KJUN Snakehaven
KJ Lodrigue, Jr., and Kasi E. Russell-Lodrigue, DVM, PhD


Western Hognose snakes

 

 

Western Hognose (Heterodon nasicus nasicus) - Normal 56
Western Hognose (Heterodon nasicus nasicus) - Green
Western Hognose (Heterodon nasicus nasicus) - Red
Western Hognose snakes, which are often just referred to as hogs, have to be one of the cutest looking snakes that adapt readily to captivity.  They are easy to breed, quick growing, cute as a button with their little upturned noses, and their short little hisses when frightened only add to their appeal!  Being smaller snakes, even a large adult easily fits into a 10 gallon aquarium-sized cage, and it is only a rare male that needs anything even that big.  These snakes are very sexually dimorphic with the male being much smaller, on average, than the female.  This means you can decide on the SIZE cage you want to have, and purchase a male or female accordingly!  There aren't many snakes you can do this with.  Many babies accept unscented pink mice right out of the egg (which is a trait we try to improve through selective breeding), and all older animals are voracious feeders on mice once switched over.  Due to their stocky, sausage-shaped, body they can easily eat a meal that looks like it should give them trouble; however, this in no way implies that hognoses should be powerfed or offered meals that are actually too large for them.  With regular feedings of appropriately-sized meals, hognoses can easily breed at 18 months (the males can frequently breed sooner).  These are just great, very robust, pet snakes that appeal to many people and are forgiving of many minor husbandry mistakes!  Some rare people are hypersensitive to their saliva (which is potent to help them subdue their natural prey, toads), so care should be taken to keep fingers out of their mouth - especially at feeding time.  Even people not hypersensitive to their saliva may suffer mild itching, swelling, and redness at the site of a feeding-related bite.  Although this means care should be taken (especially with young children), the chance of an actual issue developing from proper handling is extremely minor.

Our colony of normal western hognose is composed of various selectively bred colors (pastel, green, red, etc.), various hets and possible hets, and by-products of other unrelated projects.  This means that we can often provide genetically (i.e., unrelated) and phenotypically diverse "normal hognose" to our customers.

 

Western Hognose (Heterodon nasicus nasicus) - Albino
Western Hognose (Heterodon nasicus nasicus) - Red Albino
Albino, or amelanistic, hognose snakes generally have pale to white backgrounds and pale yellow to light yellow (or slightly orange) blotches.  This simple recessive mutation caused hognoses to explode in popularity - with just cause.  Now that the prices are getting in a range where many hobbyists can acquire them, I expect albino hognose snakes to stay popular for a long time to come!  Our colony consists of an albino, a definite het, and some possible hets to make sure that we have as much genetic diversity in our lines as we can.  This also means we are lucky enough to be able to produce a wide assortment of different looking offspring!

Although amelanism has been (or is being) combined with various other mutations and color phases, red albino hognose have definitely been the most successful of these outcrosses.  Red hognoses - especially the best lines - tend to become better colored with age.  The only difference between orange, red, and "extreme" red hognose is the intensity of the red coloration in any individual snake.  There are lots of different lineages of "red hogs," and we are working with a couple of them to enable us to offer the greatest number of red hognose that become extremely red with age while not having to be concerned with any potential inbreeding problems in the future.

 

Western Hognose (Heterodon nasicus nasicus) - Anerythristic / Axanthic
Anerythristic, or axanthic, hognoses are basically a grey and black hognose that doesn't "muddy" up with age like some other anerythristics snakes!  These are still extremely rare in captivity, and are going to be an investment quality animal for years to come.  Even though they are very beautiful in their own right, they are more important for what they can become when combined with albinos and hypos: snows and ghosts, respectively! 

 

Western Hognose (Heterodon nasicus nasicus) - Hypomelanistic (American line) 57
Hypomelanistic hognose snakes, or "hypo hogs," might actually be a unique form of albinism, or even a possibly T+ albino, but were originally termed "hypomelanistic" when produced.  These are richly colored, dark-eyed, hognoses that approach, if not exceed, the albinos in the beauty department.  Although still much more rare than albino hognose, they are catching on quickly for many reasons.  One main reason is that thy are necessary in the production of a "ghost" hognose or even a potential "sunglow-like" hognose!  Most of our stock originated from Casey Lasik's colony. 

 

Western Hognose (Heterodon nasicus nasicus) - Pink Pastel Albino
Pink Pastel Albino (PPA) is a separate line of amelanism in hognoses that has translucent pink, instead of yellow, blotches.  This bloodline is reportedly not allelic to the more common line of albino hognose snakes.  In other words, this is a new gene that is a complement to the standard "yellow" albino mutation.  In essence, it doubles the potential number of morphs that can be produced in hognose colonies!