Are hognose snakes good starter snakes?

Table of Contents

Hognose snakes are harmless snake species that come from 3 distantly related genera;

Heterodon, this hognose snake species, is mostly found in the USA and Northern Mexico.

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Leioheterodon, this hognose snake species, is native to Madagascar,

Lystrophis, this hognose snake species, is South American.

Most hognose snake species have a distinctive upturned snout that allows them to dig soils and burrow their way through.

Hognose snakes are good starter snakes for those who just want to venture into snake husbandry or merely raising a pet snake due to their behaviors. Hognose snakes are easier to handle and less picky in terms of the kind of food they can eat.

The primary reason that makes people buy hognose snakes is because they are less harmful to train and also friendly. Apart from the slight pain that one can experience from their bite, there is little or no other effect.

Are ghognose snakes good starter snakes
Are hognose snakes good starter snakes

People who Make Good Snake Owners Versus People who Don’t

Snakes are considered exotic pets, and therefore most people who own snakes tend to be very unconventional. 

A Good snake keeper would be one with a good temperament; he must be familiar with snakes, patient enough to tolerate routines, and must also be relaxed. 

Snakes do not have the same level of intelligence that humans have; you need, therefore, to be gentle toward the pet. Some pet snakes do not eat for weeks after a big meal. You need to understand them, how their body works, and regularly check on them. 

Bad snake owners are the opposite of what good owners are. Behaviors such as impatience, less care, hyperactivity, etc., are qualities that make one a bad snake owner.

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Keeping Hognose Snakes as Pets for Beginners 

When starting out as a new snake owner, the hognose snake is a good breed to start from, especially the western hognose snake, because they quickly adapt after much care and attention. Hognose snakes are easy to care for and are healthy as they are not quick to fall sick. Always examine your snake ribs and check its body temperature by giving it enough food and water.

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Guidelines & Tips on Owning a Hognose snake

Here are the general guidelines and tips to note when you are thinking about owning a hognose snake as a pet. Below is some important information that owners should take note of.

The last thing you want to experience as a pet owner is to feel unsafe or threatened by your pet. A bite from your beloved pet can be an unfortunate experience, especially as a new snake owner. While a Hognose Snakebite does not have to be dangerous, you do need to take some precautions so that it doesn’t attack you at all. These snakes are nonvenomous to humans, and so their bites are usually harmless. That said, they are technically poisonous, but for the most part, there is little human seizure. While they are a great choice for domestic snakes, there are some precautions to take when handling them. The Mayo Clinic states that non-venomous snake bites only cause symptoms such as pain and scratching at or around the bite’s point.  

Based on my personal experience, Hognose snake bites are usually painless. The event usually causes more emotional and psychological pain than physical, especially when the victim is the first owner who is not yet accustomed to snakes. With this in mind, snake bites are a very common fear buy if this happens, don’t worry as their venom is not strong enough to harm humans. 

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How a Hognose snake Bite feels

Again, you may not feel a sharp pain when bit by a hognose snake; in fact, you may not feel any pain at all. Like a corn snake bite, a hognose bite is unlikely to pierce into the skin.  

Hognose snakes are usually relatively small, so they do not have a strong enough punch to draw blood from human skin.  

These snakes usually bite more often when they are eating. If you get bitten by your snake, there is a good chance that your snake mistook your hand as part of its meal due to hunger. 

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What to do When you are Bitten by Your Hognose Snake

For starters, don’t worry. Hognose snakes are considered mild when in captive and are rarely known to strike humans. Even when this happens, the consequences are usually minor. Here is an example of a well-documented case of a snake bite showing the most likely cause of a snake bite. Even in such a case, the consequences are moderate, and this incident is considered a complete anomaly, i.e., the likelihood of such an attack is extremely rare.

● In 99.9% of cases of hognose snake bites, you only need to wash the wound with soap and water and apply a bandage. 

● Stay calm: Loud reaction/panic can scare your snake.

