We have tried tons of different substrates and found that we prefer Purina’s Yesterday’s News. NON-SCENTED. It works great for the smell, it is not easily ingested, or able to get in the animal’s vent while burrowing, and the hogs seem to really like it over some of the other substrates we have tried. This brand is also easily available at most pet stores and comes in two different bag sizes.

​Be sure to only get the non-scented kind. One of the things that should be noted is we have found that it is best to set up your animal’s new home as close as possible to what the breeder is already doing. Bringing a new Western Hognoses home is already a large change for the animal and sometimes something as small as having a different substrate can be enough to cause the animal mild stress, which may lead to not eating.

Pros of Tanks

- Better visibility for the keeper
- Don't need to make holes
​- Does not get scuffed
- More heating options

(This is not meant to be an exhaustive list)

Steralite Bins/Rubs can be purchased at Canadian Tire. They often go on sale. (Look for the kind that has the purple handles.)
Pencil included for size comparison.

Roughly $20 CAN. for a large bag.


There are pros and cons for both tank and bin setups.

Whether you chose a glass tank or a bin, remember that it is crucial to start your Western Hognose in a smaller enclosure and gradually move it up in size. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is.

​We use a Soldering gun to make air holes in the top and sides of the plastic enclosure. You can use a drill as well, but that has a higher chance of cracking the plastic.

Pros of Bins/Rubs

- Cheaper
- Less reflective (less stressful for hogs)
- Retains heat better
- Comes with "locking" lid
- Shorter = less height for the animal
to fall/makes them feel more secure

- Lighter

Sterilite Baby Bin
5-6Qrt (4.7/5.6Ltr) Bin
​Or 2.5-gallon tank (5 Gal Max)
Roughly $5 CAN at Canadian Tire

Sterilite Sub-Adult Bin
15Qrt (14Ltr) Bin
Or 10-gallon tank
​(Some males will never need bigger. 
Roughly $8 CAN at Canadian Tire

Sterilite Adult Bin
28 to 32Qrt (26/30Ltr) Bin
Or 20-gallon tank
Roughly $15 CAN at Canadian Tire

Small reptile grade heat mat
Roughly $20  CAN.


I cannot recommend one of these handy gadgets enough! Double-check the temps with an Inferred Heat Gun, both on the surface of the substrate, and directly on the cage floor, under the substrate to make sure you get it set to where you want it. You should check the temperatures throughout the day when you are first setting up the enclosure, so you get an accurate idea of fluctuation. Some homes get far colder in the evening, or first thing in the morning. Glass tanks tend to fluctuate more than bin enclosers. It is a good idea to check your temperatures on a regular basis over time as well, to make sure equipment is not failing. - Etekcity Digital Infrared Thermometer Laser Temperature Gun  Amazon $28.99+ CAN (Canadian Tire brand works well too)

There are many brands and types of under tank heat (UTH) products available. Flex watt heat strips, Zoomed under tank mats, etc. Some brands and sizes only suggest being used on glass. It is always important to read and follow directions. Many folks say that you can use the ‘glass only” ones on plastic, so long as you have it hooked to a thermostat. (Which is mandatory for the safety of your animal, and your home anyway.) Remember that you only should cover 1/3rd of the reptile’s enclosure with the under-tank heater. The size and brand of reptile heat mat will affect its price. This item can be ordered online, or found at your local pet store.

Please be sure to read our care sheet first. To cut down on the stress of an animal during its introduction to a new home, we have found that it is best for clients to set up their enclosures as similarly to ours as possible.  (As a note we are not paid/promted to promote any of the items/brands listed.)

Two things we cannot stress enough regarding the care of this species are:

1 - Enclosure size, Start with a smaller enclosure and gradually move up. Especially in the case of males. We have helped hundreds of folks across the world getting their non-eating animals eating again and 8/10 times it is due to the Hognose being in too large of a setup. (Especially males.)

2 - A thermostat hooked to an under-tank heat source is mandatory. Thermostats are for the safety of both your animal and your home.

​As always, if you ever have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us.


Reptile Grade Thermostats

Just like under tank heat sources, there are many brands out there for reptile thermostats. There are very cheap ones, which we have found to work great, all the way up to thermostats that cost several hundred dollars. Any thermostat can fail. I have heard just as many stories of top of the line set-ups failing, as cheaper thermostats. A good entry thermostat should be a fully digital one. (Not the old knob style) To the right are two types of thermostats at different price ranges that we recommend.

Thermostat Probe Placement

Most people place the Stat probe between the reptile grade heat mat and the bottom of the enclosure (outside). That way the snake can't mess with the thermostat readings by moving it, peeing on it, pooping, etc. Make sure you don't tape the actual probe head where it reads temps. That will give you false readings. You tape the wire itself close to the head.

Setting the Temperature

Because the heat has to travel through the bottom of the enclosure you might need to set the temp a bit higher on the thermostat to reach the proper temperature inside. Check the temperature on the surface of the enclosure, and on top of the substrate. Since your snake can (and probably will) move it aside and be able to touch the bottom directly, it is important to know that while the temperatures on the surface of the substrate may read 90, under it maybe 95.

Seasonal Adjustments - Keep in mind that as the season's changes, you may need to increase, or decrease your thermostat setting to stay within the desired range of:
Hot Side - 90 F - 93 F • Cold Side - 75 F - 80 F.

Jump Start Heat Mat Thermostat
Amazon for around $45-55 CAN.

Herpstat Intro +
Online for around $170 CAN


Updated Oct. 14, 2020


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