Are hognose snakes social?

Table of Contents

Hognose snakes, just like every snake, are not social. The hognose snake prefers being solitary and alone than engaging in contact with humans, often. This does not mean a hognose snake will bite or be aggressive when you try to initiate contact. Unlike some other snakes, it is more likely to tolerate human contact that is not always constant; they might even enjoy it, that’s if the contact is kept to the minimum. Does this make the hognose snake social? The answer is no. Does it make it more social than some other snakes? Then that is a definite yes.

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

Are hognose snakes social?

In terms of their sociability, in comparison to other snakes, it’s safe to say they are social animals. The fact that they prefer less human contact doesn’t make them less adorable pets. They have very calm and collected temperaments, so when happy and at ease, they can be really playful pets. The hognose snake is a fascinating creature. It even plays dead when it’s faced with a predator. In the wild, picked up by a human, it can only do as much as pretend to give a hit; this makes it social in comparison to others.

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Are hognose snakes solitary?

Despite the fact that hognose snakes are indeed more sociable than other snakes, they tend to also be solitary in nature. Just like other snakes, they don’t like being handled all the time. A hognose snake would prefer to be handled very few times in a week. That’s just because it’s not in their snake nature to have contact with other animals, not to even talk of humans. Other snakes do not even like staying with snakes like themselves; they would rather be alone. Although, we can say hognose snakes are different from other snakes in this aspect because they can tolerate having other snakes around. Still, this doesn’t make them as social as puppies. They would actually flatten their head so that it would look like a shovel, and they would hit you with it. Usually, they imitate the shovel-like appearance in the wild when they want to burrow or dig through soil. They are like tiny snake shovels. Back to the point, they would hit you with that head of theirs or lift their head up, as though imitating a cobra snake. 

Hognose snakes, raising their head like that, is a form of Batesian mimicry, mimicking dangerous or venomous snakes to ward off predators. Hognose snakes are twilight animals; this means the hognose snake is only active at the time between dusk and dawn. No matter how solitary they are, if raised with care, they can become more tolerant of being carried or held. It will be very rare for a hognose snake to bite a person because it is a calm and non-aggressive creature that already has a tamed nature. It’s known that their love for their alone time is greater than their ability to be social. 

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Are hognose snakes aggressive?

Hognose snakes are not the least bit troublesome or aggressive; after exhibiting the Batesian mimicry of the cobra, if the predator is still persistent, they might actually play dead. They play dead even more impressively than dogs; by going as far as bringing out blood from their mouth and bringing out their tongues to emphasize their death. They even turn upside down if the predator still watches them as though they’re alive. If a hognose snake bites, which it rarely would ever do, because of its calm behavior, the venom is not potent enough to cause problems or pain in a human being.

There is a big difference between being sociable in the snake world and in the animal world. Usually, when an animal is social, it opts for licking, cuddling up with, and wagging its tail to show happiness or approval. A snake would only show approval or affection by not trying to wiggle out of your grip or by just simply curling around your hand and tasting the environment with their tongue. Many animals are social, like dogs, wolves, fishes, foxes, horses, and many more. How these animals socialize is by doing things together, finding companionship in each other, and showing affection for their young. On the other hand, snakes are the complete opposite. Even the most venomous of snakes, when they go out hunting for prey, they prefer doing it alone than in the company of their fellow snakes. 

Most snakes prefer being and living in solitary than staying in a crowded area with others of their species or other species. When they are in mating season, when the female is on her heat period, they fight for territory of having her. Several males fight and injure themselves for one female, and if she’s the least bit unsatisfied by the action, she tosses that one out and picks another. That’s the only form of cooperation among snakes, that is, if that is even cooperation. In other animals, there is not so much hassle as this in mating. Taking a wolf, for example, if it is part of a pack, they go for the kill together and divide the spoil together. Even cats, which are very hard to please, play with other cats. When you have other animals as pets, they would be willing to let you touch them, pet them, bath them, play with them and cuddle them all the time. This is a sign of enjoying human companionship or socializing. This is something a snake will never allow; too much clinginess or closeness to a snake can cause them to snap. The most important type of socializing; taking care of their young, other animals do this for the first few weeks or even months. Meanwhile, snake young ones are left with little or no care. Since they do not breastfeed their young, immediately birthed, the young ones are left to fend for themselves; find food, convenient shelter, and other basic necessities.

Snakes are not social animals, as said earlier. Although some species can be a little bit social, these animals still love their privacy. Generally, snakes are only social during mating and hibernating season. Most of the time, they cannot stand being kept with another snake. A fight always ensues from, “who gets to eat what?’, ” who gets to stay where?”, “Who gets to have that female snake?”, It is always about who gets and who doesn’t get. Making snakes cohabit can cause a lot of problems. Generally, snakes are carnivores, and some tend to eat their fellow snakes. This makes it impossible for many snake species to be social with one another. Sometimes if a snake is smaller than the one closer to it, it might be wounded because a fight is sure to break out. There would also be no food for the smaller one because, after the fight, the bigger one is sure to eat everything, all of it. Meanwhile, hognose snakes can tolerate having fellow hognose snakes around. Despite being carnivores, they don’t eat their fellow snakes; this means it is very safe for hognose snakes to be in the company of each other. Due to go their docile behavior, they are likely to be calm also, when among their fellow snakes. They are definitely never going to start a fight with another snake. They would rather explore on their own. Hognose snakes are social animals when compared to other snakes; they can be held without them biting you or even causing a mild constriction on your hand because they are not constrictors. They can be very playful when in a good mood, exploring, or just playing. Other snakes will likely bite you when you handle them without care, but a hognose snake will rather observe to become acquainted.

