A Tricolor Hognose Snake makes an excellent addition to any herpetologist’s home, but only if you’re willing to provide the best care possible. These snakes are beautiful, sociable, and easy to maintain, but they do have some specific needs that owners need to pay attention to in order to keep them happy and healthy.
This Tricolor Hognose Snake Care Guide will walk you through the care of your snake, from setting up its habitat to understanding what it needs nutritionally and more!
Tricolor hognose snakes have fairly large appetites, and a single snake can go through up to three young mice in a month. Because of their large size and high metabolic rate, they’ll need larger cages than other reptiles. A good size for an adult tricolor hognose snake is at least a 20-gallon terrarium with lots of hiding spots that will make it feel secure.
It’s also important to keep in mind that most tricolor hognoses are terrestrial but do like to burrow during breeding season, so their cage should provide ample space for burrowing (at least 4 inches of substrate). The rest of their habitat should be comfortable enough for them to roam around.
They don’t require special lighting or heating sources, although providing some heat may help them shed faster. For more information on how to create a proper habitat for your pet, check out our guide on how to set up an aquarium or terrarium.
These snakes don’t do well with high temperatures. They live in warm, wet environments in their natural habitat. A temperature of 78–82 degrees is best. If you have problems with your heating device, or if your enclosure is too hot, place a ceramic tile on one side of it.
The cool side will help keep your snake comfortable until you can make repairs. Hiding spaces and caves are great places for these guys; they will also help them feel safe as they adjust to their new homes. You can purchase a variety of hiding boxes from pet stores that cater to reptiles.
You may want to offer several different hiding spots in case your snake doesn’t like any of them. This way, he has options! Some people use cardboard boxes lined with paper towels for hiding spots, but be sure not to put anything inside that could be dangerous if ingested by mistake. Also remember that once you choose a spot for him, he will likely continue using it throughout his life.
It is important to provide your tricolor hognose snake with a variety of daytime lighting options. During some months, like March, April, and October, it might be fine for your snake to just basking under its heat lamp or strip light. But in other months, like September through November, your snake will need UVB lighting as well.
If you want your snake to get both UVB lighting and heat then you should consider purchasing an at-style bulb because they emit both heat and light at a much lower wattage than traditional bulbs.
It’s best that you check with your breeder about what kind of heat/light regime he recommends for his tricolor hognose snakes so that you can replicate their home conditions as closely as possible.
There are many different styles of lights available but it’s always better to purchase those designed specifically for reptiles instead of human use.
For example, when using incandescent bulbs remember that reptiles don’t require anywhere near as much heat (visible light) as humans do so choose an appropriately low wattage bulb such as a 25W bulb instead of a 100W one.
In addition to providing your tricolor hognose snake with sufficient heating sources, make sure you have enough hides too.
Feed your snake a diet of appropriately sized rodents, such as mice or rats. Typically, you can feed your snake three times per week. If you aren’t sure what size rodent is appropriate for your particular species of snake, use a ruler to measure its stomach width before feeding it any prey.
If there’s no room for more food inside its belly after eating, it’s time to stop feeding it until the next time. A little bit of swelling around its midsection after eating is normal, but too much means it has eaten too much at once.
Overfeeding causes health problems and may even be fatal in some cases. Be careful not to overfeed your snake! Make sure it has ample time between meals so that its digestive system has a chance to work properly; otherwise, undigested food will begin to rot in its stomach instead of being digested properly.
This snake does well when handled every couple of days. It is important not to handle your snake too often as it can stress it out. Take your time, make sure you’re holding them correctly, and don’t squeeze or squish it too hard.
Make sure you don’t hold them by their tail, as they are very fragile at that end and can snap off easily! Also, make sure that you give them plenty of space so they aren’t stressed out in their new environment.
If held incorrectly or if threatened, a hognose snake will try to scare away its enemy through head bobbing or hissing; but if these fail, they may bite out of fear – these bites are usually harmless.
Always be careful around any animal, and remember that it is possible for some snakes to be venomous. Be sure to always wash your hands after handling animals or anything else that could have come into contact with feces/urine/etc. from other animals.
It’s also important to know what kind of enclosure your pet needs before purchasing one, which we will cover later on in our guide.
For now, just keep in mind that all reptiles need high humidity and warmth levels while basking (usually between 85-90 degrees), and low humidity while cooling down (usually between 75-80 degrees).
They should also have an area where they can hide from light if needed. A large water bowl should also be available at all times for drinking and soaking.
The Tricolor Hognose Snake is considered a seasonal breeder. In nature, they will typically breed in early spring or late summer. Females are sexually mature at two years of age and males around three years old.
This species has a gestation period of approximately four months, but rarely produces more than one clutch per year; adult females have been documented laying as few as 4 eggs in a single year, but more commonly lay 6-8 eggs per clutch.
The size of each egg is about one inch, for comparison’s sake, an average adult hand measures about 9 inches across when fingers are spread apart. Incubation lasts from 60-65 days, with hatching taking place from mid-August through September.
Hatchlings measure between six and eight inches long (caudal scale length) on average. Adults reach up to 24 inches in total length. They can live for 20+ years if cared for properly!
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