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 #2310330


Snoots
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 My hognose is (nonaggressively) biting?

I just got a baby western hognose from some breeders at an expo recently. He’s very sweet, but I just went to pick him up again and he tried to bite me. It didn’t seem aggressive at all, he didn’t lunge or flair up or anything. I was touching him, and he pressed his face to my hand for a while, flicking his tongue out every now and then like he was sniffing, then he tried to make an experimental bite.
Is this something I should be concerned about? Could it just be close to his feeding time? I did just come out of the shower, I dunno if that would make me smell yummy or anything.



10/14/14  06:15pm

 #2310331


Takahiro111
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  Message To: Snoots   In reference to Message Id: 2310330


 My hognose is (nonaggressively) biting?

It can be either a feeding response bite or he’s just checking you out...you gotta see from the little baby prespective your way bigger and he’s trynna find out if your gonna eat him or not...I have a 17’ burm and 8-9’ red tail and my red tail is sweet but still like to nip and let go for the fun of it I guess and its his way of saying I’m hungry. Unlike my burm who let’s me know by hissing extremly loud. But give him some time.



10/14/14  07:15pm

 #2310442


FloridaHerps01
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  Message To: Snoots   In reference to Message Id: 2310330


 My hognose is (nonaggressively) biting?

Here is my guess.

As Hognose Snakes do NOT bite out of self defense, and they are really good about only biting what smells like food, I am willing to guess the breeder gave it pinkies / whatever other food item, after handling the food item. This would have put people smell onto the food item, similar to scenting pinky mice with toads for Eastern/Southern Hognose Snakes. As a result, the snake built a taste for people via scent training while it was young - something that is relatively easy to train a hognose to do as a yearling. This is just a guess, and may not be true.

Another possibility is this:
Snakes will open their mouth to realign their jaws. By gently pressing the side of a snakes jaw, you may pop the jaw out-of-alignment - nothing to worry about as this happens during feeding. I’m going to stop all of those people that say "don’t mess with your snake that rough" right here, because I don’t, and that no one deliberately should. I figured this out because sometimes while wrapped through my finger tips the snakes do it themselves.
Any how when the snake presses against a surface and pops the jaw out of alignment, sort of like those people that can do it with their thumbs/wrists/etc, it has to put the jaws back in place. This is also when people may occasionally observe "yawning" in snakes. The snake opens its mouth to realign its jaws.

If your finger just so happens to be right up against the pressing jaw, and the sudden gap between upper and lower jaw causes your finger to move forward into that gap, followed by the gap closing, then it may appear that the snake is "biting" you even though it did not intend to do so.
Again, just another thought. I also find this thought to be the most likely explanation. Yawning can be caused by more than jaw realignment, but it will still result in the same ending if your finger is right against the mouth.

As far as why the mouth was there to begin with, likely snake curiosity as over 4 years I have found Heterodon spp. to be very curious snake species that seem to enjoy the stimulation of new things if presented to them carefully.



10/20/14  09:05pm

 #2310444


Takahiro111
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  Message To: FloridaHerps01   In reference to Message Id: 2310442


 My hognose is (nonaggressively) biting?

So a snake don’t yawn like other animals its just putting its jaw back in place or something because my snake did it before and went in his hide and I didn’t see him till morning I was assuming it was telling me he was tired idk...but you shared a interesting fact one I didn’t know of and I’ve been a snake/lizard keeper for 13yrs. Also do this apply to lizards too...like my water monitor for example because they can open their mouths wide??



10/20/14  10:41pm

 #2310450


FloridaHerps01
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  Message To: Takahiro111   In reference to Message Id: 2310444


 My hognose is (nonaggressively) biting?

Yawning in snakes can be attributed to two primary causes.
1) Jaw realignment
2) Over-heating (shared aspect with lizards).

Based off the description of the OP and his occurrence, I believe his snake realigned its jaws at such a moment that caused an unplanned, unusual, bite from both parties (snake and snake keeper).

I have never read anything to suggest that snakes yawn when they become tired, or even read any studies that try to research the idea, so it would be interesting if someone were to do a study on such a topic, regardless of outcome.

I strongly doubt is lizards yawn for the same reason, as they don’t naturally unhinge jaws during feeding, thus requiring self-realignment. If a lizard bites someone, it is usually directly or indirectly intentional as a result of wanting to eat fingers, finger feeding, or self defense.

Again though, as hognose snakes don’t bite unless feeding, I believe it was simply jaw realignment - and am sticking to that.

Granted: OP - should you notice other behaviors that are not normal behaviors for Heterodon nascius (Western Hognose Snakes), it is my opinion that you should get the snake checked at a vet if you have not done so recently. I recalled today that sometimes snake yawning can be attributed to respiratory issues, and the snake is struggling to get air. I can’t remember the exact issues, but it is better to let a good reptile vet figure out the root cause.



10/21/14  08:47pm

 #2310451


Takahiro111
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  Message To: FloridaHerps01   In reference to Message Id: 2310450


 My hognose is (nonaggressively) biting?

Thanks for going out of your way to explain this :) I’ve been owning reptiles for 13 years and its still things I don’t know...knowledge is endless with these animals.



10/21/14  10:19pm


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