but can’t and also trick his body out of heading into winter mode.

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