How big does a Hognose Snake get? Well, Hoggies are mostly very small snakes. There are exceptions to every rule, however. Let’s find out more…
Last updated on February 1st, 2023 at 09:33 am
Hognose Snakes vary in size, from the little Southern Hognose, which only reaches 14 – 20 inches (36 – 51cm), to the Madagascar Giant Hognose, that may reach 6ft (1.8m). The most common captive species, the Western Hognose, often maxes out at 24 inches (60cm), perhaps the best size for a pet snake.
How big do Western Hognose Snakes get?
The Western Hognose is the most common of the Hognose species in captivity. It almost always reaches a manageable size of around 16 – 24 inches (40 – 60cm). Occasionally, however, some females may reach the exceptional length of up to 35 inches (89cm). This size is rare, and only possible under ideal conditions.
In fact, the chances of having a Western Hognose grow to more than 30 inches (76cm) long are slim. To date, the absolute record for this species is just over 36 inches (almost 92cm).
As with many reptiles that produce more than a handful of young, the females of this species are always larger than the males. This is purely because they need the room for their developing eggs.
|Hatchlings||6 or 7 inches (15 to 18cm)|
|Adult males||16 inches (40cm)|
|Adult females||22 to 24inches (55 and 60cm), occasionally 30 inches (76cm)|
|Record||just over 36 inches (almost 92cm)|
Is it better to get a male or female hognose?
Whilst female Hoggies undoubtedly get bigger, the differences don’t stop there. Sure, if you are only interested in their size, then get a female if you want a larger snake, or a male if you want a smaller one.
But if you want a snake that isn’t picky about food, and has a more chilled-out demeanour, then a female is probably the better choice. Females tend to eat more regularly, and become very docile (in general). Males, on the other hand, may go off food during the breeding season, or during high summer.
At this time they can also get a little moody. Their natural instinct is to go out and look for females, so they can’t really help it.
Thanks to some recent population surveys, we also know that Western Hognoses in particular like to move to different habitat areas and switch to different prey at different times of the year. This probably explains the change in behaviour some of them go through over the summer.
You can read more about this here: Ontogenetic shifts in the diet of plains hog-nosed snakes (Heterodon nasicus) revealed by stable isotope analysis. (Don’t forget that Plains Hognose = Western Hognose)
How much do Western Hognose Snakes weigh?
These snakes are very heavy-bodied in proportion to their length. And though they never achieve the same weight as female Ball Pythons, for example, they can occasionally reach 400g. More often, however, males grow to around 60 – 120g and females anywhere from 200 to 800g. Larger females have been reported, but not properly verified.
How long do Western Hognose Snakes live?
Western Hoggies are a reasonably long-lived species. On average, you can expect one to live for 12 to 15 years. This is entirely dependent on the husbandry they receive though. They will only make it past the 10 year mark if they receive the correct hygiene, heat, humidity and food.
Something you may notice if you keep one for a long time is that they grow rapidly up until the age of three or four, then slow down dramatically. Nonetheless, they grow continuously throughout their lives, just like other species of snakes.
How old is an adult Hognose Snake?
An adult Hognose Snake is one that is sexually mature, and has stopped growing rapidly. In general, this means that it has reached around 80 to 90% of its full size. For most species of Hognose Snake, they reach adulthood between two to four years of age.
Western Hognose Snake Tank Size
Another great thing about this species is that its manageable sizes makes it easy to house. It’s one of the things that makes it one of the best pet snakes overall. You can keep most adult Western Hoggies in a two foot (60cm) enclosure their entire lives. Very occasionally, large females may need a three foot (90cm) enclosure.
As always, adjust the size of your snake’s enclosure as it grows. A tiny hatchling Hog’ would be lost in a two foot tank. Instead, start babies off in a tub or faunarium that is 10 to 12 inches long. This will help them to feel secure and make them more likely to eat well.
Factors that influence adult size
All of the species we’re looking at in this post can vary greatly in size. This is sometimes due to genetics, sometimes due to external factors.
How much you feed your pet, and the quality of food is particularly important. Most hognose snakes are capable of getting everything they need from rodents, but only if those rodents were fed a good diet. It’s important to check on this – don’t buy rodents from big chain stores (even if some blogs do promote them through affiliate links!).
Instead buy your snake’s food from independent rodent breeders who are willing to answer your questions via email or phone.
Other factors that affect adult size include hygiene and heat. If you get either of these wrong, then disease will set in. Illness of any kind will stunt a snake’s growth, sometimes dramatically.
Finally, the size of a snake’s parents will affect its full grown size – but only to a certain extent. Size is a polygenic trait, meaning that it’s influenced by more than one gene. So, if a snake’s parents were large, there is a good possibility – but no absolute guarantee – that it too will be a large adult.
Factors that influence adult size and growth:
- Tank size is not a factor, that’s a myth!
Size of various Hognose Snake Species
We’ve talked a lot about the Western Hognose Snake. This is because it is the most common Hognose species in captivity – but not the only one.
In fact, Western Hoggies don’t have the monopoly anymore. Other species are starting to creep into the reptile hobby, and not all of them are the same size. One species in particular, the Madagascar Giant Hognose Snake, is pretty huge.
Take a look at the table below to the see the size of some other species that are growing in popularity.
|Eastern Hognose (Heterodon platyrhinos)||24 – 36 inches (60 – 90cm)|
|Malagasy Giant Hognose Snake (Leioheterodon madagascariensis)||up to 6 ft (1.8m)|
|Western Hognose Snake (Heterodon nasicus) (A.K.A. Plains Hognose)||16 – 24 inches (40 – 60cm). Some females up to 35 inches (89cm)|
|Dusty Hognose Snake (Heterodon gloydi)||15 -25 inches (38 – 63.5cm)|
|Mexican Hognose Snake (Heterodon kennerlyi)||15 -25 inches (38 – 63.5cm)|
|Southern Hognose (Heterodon simus)||14 – 20 inches (36 -51cm)|
|Tricolor Hognose Snake (Xenodon pulcher)||roughly 24 inches (60cm)|