Are Hognose Snakes Good For Beginners?

If you’re thinking about getting your very first pet snake, it’s crucial not to jump in and buy the first snake you see. There are many snake species that you can have as a pet. However, if you’re looking for a friendly snake and one that doesn’t grow too big, look no further than the Hognose snake. Let us explain! 

Yes, the hognose species is considered a good pet snake to have if you’re a beginner. The Hognose snakes’ positives are that they shy away or play dead rather than attack when they feel threatened. Unlike most snakes, if threatened, they will bite. 

It so turns out they are excellent snakes for beginners. So let’s look into these snakes in a bit more detail. The below covers three varieties of the Hognose, which are Western, Eastern and Southern.


A hognose snake is considered the friendliest snakes, or rather that it’s classed as friendly as they would rather shy away than attack when they feel threatened. However, unlike most snakes, if threatened, they will bite. This makes the hognose snake one of the best pets for a beginner.

Warning Signs (Positive)

Another positive to the hognose snake is that they give you pre-warning signs that they aren’t happy. This gives you enough time to correct it by putting them back in their enclosure or handling them differently. The sounds they make is a hiss. A hognose snake, when threatened, will also change shape. Some of the snakes will flatten their necks, while some younger males will expand the neck. Another warning sign is that they will fake bite, and it would be the last resort to bite a handler. However, all snakes are different in personality as well. So, don’t think that these snakes never bite; it just a good possibility that they will avoid it at all costs first.


Due to their timid demeanour, they tend to be harmless when held. However, never overhandle a snake, as excessive handling can cause stress. Along with the warning signs of possible unhappiness handling a hognose is relatively easy.


A hognose snake varies in size, western, eastern and southern.

Species: Western Hognose Snake

Hatchling Size: 5 to 9 inches

Mature Male Size: 14 to 24 inches

Mature Female Size: 28 to 36 inches

Species: Eastern Hognose Snake

Hatchling Size: 6½ to 8 inches

Mature Male Size: 17 to 24 inches

Mature Female Size: 28 to 36 inches

Species: Southern Hognose Snake

Hatchling Size: 6 to 7 inches

Mature Male Size: 13 to 15 inches

Mature Female Size: 18 to 22 inches


The life span of a hognose snake is, on average, is between fifteen and twenty years. However, they live much longer in captivity due to fewer threats and being well-fed and looked after by their keepers.

  • 15 – 20 years

How fast do hognose snakes grow?

They take many years to reach their entire length. So even at four, five or even six years old, they are still not fully grown. Then, finally, at around seven years old, they have reached maximum growth.

Where do the hognose snake species originate? 

It’s all in the name, western, eastern and southern: Canada, Mexico and the USA.

Species: Western Hognose Snake

  • Southern Canada
  • American Midwest
  • American South
  • Northern Mexico

Species: Eastern Hognose Snake

  • Ontario
  • Wisconsin
  • Florida
  • Minnesota
  • Texas
  • Kansas
  • New Hampshire

Species: Southern Hognose Snake

  • Florida
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina


Every four days; however, if they aren’t hungry, they won’t eat it. If so, then you can reduce it to every five days. Some hognose snakes may eat more. You will judge the food amount by their response and how quickly they do or do not grow. A Reptile veterinarian can help you to understand the amount you need to feed your pet snake. It would be best if you always took them for their annual checkup.

  • Mice
  • Frogs
  • Toads
  • Bugs
  • Insects
  • Small Lizards

The benefits

  • Good choice for beginners and younger people
  • Friendly and unlikely to bite
  • Fascinating behaviour to threat response
  • Not too big and does not grow fast
  • The hognose look is a unique feature


Check your countries law at owning a Hognose snake and becoming a snake owner because, in some countries, they are illegal. If so, the Corn snakes also make excellent pet snakes for beginners, especially for children. Below is my niece, who is 8 and welcomed her first-ever pet snake.

A child holding her pet corn snake
Corn snakes for beginners

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By Teresa Mine

Teresa has studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition. She loves sharing her knowledge and educating through her articles. She loves binge-watching animal documentaries. Teresa has some pets; she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster.