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Old 11-11-2018, 12:30 AM   #1
Grimdaddy
Brand new to reptile keeping, need advice

So I'v never been a "snake guy" until I was able to hold a hognose. Now I want one. I'm in school for Zookeeping and I know the basics of keeping herps but as this is my first time actually owning a snake I would like some experienced feedback and advice. I've done a lot of research on them since. Note I don't have one yet, I'm making sure I get everything ready first.

1. I bought a used 75 gallon tank for $20. It came with the mesh lid and was only $20. With it being that big the temp gradient should be good. On the hot side to keep it 90 degrees do I need a high wattage (75-100) heat lamp and a heat pad? On the cool side a lower wattage ceramic lamp? The tank is in my finished basement but tends to get cooler than the rest of the house at night (~60 degrees). I guess what it boils down to, is how can I make sure I heat it correctly and possibly how many lamps would I need?

2. I've read that Aspin is one of the most used substrates. I wouldn't mind using it but was wondering if I could also use the coconut shavings because I like the color better personally. I know hognoses like to burrow and aspin allows that and I'm all for animals being able to do their natural behavior when in captivity, I don't know if the coconut shavings would allow for that. I'm also considering feeding in a separate bucket but that's because that's how we feed our snakes in the facility.

3. Finally, when I'm ready to get my hognose (which would probably be a baby), what do I need to ask the breeder and look at in the snake for healthiness? I'm planning on feeding it mice if that helps.
 
Old 11-11-2018, 01:51 AM   #2
bcr229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grimdaddy View Post
So I'v never been a "snake guy" until I was able to hold a hognose. Now I want one. I'm in school for Zookeeping and I know the basics of keeping herps but as this is my first time actually owning a snake I would like some experienced feedback and advice. I've done a lot of research on them since. Note I don't have one yet, I'm making sure I get everything ready first.

1. I bought a used 75 gallon tank for $20. It came with the mesh lid and was only $20. With it being that big the temp gradient should be good. On the hot side to keep it 90 degrees do I need a high wattage (75-100) heat lamp and a heat pad? On the cool side a lower wattage ceramic lamp? The tank is in my finished basement but tends to get cooler than the rest of the house at night (~60 degrees). I guess what it boils down to, is how can I make sure I heat it correctly and possibly how many lamps would I need?
I would use an under-tank heaters (UTH) regulated by a thermostat. Even if covered in substrate your hognose will burrow down and lie on the warm spot. Heat bulbs have the bad habit of burning out at the worst time, plus they're very expensive to run compared to a UTH.

Quote:
2. I've read that Aspin is one of the most used substrates. I wouldn't mind using it but was wondering if I could also use the coconut shavings because I like the color better personally. I know hognoses like to burrow and aspin allows that and I'm all for animals being able to do their natural behavior when in captivity, I don't know if the coconut shavings would allow for that.
I keep my hognose on aspen because it gives him plenty of opportunities to play excavator.

Quote:
I'm also considering feeding in a separate bucket but that's because that's how we feed our snakes in the facility.
Don't. Feed in the enclosure. Some hoggies are shy and you just have to leave the f/t feeder in the enclosure and walk away before they will eat. Also handling them for feeding means risking getting bitten. Internet myths to the contrary, feeding in the enclosure does not make them cage-aggressive.

Quote:
3. Finally, when I'm ready to get my hognose (which would probably be a baby), what do I need to ask the breeder and look at in the snake for healthiness? I'm planning on feeding it mice if that helps.
You need to find out what it has been eating as some start on toads. Also how often, any morphs, etc. Hoggies can be tricky to start but once they're established they can turn into little garbage disposals. Note though that older ones sometimes slow down over the winter and will refuse meals even if not brumated, and then they pick up again in the spring.
 
Old 11-11-2018, 09:13 AM   #3
Grimdaddy
With a tank my size I'm assuming I should get the UTH that's for 55-60 gallons as it's the largest available that I can find. Should I get 2, one for each side, and set the temp accordingly (70/90)? Would it hurt to also keep a lamp or two to even out the surface temp? Proper heating is really where I'm least knowledgeable as I've never set up a herp tank before.
 
Old 11-11-2018, 11:19 AM   #4
bcr229
I've known people to use two UTH's on larger enclosures, especially if the tank is in a fairly cold room during the winter. Low side should be about 78*F not 70*F though.
 

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