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Can Snakes Become Attached To Their Owner?

Snakes do not have a very developed brain like other pets such as dogs, cats, and other mammals in general. This means they might not recognize what their owner looks like. A snake is likely to feel more at ease and comfortable when its owner is around than when it is left with a stranger. That can be regarded as a form of attachment, although not total attachment, that’s as attached as a snake can be. They know the smell of their owner, and they are at ease when they smell their owner. The unique smell of their owner distinguishes him or her from other human beings. In summary, when captured or kept as their pets, although it takes a long time, they eventually get used to and attached to their owner and wouldn’t be able to cope if their owner leaves them in the care of someone they are not familiar with.

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Do Hognose Snakes Spit?  

Hognose snakes do not spit at people in defense of attack; they don’t even attack. A hognose snake will hiss, hit with its head or even play dead, acting as though it is having a convulsion, but never will it spit or bite. Its saliva has venom, but the venom is only injected into small prey; they are bitten by their fangs. However, as mentioned before, the toxins in the venom are not able to cause harm to human beings. The snakes that are known to spit are the African and Asian cobras. Their spit is highly venomous, so they spit in defense. The hognose snake, on the other hand, is not a spitter, even though it mimics the cobra; by flattening and lashing out with its head in self-defense. If a hognose snake were to spit, it definitely would have no effect on a human. Hognose snakes do not even spit on their prey, so no, hognose snakes do not spit; they only hit lightly.

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Do Hognose Snakes Play Dead?

The answer is yes. This is a fascinating behavior they exhibit to chase away predators from devouring or capturing them. These smart creatures, when they sense an invasion of their personal space by a creature they are not familiar with, the first thing they do is back off and try to shy away. When they see persistence in the predator, their nose that is shaped upward, alongside their head, is flattened. Due to the way their nose is triangularly shaped when they flatten their head, it looks similar to a shovel. Usually, when they are in the wild, they use this behaviour to dig in the dirt, soil, and humus. 

When faced with predators, and they flatten out their heads, they lash a bit, like the cobra snake. If this doesn’t scare the predator away, they go for their plan C, play dead. They release a musky smell that will make the predator feel their death; if it doesn’t work, they flip themselves upside down–on their belly, and bring out their tongue as though dead. Sometimes, they even go as far as bringing out blood from their mouths. This can be a very funny thing for hognose owners–when they have visitors over, and the hognose snake feels threatened. It can also be a scary thing for the visitors who aren’t used to having hognose snakes around; they’d feel the snake probably died. This is just a defense mechanism of the hognose snakes to protect themselves.

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Do Snakes Get Bored?

Snakes get bored with too much handling. Anything on the excess would be boring to a snake. You literally do not need to do much to please a snake because anything over the top will cause them to be irritated and show discomfort. They are easily repulsed by too many activities. Do not expect your snake to be playful like a puppy; that is impossible. A snake will even be bored if it is presented with a feed so large. Snakes prefer being left alone; if they were humans, they’d have been introverted introverts. Just like how easily introverted introverts get bored when people do things, even the funniest of things, especially when what is done, is something they either do not understand or like; that’s how snakes are. 

Due to their underdeveloped brain, they can barely understand human actions, they can only sense, and this can make them easily bored because they just do not get that you are trying hard to have fun with them. If they are bored, they will show signs of being stressed. When bored, they would try to thrash around in your hands, so you drop them, or they would coil themselves more tightly than usual to show their discomfort. The best part of them is that they are straightforward and do not hesitate to show when they are bored or displeased with the way they are being handled.

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Can Snakes Learn Their Name?

As said earlier, snakes do not have developed brains, so they would not be able to hear you when you call out their name outright. Nonetheless, with constant care, affection, and comfortability with their owners, they would learn to sense their name being called and know what their name is, even though they can’t respond with any sounds since they do not have vocal cords. They do not have an ear; they can only pick up frequencies, from putting their head on the ground or low down. The human voice falls within the range of frequency they can sense. In other words, this means they can learn their name over time. Although snakes do not have developed brains and neurons, they are very smart animals. Most snake owners say that their snakes raise their heads up or make a movement to show that they recognise that their name is being called.

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Conclusion

Hognose snakes are one of the most social types of snake. They don’t pose even a minor threat. The hognose can be considered a friendly animal, snake wise. Although not much of a bold animal, it can adapt to living with an owner more quickly than some other snakes. There’s not much work handling a hognose snake as it is not a voracious eater, being that it’s not usually big in size; it’s a small snake when compared to other snakes. They have a social nature because they are not bothered by the company of other snakes. Even though they are shy, they do not do badly when captured and kept as pets. They are very harmless that all they do when angry or uncomfortable is hiss and lash out with their flattened shovel-like head. That’s all it can get to. Rarely do they ever bite because their teeth are at the rear edge inside their mouth. Even if they bite, their venom is not enough to cause harm to whoever they bite; the venom is only enough to stun little creatures like toads and rats. This makes them extremely amazing exotic pets because they don’t cause harm. Despite being somewhat social, they still prefer the peace of their solitary confinement.

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. 

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