It's important to keep in mind that some things like size of container for the animal, box for shipping, and heating elements are all variable depending on from where you are shipping to where you are shipping, and what exactly you are shipping. ALWAYS check origin and destination weather, as well as your provider's website for any possible holds or warnings. The goal is for the animal(s) to arrive safely and in a timely manner and if that means waiting is best, then that truly is the best decision you can make. As you will see in the below walkthrough, we ship through Reptiles2You and will highly recommend their services to anyone. The customer service is unmatched. Plug over, time for the fun..
As you can see, the above photos reference building the box, taping the seams, and fitting the foam blocks inside. This may not be necessary for you to do if you have ordered a complete shipping kit from one of the many possible supply sites. If it is, you only need one of the larger foam squares for the time being, as this serves as the bottom insulation of the box. The four smaller pieces fit alongside the walls.
Use a ballpoint pen or screwdriver to ventilate the box. I aim for 4-6 holes that completely clear the foam insulation. These are incredibly important, especially when using a heating pack for temperature regulation as a functional heating pack will consume oxygen to operate.
The Lacey Act label can be placed later, but I usually add it at this point, making sure the label is fully taped down so if it is exposed to the weather it doesn't get ruined. All Lacey Act labels must include:
Because we ship from Florida and our temperatures are so variable and often disjointed from the the rest of the country we find a small bit of solace in shipping with Cryopaks (Phase 22). I've found the below section from the Reptiles2You page quite efficient at explaining these products:
"These packs are not only high quality but also HIGH TECH! They are designed to undergo "phase change" (begin freezing or melting) at 71.6°F (22°C). If you think the temp inside your box might rise ABOVE this, use a frozen Phase 22 pack. It will absorb the heat energy in your box as the pack changes from solid to liquid, thereby keeping the contents of the box cooler.
If you are concerned that the temp inside your box might dip slightly BELOW 71.6°F (22°C), use an un-frozen pack. It will release its heat energy inside your box as the pack tries to "phase change" from liquid to solid, thereby keeping the contents of the box slightly warmer.
HOWEVER - note that the warming properties of this process are NOT as powerful as true Shipping Warmers (Heat Packs)."
It is also important to note that these can be deadly if punctured or leaking so it's always best to place the Cryopaks in a sealable plastic bag just in case.
Renarin, our yeti male, happily volunteered himself as an example of how to prepare your snake for travels. In most instances we ship our animals in deli cups that have been pre-punched. Make sure to use a shipping substrate appropriate for your animal and the container involved. There should be enough to cushion the animal in the event the box was shaken. Make sure the lid is fully secured and taped down. As you can see, Renarin is thrilled.
We generally put the second Cryopak ontop of the deli before we package with junkmail advertisements as cushion (Yay free packaging material!), but as long as the delicup fits pretty snugly inside you're good to go. This cushion helps to reduce any potential harm to the snake in the case that the box is shaken in transit, but there is no need to fill every nook and cranny. Top with the final piece of cardboard to complete the insulation.
Make sure to seal all seams on the top of the box and affix the appropriate label. If you don't use label pouches make sure to tape down the label fully in the event of weather or rough shipping.
No one's schedule is entirely flexible and sometimes you do what you must, but the later you drop off at an appropriate FedEx location, the better. The less time the animal is in these scary confines, the better.
It's incredibly important to remember that it's always best to consult and visit a licensed veterinarian for the appropriate care measures for your animal. We are not licensed and thus are unable to provide you with complete guidance for medical care, however, the following document can help you in the meantime as you wait to see a licensed professional. Do not substitute professional help with the following care.
The following are vital things you should keep on hand at all times in case of emergency:
Soak the snake in a small deli cup, in lukewarm water mixed with povidone-iodine until it is the color of weak tea, for approximately 5-10 minutes. Clean enclosure, change substrate to paper towels and keep clean until the snake sheds. Repeat soaks once every three or four days as needed. Most burns, minor injuries and scale rot clear up within a single shed. For more severe cases, contact your veterinarian.
Regurgitation is the act where the snake has vomited up its prey after completely swallowing it. Many times this is caused by either a fear response (being moved too soon after eating), or by the prey item being too big, or by their temperatures being inadequate. Wait two weeks before offering prey again, making sure to size down the prey item (and address temperatures, if needed). Sprinkling the prey item with Benebac can help rebuild gut flora as well.
Mix clear, unflavored pedialyte with lukewarm water at a 50/50 ratio. Soak the snake for 10-15 minutes, repeating every other day for a week. Do not feed a dehydrated snake; wait for the snake to rehydrate before feeding, and offer smaller-than-usual prey items, less frequently, for the first three meals (so if you feed every 5 days, wait 7). This gives the snake a chance to recover. You can also add Benebac sprinkles to their water to help rebuild their gut flora.
In the event that your snake prolapses (characterized by their rectum protruding out the vent), you should mix granulated sugar with lukewarm water and soak the snake. Most of the time this fixes prolapses, but if it fails to rectify within an hour, make an emergency vet appointment; you will need to keep the prolapse moist, as it drying out is the biggest danger. Prolapse is caused by dehydration most of the time, so once it is treated, consider the steps for dehydration.
Overheating can be extremely detrimental to any reptile. It often characterizes by neurological problems and often-times, those neurological problems are irreversible. Your best bet, if your snake has overheated, is to try and cool them off slowly by placing them in lukewarm water; make sure they have ready access to the water to drink, as they slowly cool down and rehydrate. Observe carefully afterwards. Permanent neurological damage is *extremely common* when a snake has overheated; this is why thermostats are absolutely essential in caring for your snake correctly. For severe overheating, take the animal to your vet.
For Poisoning (Exposure to Toxins, etc)
Hognoses are particularly sensitive to toxins, even among snakes, so it is advisable to avoid using any kind of chemicals around them. Should your snake become exposed to some kind of toxin, it will likely display neurological symptoms, and this can be permanent or fatal. The only thing you can do if this happens is to keep them hydrated and observe while withholding feeding - just in case of emergency. A vet trip might help to keep them hydrated, but oftentimes there is little veterinarians can do in these instances.
Because hognoses can be very sensitive to toxins, it’s ill-advised to use any kind of major pesticide on their enclosure for treating mites. Sprays containing permethrin can be especially deleterious in causing severe neurological damage. Predatory mites are often-recommended for treating them, as is Natural Chemistry Reptile Relief. Others have had success with different mixes of pesticides - but because there is an element of risk, we recommend treating the enclosure with Reptile Relief instead. Soak the snake in lukewarm water, clean the enclosure, vacuum, repeat every week for a month until all mites are gone.
For Respiratory Infection
Respiratory infection is a serious and risky condition for any snake and should be handled by a qualified exotics veterinarian. Ask for a culture to be performed in order to determine the bacteria causing the infection and follow their recommendations.
As the owner and primary customer service associate for Ectotherm Empire I frequently handle questions about Hognose care. People want to learn and generally want to do what is best for their animals. I don't profess to know everything. There is no way to do so. What I've done is taken my experience working with these animals, my research and understanding into their lives in the natural world, and combined it with help from fellow breeders to construct a relatively comprehensive set of documents. Yes, some things may be missing, or may not fit your situation, but I've done my best to aid in what ways I can. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Comparing products by their features, customer reviews, and prices is easy, however, Amazon was chosen almost entirely for uniformity. Nearly everything we use can be found on Amazon. If it can't be, then substitutes are almost always available. All product links in these guides will be found in this color. Thank you for taking the time to look through my wordy ramblings and I wish you happy reading!