Heterodon nasicus kennerlyi

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This is a specific care sheet for Mexican Hognose Snakes, a subspecies titled (Heterodon nasicus kennerlyi). For more of this species see Category:H. nasicus.

Species Information Bar
Mexican Hognose Snake care sheet
Heterodon nasicus kennerlyi
An adult Mexican Hognose Snake
An adult Mexican Hognose Snake
Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Subphylum: Vertebrata

Class: Reptilia

Subclass: Diapsida

Order: Squamata

Suborder: Serpentes

Family: Colubridae

Subfamily: Dipsadinae

Genus: Heterodon

Species: H. nasicus

Subspecies: H. n. kennerlyi

H. nasicus kennerlyi is most commonly referred to as the Mexican Hognose Snake and the Western Hognose Snake. They are usually found within semi-desert grasslands, Chihuahuan desertscrub, and grassland habitats. It seems to prefer open areas with loose, well-drained, sandy or gravelly soil. As their name suggests, it is typically found in open valleys, flatlands, rolling plains, and gentle bajadas in south-eastern Arizona and northern Mexico.

Pet Reptile (Heterodon nasicus kennerlyi) Care Information
Reptile Information Bar
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Housing, Feeding and Climate of Heterodon nasicus kennerlyi
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Reptile Lighting: Are there any special reptile lighting requirements?
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Breeding Heterodon nasicus kennerlyi
Breeding Difficulty:
Heterodon nasicus kennerlyi
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What are the reptile health concerns? Is pet insurance recommended? Is reptile health a common problem?
Recommended Pet Supplies for Heterodon nasicus kennerlyi

nb. All of these can be purchased from an online pet store


Adult Western Hognose snakes will reach anywhere between 38-63cm (15-25 inches) in length. As with most Hognose snakes the Western is a heavy-bodied snake with a stocky, strong neck and the signature turned-up blunt snout.

The unique 'snout' of the Hognose snake

Choosing your snake[edit]

Health checks for any snake:

  • Firm rounded body.
  • Clear eyes (may be a little cloudy if about to shed). There should be no sign of discharge.
  • No evidence of mites - check especially around the head and eyes, check for faint specks on body and check your hands after handling the snake
  • The snake should not have to open its mouth to breathe and should not appear as if it is gasping for breath.
  • The inside of the mouth should be a uniform pink - reddened areas or cheesy looking matter may indicate mouth rot.
  • Shiny smooth skin with no scabs or sores.
  • Clean vent with no swelling in area
  • Should move smoothly with no tremors

If you are unsure about the health of a snake, you can ask the vendor for a demonstration feeding, usually on pre-killed mice. If your new snake appears distressed or overly active, be patient but not ignorant, snakes will be agitated while they settle in to their new environments but if the problem persists it may be necessary to seek veterinary advice.

Snake Bites[edit]

There are generally two types of bites: a strike and a feeding bite.

A strike is a warning that you have exceeded the bounds of what the snake will tolerate. It will shoot out, mouth open, then retract just as quickly, leaving you with a series of teeth marks.

A feeding bite is just that: they think they have prey, and are not going to let go; the more you move around, the more they try to 'kill' your hand. The easiest and fastest way to disengage a snake's mouth from your body is with grain (not rubbing) alcohol; in a school setting, you can use Listerine or, if none is available, isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. The latter can be toxic, so you must make sure that the snake's mouth is not flooded with it. Always tilt the snake's head downwards so that the fluid does not run up into its nose; from there it can get into its respiratory tract, causing infections. Compressed air can also be an effective way to coax a snake into releasing their bite. A quick burst or two into the mouth (not the nose or eyes) should do the trick, but long sprays must be avoided as they can cause frost bite both to the snake's mouth and to the person's skin.

Wash bites thoroughly with soap and water. Apply povidone-iodine (Betadine) or hydrogen peroxide, and let dry. Then apply a topical broad spectrum antibiotic ointment. Do not bandage. It should be noted that a snake will always signal when it is going to strike or bite; you just need to learn new body language. Once you see the snake stiffen and slowly retract, head held slightly above the ground or body, be alert and ready to move.