● Do not remove the snake from the bite site: Sometimes, the snake wraps its body around your hands when it bites. Although Hognose snakes are not constrictors, they are not going to injure you, and the last thing you want to do is damage the snake’s bones by pulling it off forcefully.

● After the snake bite, if it has not yet returned to the enclosure, return it to the house until it calms down.


Another snake that is a good starter pet snake is the ball python. This is because they are very docile and easy to care for most, especially when they are being domesticated in an enclosure.

Ball Pythons

Another good starter snake is the ball python. They are very friendly snakes and easy to raise. An adult ball python will wrap itself around your wrist or arm, and you can quickly unwrap it.

They typically grow to an average size of about 2-5 feet (some reach 6 feet); when they feel a threat around, they roll into a tight ball, tickling the head inside their coil, unlike hognose that open their mouth and pretend to be dead. What more, they live for about 20-30 years when cared for properly. Before choosing these pets, for starters, get a young, captive-bred snake. (you might get a breeder for this one) get one with Rounded clean eyes, together with a vent, and it must have no respiratory symptoms such as puffiness around nostrils. 

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What is the Friendliest Snake?

We have quite a few different kinds of friendly snakes, but the popular choice, according to experienced snake trainers, is Corn snakes. 

Corn Snakes (Pantherophis guttatus)

It grows to about 6ft long, gotten from the Specie of Native America from the southern states in America. Because of the way they hunt mice in corn stores, that is how they got the name from. They are friendly in the sense that they are harmless and control the rodent population on farms. The orange color of their skin is distinctive. They have been bred in the Uk as a pet snake for a long time.

Corn snakes have a temperament that their environment can efficiently contain. 

They can be fed once a week or fortnight. They are skinny snakes and easy to handle. Corn snakes require a clean environment to thrive on. Secondly, if you are breeding them, especially with an enclosure, they need an average temperature of about 84 F to survive the humidity.

Corn Snakes are easy to find and available for sale in many reptile stores. 

Each corn snake has different unique colors and pattern morphs.

The different colors to choose from when buying snake starters depends on your choice and the nature of your environment. 

When you plan on getting a pet snake to get yourself familiar with how snakes work, the Corn snake is your best option rather than the hognose because they are exceptional and friendly and require less care. 

You may choose from a wide range of colors such as morph, snowy, bright orange, bright pink, or dark brown.

They are also cheaper to raise, depending on your kind of budget. The upkeep costs of the substrate and elements are to be considered.

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Do Snakes like Being held?

Most Reptiles dislike being held, especially rough handling. However, Snakes can be trained to become comfortable with being handled when you spend enough time with them. 

When you just buy and introduce a hognose into a new enclosure, it is better to stay away from handling for 2-3 weeks so that it gets acclimated with the environment. Otherwise, you may end up getting bitten when you get hold of it. Furthermore, hognose can not be held for too long since they are small creepy creatures. To make your hognose serpent accustomed to you, here are some guidelines and tips on how to handle it.

Space: Many reptiles are friendly with their owner first if you can give them space to know the environment. The living conditions of your snake can affect its temperament. Check the water regularly and make sure you keep it fresh so you won’t be an intruder.

Proper feeding: Give them enough time for their food to digest before attempting to handle them. A well-fed hognose snake can make a friendly companion, 

ensure that they have their favourite Rat meal.

Age: A snake’s age can affect how it reacts to being handled. They get strung and a little edgier in their youth, so be careful of how you handle young snakes.

Activity: Active snakes like to be handled, especially when they get accustomed to playing games relaxed in a mini active pool of shallow water or even hide-and-seek in their tank. It depends on its preference.

Only Handle Snakes Once Or Twice A Week: Handle them once or maybe twice a week most times because they are not cuddly creatures. They require solitude most times when handled like three or four times every month. Lastly, before pet snakes are held, make sure you always feed them and give them constant time to get used to you. After the time interval, ensure you watch its environment, which can make it slithering and burrowing for many years to come. So, without these snakes can hardly be held during each time. They need to be comfortable around you first. 

