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Go Back   FaunaClassifieds > Reptile & Amphibian - Snake Discussion Forums > Hognose Snakes Discussion Forum


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Old 08-24-2019, 01:21 PM   #1

I saw a video of the Bio Dude setting up a bio-active enclosure for a hognose snake. Is there any benefit to this? I mean, the bio-activity is supposed to break down waste in the soil and convert it to energy for live plants, right? Great for frogs and small geckos, but aren't you going to manually track down and clean out your hognose waste? I mean, I can't imagine just leaving it in there for the isopods to eat! Whick leads me to another question: Do hognose snakes defecate UNDER their substrate or on top? Do you have to go searching for it by digging around to find the poop? Just wondering. The more I learn about these awesome little snakes, the more I like them. Thank you all for any replies and information.

Old 08-24-2019, 11:06 PM   #2
Socratic Monologue
Dart frogs (and perhaps a few other amphibians) do not tolerate the routine thorough cleaning of their enclosures, hence the value of what has come to be called 'bio-active' in keeping those animals.

Since hognose snakes (and all other snakes, really) thrive in much more utilitarian enclosures, the idea of complicating their care seems counterproductive to me. But I'm in this to care for animals, not to become famous on YouTube, or sell people stuff they don't need.

Hogs (and other snakes) defecate wherever. In a hog enclosure, the poop dries, and you either find it when you find it and remove it, or leave a bit of it in there until you do a more complete cleaning. No big deal; they're not very messy.
Old 09-10-2019, 02:41 PM   #3
You can most definitely setup a bioactive enclosure for a hoggie and I'd recommend it over standard enclosures for many reasons. As you stated, microfauna like springtails and isopods take care of the waste and organic matter in the vivarium. Theyre harmless and wouldn't survive outside your enclosure most likely so no need to worry about them. Theyre a set and forget custodian crew thatll sustain their population off of leaf litter and your pets waste. The appealing thing about this is that with organic matter like waste converted to soil, you can let your imagination run wild with live plant selection (provided you source your plants from a pesticide/additive free grower) and even rebuild your pet's native habitat with plants that it would live among in the wild. You will probably have to spot clean in the beginning unless you let your bioactive tank run for a couple months before introducing your snake. With this setup, you wont have to keep spending on bags of substrate replacements between standard cleanings and you wont have to hassle with tank breakdown or moving your snake around a lot as the beneficial bacteria in the substrate compete with harmful microorganisms from pet waste. The tank will likely smell earthy or like a greenhouse. Many people who move their reptiles into bioactive ones report how much more active, inquisitive, and interesting they are in exhibiting more natural behaviors like burrowing (in a substrate thatll hold a burrow as opposed to loose coco coir or aspen shavings) and foraging. I kept a beardie in a bioactive eenclosure and he LOVED digging to better regulate his body temps with a more specific means to as well as to find microfauna to eat. In this case of an arid setup, he would dig for clean up bugs like superworms, mealworms, their beetles, dubia roaches, powder blue isopods, and crickets which would all eat any leftover food, waste, keep the substrate cycled and aerated, and breed within the tank in approximation to the heat lamp to better regulate their breeding cycles. Id highly recommend bioactive over a standard enclosure anyday (of course there are exceptions like monitoring hatchlings, injured, ill, or parasite infested pets in quarantine)!
Old 09-10-2019, 03:46 PM   #4
That's really interesting to know. I just wasn't aware that the isopods and springtails could break down the bigger poops of bigger animals. Thanks. I bet a heavily planted bio-active enclosure might be really good for a few smooth or rough green snakes.
Old 09-10-2019, 04:05 PM   #5
For sure! They carry on the role as decomposers in nature so we utilized that in a closed environment. Being very small and thriving on simple organic waste, they are a great candidate as decomposers since vultures and hyenas wouldn't quite fit XD (Unless your enclosure is big enough). Some people use snails and slugs depending but they have the issue of rapidly eating all plants in the tank that use up soil nutrients from animal waste as well as i think issues with the slime affecting things. I believe that those types of snakes would thrive best in a bioactive setup as they stress easily and aren't good with handling or the stress of tearing a tank down for cleaning each week or month. Plus the crickets from feeding could breed in the enclosure and provide a onstant supplemental source of pinhead crickets to grow up and have the snakes hunt and forage for them. Id monitor live plants in that case to make sure they don't nibble too many holes in them or use a hardy plant to stand up to their nibbling. I highly recommend tricolor wandering jew vines or pothos as they both grow really fast and are hard to kill - making them excellent to provide snake habitat and standing up to potential cricket nibbling (though I think their activity would be negligible as far as harming any plants assuming the snakes will be on the prowl for food). You should also look into neoregelia bromeliads mounted on wood or rock features in your tank. Theyre easy to care for, provide a water source from misting for your snakes, and look great! They can also be planted in well draining substrate and will sprout off new plants and create a mini bromeliad ecosystem network.

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