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How Bad Does A Snake Bite Hurt?

You may want to buy a pet snake, and accidentally you get bitten by it. All snakes kept in captivity tend not to react to their owner because they are docile with whom they come in contact regularly.

Snake bites can hurt, and sometimes they are dangerous. It usually takes about five minutes before that area swells up and causes a red spot on the skin. It can lead to shock because the pain, if not appropriately treated during a medical emergency, may be lethal. Some snakes give dangerous bites but not too deadly due to the pain recovery after a few minutes when adequately treated.

The deadliest of all snakebites is the Non -venomous snake, which causes severe bleeding and tissue damage to the patient. 

Venomous snakebites are a bit dry, and people can recover after being bitten by a cobra or rattlesnake. Although not all snake bites are poisonous, be careful of the bite almost because the pain can lead to severe vomiting, nausea, dizziness, or swollen blisters. It can lead to death if not dealt with first aid. 

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How Do You Get A Snake To Stop Biting You?

Snakes can bite for different reasons. Whenever you purchase a pet snake, you must put measures in place to prevent it or yourself from being hurt. One of the primary reasons why a snake bite is if they don’t get fed or they are feeling sick. Here are some recommended measures that will prevent the reptile from biting you.

Tips And Guidelines 

New Environmental: Generally, some snakes do not bite, but some do bite, and the possible way to get it from biting you is to give them at least 2-3 weeks off so that they can get used to the environment and you. A good snake breeder will leave it for several months before getting close to it. Apart from the environment, stress can also make it bite; in case you have a snake that is fond of biting, put it in an enclosure that is quieter and see the difference. 

Shedding: Snakes do experience shedding once in a while, and this period is usually difficult for them and makes them feel sick. 

Pestering some snakes when shed, they can quickly get them tempered or aggressive and may bite you, especially when their eye color is deep blue, because, during this stage, they are almost completely blind due to the build-up of their eye secretions. So always try and make sure you notice and understand their signs when shedding, like Dull appearance, cloudy eyes, typically spending time in their warm hide.

So to prevent a snake from biting you, here is the method which is the HOOK TRAINING, which is the method of conditioning your snake when removing them from their enclosure. A Hook is placed in an enclosure from them when conditioning the snake.

Buying a snake hook is very easy to prevent a snake from biting you, but you can get the right hook, which is quite expensive if you are determined.

Tap your snake with your hook from its enclosure and give it a few taps that will prevent it from getting closer. You can handle it later with your hands since it warns the snake that you are around. Because the hook will not emit heat signature, so your snake cannot pose its presence as a threat. so by doing so, it allows you to pull it safely out of its enclosure without risk. So by tapping it with a hook, it makes it understand that it is not being fed, but a sign for you to remove any accidental feed response bites.

Hook training will provide consistent stimuli for your pet snake because your hand is at a different temperature and will smell differently daily.

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From what we have seen so far, Hognose snakes are great as starter pet snakes. However, since we know that snakes are independent animals before you embark on training any snake as a pet, keep an eye on the kind of species near your homes; to determine if they are a good starter, most especially with the hognose species, because unlike dogs, snakes are no man’s friend although they can be tamed by a trained owner. 

Before you buy a snake as a beginner/ starter, you must always be prepared to deal adequately with the challenges that come with raising them, like getting a conducive environment, food, and most importantly, create time to handle. Another way to keep snakes around you is the attention you give to them. Because you can prevent snakes from getting to you if you avoid too much handling, snakes bite from a venomous species could be life-threatening to the owner when not taken care of. Delay can lead to a severe loss of damage to the person and, in some cases, death. 

Hazel Buckley
Hazel Buckley

About Hazel Buckley
Hazel is an animal enthusiast and educator who grew up on a farm which her parents owned in Ingogo, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.  The farm was situated right under the Majuba Mountains - the site where the Anglo-Boer War was fought. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.